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A cool minivan? Maybe.

A cool minivan? Maybe.

It’s a conundrum we wish some automaker would solve: Family cars are rarely fun or stylish, and cool cars are rarely practical enough for American families.

That’s why we were excited to come across the Transit Connect Titanium wagon as we toured the floor of the Detroit Auto Show.

Hidden away and very much apart from the show-stealing redesigned Ford F-150 and Mustang was a seemingly innocent enough looking Transit Connect van. (Ford calls it a wagon, but, whatever.) Looking closer, I saw that this rig was filled with some really cool modifications. A ho-hum mommy minivan? Not a chance.

This Titanium edition Transit Connect was brought to life by an aftermarket group called LGE*CTS Motorsports. The San Dimas, Calif.-based company took some, ahem, liberties with Ford’s little van, jazzing it up considerably. The interior was eye-opening, highlighted by beautifully stitched three-row seating, which gives the Transit a classy look. There was also an enormous sunroof, SSV Works audio/video/mobile connectivity electronics setup, and video screens in the headrests.

Then they added 20-inch wheels and Bilstein adjustable coilover shocks to add some handling fun. And they also fitted a Magnaflow cat-back exhaust system – likely to get the most out of the van’s paltry 169-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. So you’ve got a van with some verve.

Kids happy? Check! Parents not driving around in a vehicle that embarrasses them? Double-check!

This van is the sleeper of the show. Why? Last I checked, people are still having kids and we adults have to traipse around with them from activity to activity. Why not do it in something cool? Despite industry forecasts that spell the death of the minivan (Ford and GM bailed on this body style years ago), I think a cool van like this would sell like crazy.

—Mike Quincy

Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers or sponsors on this website. Copyright © 2007-2013 Consumers Union of U.S.

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