Vital Stats

Engine:
Twin-Turbo 3.5L V6
Power:
310 HP / 400 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Auto
Drivetrain:
Rear-Wheel Drive
Seating:
2
Base Price:
$29,565
As Tested Price:
$45,415
As a segment, fullsize vans are stealth-fighter invisible on most consumers' radar. Visit a dealership for any of the four brands that offer them and you'll be lucky to find even one on display. These are commercial vehicles primarily, even more so than pickup trucks. Vans are the shuttles for plumbers, caterers, carpenters, concrete layers, masons, electricians, florists and flooring, and a huge part of this country's productivity is accomplished using them. At the moment, Ford is the 800-pound gorilla in that room – fully 41 percent of commercial vehicles wear a Blue Oval. So when Ford announced three years ago it would be ditching its commercial bread-and-butter E-Series, it meant the Transit that would be replacing the Econoline had huge, 53-year-old shoes to fill.

We were still a bit nostalgic about Econoline vans going away until going directly from the Transit first drive in Kansas City to an E-350 airport shuttle. Climb up through the Econoline's tiny double doors and bang your head on the opening, crouch all the way to your seat then enjoy a loud, rattle-prone, creaky, harsh ride on beam-hard seats while struggling to see out the low windows. This is an experience nearly every traveler has had. By comparison, the Transits we'd just spent two days with were every bit of the four decades better they needed to be. It cannot be understated just how much better the Transit is in every single way. The load floor is barely more than knee high. There's a huge side door, and hitting your head on a door opening is nearly impossible. Stand up all the way if you're under six-foot, six-inches – no more half-hunching down the aisle. There are windows actually designed to be looked out of. The ride is buttery smooth, no booming vibration from un-restrained metal panels and no squeaks. Conversations can be held at normal levels rather than yelling over the roar of an ancient V8. The seats are comfortable. The AC is cold. There are cupholders.

Enough anecdote-laying, what's in a Transit? We're talking about a very fullsized unibody van that's enjoyed a 49-year history in Ye Olde Europe. This latest iteration is part of the "One Ford" initiative, so it was designed as a global offering from the get-go, eschewing the body-on-frame construction the E-Series has used since 1975. Instead, the Transit integrates a rigid ladder frame into an overall frame construction made of high-strength cold-rolled and boron steel. The suspension is a simple but well-tuned Macpherson strut array up front with a rear solid axle and leaf springs.

As with the F-Series built in the same sprawling Kansas City Assembly Plant, the Transit offers a staggering number of variations. Transit Assistant Program Manager Milton Wong confirms there are over a million combinations – Ford hasn't yet tallied it up formally. Suffice to say if you want a Transit (or a thousand of them) you can option it/them to precisely the specification best suited for your needs. Mix and match between 129.9-inch and 147.6-inch wheelbase lengths, three overall lengths, three roof heights (83.6, 100.8 and 110.1 inches), cargo or passenger or chassis cab configuration, technology packages (MyFord Touch, Crew Chief fleet management services, etc.), emergency services prep pack, RV prep pack, light duty, medium duty, heavy duty and dual rear-wheel axle, different colors and several other variables.
‚Äč2015 Ford Transit2015 Ford Transit2015 Ford Transit

The term "fullsize" doesn't really do the Transit justice.

Then add in three gas engine choices: The base engine is the same 3.7-liter V6 now offered in the F-150, and it boasts a respectable 275 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. It's also the engine that offers optional hardened valve seats, sensors and programming needed for aftermarket CNG conversions. The hot rod option is the 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 EcoBoost with 320 hp and 400 lb-ft.

The final engine option is a new-for-North-America 3.2-liter inline-five turbo-diesel borrowed from the global Ranger pickup (which is frustratingly un-global for North America) making 185 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. It'll run on B20 and boasts a variable-geometry turbo and glow plugs that allow quick start down to -10 degrees Fahrenheit. They work below that, of course, just not in a "quick" manner. It's kind of a brute too, offering 90-percent of peak torque starting at 1,500 rpm. While not the drag racer the EcoBoost is, it'll certainly drag some stuff. The 3.2 is expected to be the prime fuel economy and long-term durability option, and it'd better be considering it's the most expensive. All three engines get paired to a six-speed automatic SelectShift transmission that can be manually shifted, but who are we kidding here?

2015 Ford Transit

If you're a business owner running two Econolines, they might be replaced by one Transit.

The term "fullsize" doesn't really do the Transit justice. For the most basic configuration, the short wheelbase, low roof model, it's really only a little bit larger than the outgoing Econoline. However, the maximum wheelbase, maximum roof height, maximum overall length version with dually rear axle we chose to review – "Jumbo" as it's called – is the size of a small warehouse. Full-service motorcycle shops have less floor space. It boasts shades of the Grumman box van in this configuration. For comparison's sake, versus the biggest factory-available E-Series, this maxi-Transit boasts a staggering 75-percent more interior volume, for a total of 486 cubic feet. Roll that figure around in your head. That's a cube nearly eight feet to a side. If you're a business owner running two Econolines, they might be replaced by one Transit.

Getting to that generous volume is exceedingly easy – the dual swinging barn doors at the back open wide, up to 270 degrees with magnetic stays, and the sliding side door at the side is 50-percent larger than the largest E-Series opening. Both doors will accept a fully laden pallet. Total payload for our Jumbo 350 dually tops out at 4,650 pounds. Only the mega-Sprinter boasts better payload at 5,485 pounds. Towing isn't bad, either, in the event you needed to tote even more stuff. Max tow rating isn't into the silly stratosphere that light-duty trucks occupy, but it matches Sprinter's rating of 7,500 pounds – about the weight of a trailer, a racecar and spares to go with your mobile speed shop.

2015 Ford Transit2015 Ford Transit2015 Ford Transit2015 Ford Transit

It's not quite sporty, but it's well short of the "ponderous" adjective we expected.

The Transit does all the beefy man-work stuff well, but the whole thing is designed in such a way that it's astonishingly easy to drive and live with. If you're familiar with the Fiesta, Focus or the F-150, you'll recognize the Transit's interior bits. The bucket seats are basically plucked from the F-Series and offer all-day comfort; the steering wheel, turn signal and wiper stalks could be from any Ford car, and the dash is a jumble of Fiesta and F-150. A MyFord Touch/info screen sits up high with stylized buttons below, while the shifter is dash-mounted to the right of the tiller and there's great space in the center console that can be spec'd with a mix of two or three USB charging ports, aux-in, auxiliary power switches, two 12-volt power ports, trailer brake controller, three cupholders and seven lords a-leaping. In any model with more than the lowest roof, there's an overhead storage shelf much like the one found in the Transit Connect (a vehicle we have a sneaking suspicion might fit inside the Jumbo Transit with a bit of persuasion). There's a little cubby to the right of the steering wheel that's perfect for stashing a phone. Near the floor-mounted hand brake you can get an optional 110-volt plug running from an inverter. There's lane departure warning, automatic rain sensors, an automatic headlight option, and perhaps most interestingly, the Transit will detect a drowsy driver by using the forward camera to watch the vehicle's position in the lanes, comparing it against steering inputs over time. Start to nod off and it'll vibrate the wheel.

Ford set up a "low speed city demonstration area" in an empty parking lot. In our eyes, what they laid out was an autocross course to push the half-loaded vans to their limits. The short-wheelbase 3.7L-equipped Transit was the most nimble and the diesel seemed to have the most entertainingly restrained stability control programming, but the EcoBoost was definitely the quickest. We shouldn't call the hydraulic steering "precise" but the wheel offers solid feedback, and putting the front tires exactly where you want them is easy. At the adhesion limit, the Transit's handling is completely predictable while running at too-fast speeds. The e-nannies step in exactly when you've done something stupid and apply just the right amount of correction. Body lean is certainly a thing, but we were expecting much, much more. The turning radius is weirdly tight for such a long machine – Jumbo easily managed a three-point turn in a two-lane street, and there was never a worry about making a corner. Brakes are scaled to stop somewhere around 15,000 lbs, so they're darn powerful. Dare we say that for a mountain of a vehicle, this Ford is almost sporty? Not quite sporty, but well short of the "ponderous" adjective we expected.

2015 Ford Transit2015 Ford Transit2015 Ford Transit2015 Ford Transit

The Transit is so good that our pangs of nostalgia for the death of the Econoline have been put to rest.

In more realistic highway and around-town settings, the Transit is a puppy dog. It's remarkable how quiet this van is. There's virtually no wind noise at any speed and the racket that normally comes with a naked interior is mercifully absent. Credit the mastic glue laid down between structural beams and sheetmetal with sound deadening patches that have been stuck in where needed. In a rainstorm, we could hear the pitter-patter of droplets on the roof, a realization that says a lot about how quiet the rest of this van is. It was easily capable of merging into freeway traffic with cargo, passing was effortless, and huge, two-part wing mirrors mean you can pretty well see what's going on behind and to the sides.

Forward visibility is excellent although our windowless cargo layout meant backing up was exceedingly challenging, even with a rearview camera. Basically, you're driving backwards while looking down a tunnel, though that's not to say that's different than other vans. It may sound silly, but the step-in and seat height is one of the Transit's best aspects. Here the combination of a generous step, low-ish footwell height, easy grab points, and a minivan-like hip-point means that for a driver hopping into and out of the van all day long, there's going to be much less fatigue. By comparison, the Sprinter practically requires mountain climbing gear to reach the helm. The lone weakness of the Transit's control room is the tight distance between the driver's seat and the center console. Our size-eleven Red Wing boots were held up every time we tried to pass directly to the cargo area.

2015 Ford Transit

It was always assumed the last E-Series would be built shortly after the heat death of the universe. That may still come to pass since Ford will continue building the heavy chassis cab version until at least the end of this decade. With that said, the Transit is so good that our pangs of nostalgia for the death of the Econoline have been put to rest. Amongst the latest crop of Eurovans, the Transit exhibits the best combination of capability, creature comfort, thoughtful features, technology and powertrain options. Plus, just think about how huge the airbrushed murals can be.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 124 Comments
      Perry Harrington
      • 6 Months Ago
      You do realize that you called the Transit a Sprinter when testing the short wheelbase 3.7L in the parking lot, right?
      Hernan
      • 6 Months Ago
      I rode to school in a van that looked just like this but with windows (may not have been a Ford, I don't remember) 20 years ago in Argentina, converted to school bus duty. They're awesome, and I can't believe it took this long to get them to the US!
      SpecialProjectsGuy
      • 3 Months Ago

      I currently manage a fleet of about a dozen Sprinter 2500's and recently added (2) Dodge ProMaster 3500's, for a company who uses these for service all over the US and Canada. I have spent countless hours researching these vehicles, up-fitting them, (and driving them) , and I have to say that the new Transit seems to be a breath of fresh air. The oldest Sprinter in our fleet is a 2006 and the newest is a 2014.  Although the progression of accessories and dependability has been substantial as the Sprinter has changed tags from Dodge to Freightliner to Mercedes, it still remains that the overall cost of maintenance and repairs over the years has been astronomical.  In addition, having to find a dealership that will actually work on a Sprinter when you have a problem is nearly impossible.  I have had employees that have had to travel for 5 hours just to take a Sprinter to have a repair done.  As with most businesses, time is money, and when I have to shut a territory down for two days just to have a simple repair or scheduled maintenance done, that is an enormous loss!  

      As for the ProMaster, yes it it is ugly... However, for those in the industry that need a heavy duty 3500 series van that could still stay under the weight capacity of DOT,  with similar cubic ft of cargo room to the Sprinter, that need to have a gasoline engine due to the extreme cold of NW Canada, and front wheel drive for taking it through highly iced over roads, the ProMaster really got the job done. --not to mention its' 0-60 is 3 seconds faster than the Sprinter.

      I won't say much about the Nissan cargo van.  It is possible that it is a great vehicle, but it really is not even a true competitor in this range of vehicles because it does not offer sizes that are even close to comparable to the Sprinter, ProMaster, and Transit.

      All in all, the Sprinter is still my go to vehicle for new up-fitted service vans to add to our fleet.  I literally just set up an appointment for next week for a dealership to bring me a Transit to test drive, which is why I found myself on this website looking at reviews.  If the Transit ends up being as great as everyone seems to be saying it is, I am looking forward to making the switch over to Ford. 

      Thanks for reading.

        madmax1
        • 1 Month Ago
        @SpecialProjectsGuy

        Did you get that test drive in the Transit?

        If so do tell.

        You were saying that upkeep on the Sprinters are very high?

        That must be on the v6 dsl do you have the I4 dsl in the 2014?

        Max

      wafflesnfalafel
      • 6 Months Ago
      I kinda wish Ford kept the shorter, cleaner, less snouty "euro" nose - but otherwise a very nice new truck.
        aatbloke1967
        • 6 Months Ago
        @wafflesnfalafel
        This is the same vehicle as the new Transit Jumbo In Europe. The slightly smaller Transit Custom is the model you're referring to, while the smaller still Transit Connect and Transit Courier are based on the Focus and Fiesta, respectively.
      Bernard
      • 6 Months Ago
      Will they make these things aluminum?
        Mike Levine
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Bernard
        Transit uses a combination of high-strength steel and boron ultra high-strength steel for the unibody structure. - Mike (Disclosure: I manage Ford Truck Communications)
          Mike Levine
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Mike Levine
          @Andy_george: Max towing capacity for Transit Wagon is up to 5,100 lbs. Hope that's enough to meet your needs! - Mike
          andy_george
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Mike Levine
          Hey Mike, Why are the tow ratings for the passenger Transit so much lower? My dream of a family hauler Transit to pull a camper is in serious jeopardy with the max conventional tow ratings of the passenger wagons around 4500lbs. Help before I buy an NV!
          andy_george
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Mike Levine
          They are a factor, but there is no way the passenger version weighs an extra 3000 pounds.
          Dean Hammond
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Mike Levine
          Andy...simple put curbweights.....
          Dean Hammond
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Mike Levine
          Im not sure Andy, but add 15 passenger seats dual A/c, power packages etc etc etc...could all add up...j
      FuelToTheFire
      • 6 Months Ago
      Whatever happened to vans with nice big engines? When I was going through med school, I worked as a delivery man and I drove a '94 Ford E Series with a 7.5 V8. I also used to own a 2002 Chevrolet Express conversion van with an 8.1 V8. Do the baboons running Ford nowadays seriously think that a full sized van can work with a puny 3.5 V6? The engine needs to be suited to the size of the vehicle, and clearly the Ecoboost isn't.
        jz78817
        • 6 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        The Ecoboost V6 has 60 more HP and 20 lb-ft more torque than that wheezy old lump of a 460 in your E-series. I think it'll do fine.
        Dean Hammond
        • 6 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        considering in the f-150 it puts out basically the same HP and Torque, you have basically just proven yourself to be ill-informed....AGAIN....
        mycommentemail
        • 6 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        "clearly" Um... maybe that word doesn't mean what you think it means? The eco-boost engine comes with 310 HP and 400 foot pounds of torque. Compare that to the The E-350 with a 6.8-liter V10 (305 hp and 420 foot pounds of torque - in a freaking V10!) I know your man-glands are shrinking right now because you are hearing voices say (in a neanderthal voice) "not work. no V8". But really, we are beyond that now.
        The_Zachalope
        • 6 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        The 7.5L V8 offered 245 horsepower and 365 lb ft torque. The 8100 Vortec offered 325hp and 447 lb ft torque. The 3.5L EcoBoost offers 310 horsepower and 400 lb ft of torque.
        Robin
        • 6 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Is the poster's name, "FuelToTheFire," a hint that he's doing this deliberately to spark a lot of "you don't know what you're talking about" posts, or does he seriously just not know what he's talking about?
          Robin
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Robin
          Edit: I've seen the older posts, and yes, he's a troll. And his having gone to med school is about as likely as my having gone to Hogwarts.
        rstonnerdd
        • 6 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        FTTF - I am glad you are not my doctor: In the good old days, a pacemaker was the size of a New York City phone book and needed two marine batteries to keep it humming. And they only had to be replaced every six weeks! We did heart transplant with elephant hearts because they were bigger and pump all the blood in your body in 1/2 second. And amputees got replacement parts made of I-beams and abestos. The d@mn things lasted forever!
      FuelToTheFire
      • 6 Months Ago
      Euro full size vans like these are beyond dumb. The E series is a much better vehicle in every way possible. The Euro vans are simply too big and unwieldy. The E series is much more maneuverable than the Transit or other vans. The Euro vans are also ridiculously expensive compared to the E series. An E seizes is much more capable than the Transit and similar vans, and can tow more and have a higher payload because of its rugged body on frame construction. The European vans are also painfully slow. There is a reason why American vans come with V8s; Americans drive much faster than Europeans. This van has a pathetic 180 hp. . There is NO way an 8500 pound monstrosity can keep up with traffic on the highway without causing a pileup, if it has that kind of PATHETIC power. If Ford had any sense at all, they would make the 3.5 EB with 310 hp the STANDARD engine, with an optional 5.0 with 360 hp, a 6.2 Boss with 390 hp, and a redone 6.7 V10 with 420 hp. Americans need an engine which suits the size of the vehicle. The engines will NOT last long;they cannot take the abuse the v8s can and cannot handle the same payload and do the same work. They will give out ahead of time.The only reason the Euros use puny 4 and 6 bangers in their vans is because they are taxed out of their ass. Before that, they used to have V8 vans, too. The Morris Rover Sherpa is an example: with was a full size, body on frame van, JUST like the E series with a 5 or 6 liter Rover V8. There is a reason American style cargo vans sell much better than Euro vans, which frankly have fallen flat in the market. They sell because their formula works. Faster, more powerful, can tow more, more spacious, less unweildy, higher payload capacity.... the list goes on. Just because it has a soft interior and because it drives like a girl's truck doesn't mean it's a good work van. It's getting really tiresome how American car companies are abandoning ehat they used to be known for and are focing European style cars and trucks down our throat, when in fact they are much inferior. The poor sales of the Sprinter compared to the E series proves that we Americans don't want them. Why can't American companies do the opposite? Instead of selling the wussy Transit over here, why can't Ford sell the E series in Europe? If Europeans are smart, they'll figure out the virtues of American-style cargo vans and how they are superior to European ones. I'm sure they'd appreciate the extra power they have over their anemic little 4 bangers, the extra capability and cargo capacity, and the toughness of a no-nonsense American v8
        Justin Campanale
        • 6 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Seriously, don't even respond to this clown. His posts are deliberately inflammatory and seem to revolve around a few select topics: 1) how AWD sports cars are inherently better than RWD ones (claims to own an Evo) 2) How American vans are much better than European ones 3) Random rants about safety, often proposing banning small cars and motorcycles (claims to own a Hummer H2) 4) How his sister supposedly has a VW TDI which only makes 15 mpg, going on to say that all diesels are crap 5) How manual transmissions are crap 6) Over-the-top nationalistic rants about how "Euro weenies: have small dyks or whatever' 7) Random internet tough guy rants such as "I'll run you over with my H2", "Good god people are so stupid" "you're an ignorant peasant" Seriously, worst troll ever. 0/10. He doesn't even try to hide the fact that he's trolling by going on those aforementioned internet-tough-guy rants directed at people who try to knock some sense into him. I seriously think he's some kind of mental patient. His posts, at first, were pretty funny, but now they're just irritating. Just don't respond to him and he'll go away. That's what happened to two of Autoblog's most notorious trolls, "Fried_Rice" and "vwfailsagain". Nobody bothered to respond to them so they just gave up.
          Rick C.
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Justin Campanale
          Don't respond to him. Don't feed the trolls.
        Dean Hammond
        • 6 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        wrong, and nothing to back up any of the comments, just pure trollish speculation.....
          Chris O.
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          Not just that, but the suggestion that the 6.2 was suitable for this application was pretty funny. It'll be interesting to see the 3.2L I5 Diesel on the road. Assuming it's reliable, it seems that should be suitable range-topper.
          Dean Hammond
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          Its a pretty well proven engine cChris...global ranger is but one example...
        SlothLovesChunk
        • 6 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        There wasn't a single fact in your entire rant, which was simply a copy and paste job you posted before. Autoblog already laid out the facts for you, and you can confirm them yourself by visiting Ford's website. My lord, you are dense.
        superchan7
        • 6 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Don't forget, your family requires a vehicle at least the size of a Suburban. Anything smaller is a death trap.
        KaiserWilhelm
        • 6 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        MAKE IT STOP, MAKE IT GO AWAY!!!
        Donnerfiffi
        • 6 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Fire - what for? We were fine without it for thousands of years...
      Neil
      • 6 Months Ago
      for one, the ecoboost has 320-hp not 310. two, the fuel economy so far without the diesel is a very minor improvement. the ecoboost gets 14 city and 19 highway. the old e-series gets 13/16 with the 4.6 and 12/16 with the 5.4. I am not impressed! a v6 with v8 economy???? make it 17 city and 22 highway and I will be impressed. with today's technology, there is no reason for that fuel economy from 6 cylinders. just give us the option of the 5.0 v8. it cant do any worse.
        Dean Hammond
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Neil
        so you are basically saying that a van with a greater payload, 50ftlbs more torque than the outgoing 5.4 that can tow more than either AND gets better mileage is passe?....you DO realize you are using the most powerful option for comparisons sake correct?......pretty squewed comparison.....
          Dean Hammond
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          75% more max cargo volume vs E-series......
        jz78817
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Neil
        Vans are basically giant bricks which have to be rammed through the air. What do you want?
        Jake
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Neil
        16% to 18% improvement in fuel economy according to your numbers is "minor".
      Jesus!
      • 6 Months Ago
      That is one big, fat, ugly van with a nasty interior. I agree the alien center pod head is ugly and scary.
      Dean Hammond
      • 6 Months Ago
      hopefully Matt aka "That Guy" reads the article before chastising as per the norm.....no doubt in my mind at all this WILL be the segment leader..
        Justin Campanale
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Dean Hammond
        He will be shortly followed by FueltotheFire.
          Dean Hammond
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Justin Campanale
          his blithering ignorance has begun...someone must have thrown some chum or a Ford subject into the ocean....
        Dean Hammond
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Dean Hammond
        judging by the pretty prompt vote down, someones lurking...funny stuff, the fact the vehicle trumps the Econoline in driving mileage, payload options, NVH, economy, comfort...will mean NOTHING because it cant tow what the V10 could....AHEM!....
      stonehunte
      • 6 Months Ago
      They should offer the 5.0L at least, the EB is going to guzzle the fuel while towing. i'm not sure why making uglier vans with weaker motors is a good thing.
        jz78817
        • 6 Months Ago
        @stonehunte
        Which engine in the Transit is "weaker" than the wheezing 2-valve 4.6 (225 hp,) or 5.4 (255 hp) in the E-series?
        dodge
        • 6 Months Ago
        @stonehunte
        Virtually no one tows with a van dear. People who tow buy trucks.
        Matt Wood
        • 6 Months Ago
        @stonehunte
        I have an EcoBoost F-150 and I actually get better highway fuel economy towing a 3000lb trailer than I do without it.
          stonehunte
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Matt Wood
          No you don't. I'm sorry but they call them the "laws" of physics for a reason.
      aatbloke1967
      • 6 Months Ago
      If you really want to annoy the likes of "Fueltothefire", his various pseudonyms and his acolytes, then simply don't respond to him. No thumbs down, no comments, nothing. You'll deprive him of the material he's actually after.
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