New & Used Ford Transit: In Depth
Ford Transit Van, high-roof European modelEnlarge Photo
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Ford has built quite a reputation around its Econoline—or E-Series—vans, which have been the workhorses of American delivery fleets for decades.
Meanwhile, Ford has also sold its Transit van in overseas markets. It's always been more efficiency-minded than the Econoline (as well as a little taller and narrower, typically); and for 2014, as part of Ford's effort to make its core products global efforts, it's redone the Transit in a way that will replace the Econoline lineup—and play as well in the U.S. as it does elsewhere in the world.
First off, the Transit is not at all related to the Ford Transit Connect. The Transit Connect is a much smaller vehicle, with a minivan-like Transit Connect Wagon passenger version; but the Transit vans, which are going on sale to compete against the new Ram ProMaster (FIAT-based) vans sold by Chrysler, remain entirely focused around commercial duty.
The lineup for U.S. will include a choice of two engines, both matched with a six-speed automatic transmission: a new Power Stroke 3.2-liter five-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that makes 197 horsepower and 347 pound-feet of torque, and the now-familiar 3.5-liter EcoBoost turbocharged gasoline V-6. Ford estimates that average fuel economy for the lineup will be 25 percent better than that of the E-Series trucks and vans the Transit replaces. No V-8 or V-10 engines will be offered in this new model.
Underpinnings for the Transit, which will be assembled for the U.S. at a plant near Kansas City, Missouri, will be thoroughly modernized. Rack-and-pinion steering, front MacPherson-type struts, progressive rear leaf springs, and unibody construction should make ride quality better and improve handling and maneuverability, no matter what the use.
The interior in the Transit will be vastly improved, with XLT models offering a few more standard features and better interior appointments than in Transit XL models. Some versions will include a 6.5-inch touch-screen version of MyFord Touch.
The Transit will be offered in three different body lengths for the U.S., with two different wheelbases and a choice of three roof heights. It will also include van, wagon, chassis cab, and cutaway bodystyles, so as to allow commercial and fleet operators to get the right vehicle for their needs.
Cargo volumes soar up to 500 cubic feet for some versions, and special rear cargo doors now open up to 270 degrees for loading ease. Meanwhile, commercial-oriented wagon versions may become popular airport-shuttle options, with their capacity of up to 15 passengers.