The long-running Ford E-Series has been the best-selling full-size van in America for more than 30 years. Though its chassis, interior and powertrain lineup have received only minor changes over the past few decades, the E-Series nonetheless offers the space, durability and reliability that most buyers in this segment value above all else.
The E-Series comes in many forms, starting with the E-150, followed by the E-250 and E-350 Super Duty versions with heavy-duty work in mind. Of course, there are also standard cargo-hauling versions with rear panels instead of windows, as well as the Wagon variants that feature a van full of seats, lined with rear windows. To top it off, most models can also be had in either short- or long-wheelbase versions.
For the latest model year Ford has made sure to include ample technology with features such as Ford Work Solutions, Sync voice activated communications and available navigation with HD Radio.
Motivation for entry-level E-Series vans is an ancient 4.6-liter V8 that makes 225 horsepower and 286 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a four-speed automatic, this powertrain combo is rated at 13 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway for the cargo model, while the passenger van returns one less highway mpg. The upgrade engine is a similarly antediluvian 5.4-liter V8 that makes 255 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. It also pairs with a four-speed auto, while mileage is rated at 12/16 mpg.
The range-topping engine comes in the form of a 6.8-liter V10 rated at 305 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The big ten-cylinder returns 10/14 mpg and 10/13 for the cargo and passenger models, respectively.
When it comes time to haul people or cargo in or behind an E-Series van, ratings vary based on tonnage, wheelbase, gearing and powertrain choices. The base E-150 with 4.6-liter V8 kicks things off with a 5,600 lb max trailer weight with 3.73 gears and jumps to 6,100 lbs with 4.1 gears. Opting for the 5.4-liter V8 E-150 will yield a 7,000 lb tow rating regardless of gearing.
Going to the top of the list, the E-350 Super Duty will yield a minimum 7,400 lb tow rating with a 5.4-liter V8, or 91,00 lbs with 3.73 gearing an a 6.8-liter V10, and 10,000 lbs with 4.1 gearing.
Standard safety features include driver and front passenger airbags, side door intrusion beams, AdvanceTrac with RSC, four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes (ABS) and a tire pressure monitoring system.
Those looking for a durable, spacious full-size like the E-Series can choose from the venerable Chevrolet Express/GMC Savanna twins as well as newer models like the capable Nissan NV and the expensive but refined Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. Potential buyers should take note that the E-Series will be joined (and eventually replaced) by the European-market Ford Transit Van.