Introduced at the Chicago Auto Show, Ford of Europe’s Transit Connect is designed to bring American small business owners a new car, van, truck all-in-one vehicle that offers improved fuel economy, bigger load capacity and better cargo accessibility, the automaker reports.

"It drives like a car, works like a van and is engineered to be as tough as a truck," said Rob Stevens, chief engineer of Ford Transit Connect in the U.S.

With its standard, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission, Transit Connect delivers fuel economy estimated at 19 miles per gallon city and 24 miles per gallon highway. It has cargo doors on both sides and at the rear -- dual sliding side doors and 180-degree-opening rear doors. The Transit Connect cargo capacity is 143 cubic feet; it can accommodate loads up to 6.5 feet in length and 4.7 ft. in width.

Transit Connect was named International Van of the Year by an independent panel of leading commercial vehicle journalists representing 19 European countries when first launched in 2003. Since the introduction of the Transit Connect, Ford's share of the European light and medium duty commercial vehicle market has doubled to 34 percent. In 2007, Ford sold 109,900 Transit Connects and 224,915 Transits in Europe.

Transit Connect will be available in select North American markets in mid-2009.