There are no updates to the E-series for 2014...more
Ford's full-size vans date back to 1961, and despite various updates along the way, the present-day E-series doesn't feel particularly modern. To counter that, Ford will launch an all-new commercial and passenger van called the Transit in late 2013. The new van will be more fuel efficient, more refined, more flexible, and more spacious than the E-series, which will be sold alongside the Transit for a year or two before production ends. In addition to the wagon model, which has passenger seats and side windows, there's a cargo van with an empty rear and panel sides, plus cutaway versions that upfitting companies transform into shuttle vans and other similar vehicles.
When it comes to transporting a dozen people, the Ford E-series is often the ideal solution. The E150 seats eight (or seven with the XLT Premium trim), the E350 regular length fits twelve, and the E350 extended length van accommodates fifteen passengers. The tall, boxy design results in a spacious interior, but even after a face lift several years ago, the E-series isn't particularly stylish. The rear doors swing open as far as 178 degrees for easy loading. The cargo version is a popular choice for delivery use due to the wide-opening doors, flat load floor, and ample interior room. Most people looking to transport six or seven passengers are probably better off with a minivan or an SUV, as the E-series' capability and size hurt at the pump and when trying to park.
The three available engines are old and, considering their massive displacements, return pretty disappointing horsepower and torque ratings. Fuel economy figures aren't great, either, although they pretty much mirror the economy of the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana twins. The 4.6-liter V-8 makes 225 hp, the 5.4-liter V-8 offers 255 hp, and the 6.8-liter V-10 cranks out 305 hp (a turbo-diesel was offered for many years but is no longer available). The 5.4- and 6.8-liter engines are also factory-prepped to be run on compressed natural gas, which can save money for some fleet users. Despite the bare-bones interior, buyers can still opt for a backup camera, touchscreen navigation, satellite radio, Sync voice recognition, and remote keyless entry. One of the handiest features for fleet operators is the Crew Chief system, which is a telematics device that allows managers to monitor the van's location, speed, maintenance history, and other data remotely on a computer.
Full-size van buyers may want to wait for the 2014 Ford Transit. It goes on sale later this year and will offer better fuel economy, more equipment, fresher styling, and greater interior room than the E-series. The front-wheel-drive Transit gives buyers a choice between a 3.7-liter V-6, a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, and a 3.2-liter turbo-diesel five-cylinder.
- Chevrolet Express
- GMC Savana
- Nissan NV
- Mercedes-Benz Sprinter