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2015 Ford Transit Van REVIEW

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 4/3/2017

Con: Lack of available V8 engine may be a turn-off for traditional van buyers.

Interior: Compared with its unquestionably dated E-Series commercial van forebears, the 2015 Transit Van's interior is almost as much a step into the contemporary as ditching a flip cell phone for an iPhone.

Forget that massive step up and in: The first step into the Transit still is up, but you no longer have to pick your feet over a wide and inconvenient sill covering the frame. And the old-school van seating position now is friendlier and much more like a conventional vehicle. With the tall center console, close-at-hand gear selector and likewise easily accessed climate and radio controls, the interior design is more family crossover than commercial vehicle. Those who've driven an E-Series or other old-school American full-size van will be astonished by just how much more welcoming the Transit's interior is, even with its unapologetically utilitarian trimmings.

Items as long as 14 feet can be transported in the longest version of the 2015 Transit, and all but the special dual-rear-wheel Transit can handle 4x8 sheets of plywood laying flat between the wheelwells. Demonstrating that Ford engineers did their homework, there are designed-in mounting points for exterior roof racks as well.

Total cargo volume for the regular-wheelbase/low-roof version of the 2015 Transit is 247 cubic feet, while the mid-roof model can hold 315 cubes. Go to the long-wheelbase Transit and those numbers jump to 278 and 358 cubic feet, respectively. For maximum capability there's the high-roof model, which holds up to 487 cubic feet of cargo.

Body: The 2015 Ford Transit Van is offered in a single trim level. There are standard- and long-wheelbase models as well as low-, medium- or high-roof body styles. An extended-length body can be had on the long-wheelbase chassis. Depending on the configuration, the Transit also can be selected to handle increasing gross vehicle weight ratings: Transit 150, Transit 250 and Transit 350.

Standard equipment for the Transit Van includes 16-inch steel wheels, a hinged passenger-side door (sliding on medium- and high-roof), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, full power accessories, front air-conditioning, vinyl front seats, cargo-area tie-down loops and a two-speaker stereo with an auxiliary input jack.

Options can be ordered alone or come as part of packages. Highlights include long-arm exterior mirrors, various window choices, different axle ratios, dual sliding rear cargo doors (late availability), cruise control, rear parking sensors, a lane-keeping alert system, a rearview camera, alloy wheels, remote engine start, rear air-conditioning, LED cargo area lighting, a spray-in liner for the cargo area, Crew Chief telematics, Ford's Sync with a 4-inch multifunction display or the MyFord Touch infotainment interface with navigation and a 6-inch touchscreen. A heavy-duty trailering package is also offered.

Driving: The first thing drivers will notice is that the 2015 Ford Transit Van responds to its steering wheel in a way no truck-based van has before. The steering responds easily and gives feedback more like a family car than a full-size truck. A relatively tight turning circle is another welcome attribute of the new Transit.

The Transit's standard 3.7-liter V6 has respectable power but probably wouldn't do for those who frequently have a lot of heavy cargo. The turbocharged V6 is a different animal, able to effortlessly propel a well-loaded Transit. The new 3.2-liter diesel -- Ford's first use of this engine in the United States -- is quiet, gutsy and, like the other two engines, cooperates almost invisibly with the standard six-speed automatic transmission.

Agreeable, smooth engines and well-managed wind noise make the Transit's cabin noticeably quiet, although pelting rain hammers the roof and can make noise in the wheelwells. And for those ultra-long versions of the Transit, the optional rearview camera is a boon.

What’s New: The 2015 Ford Transit Van is an all-new model.

The 2015 Ford Transit Van's base engine is a 3.7-liter V6 good for 275 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.

For more power, the Transit can be fitted with a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that generates 310 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. Also available is a turbocharged 3.2-liter diesel-powered inline five-cylinder rated at 185 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. This engine isn't available for the Transit Van 150. All Transits come with a six-speed automatic transmission that sends the power to the rear wheels.

Payload and towing capacities vary depending on the model, but can be as high as 4,650 pounds for payload and 7,000 pounds for towing, when properly equipped.

Because of the rules governing commercial vehicles, only a few versions of the 2015 Ford Transit Van will have EPA fuel economy ratings. But greatly improved fuel economy should be a given for most configurations of the Transit Van compared to the old E-Series. The 3.7-liter V6, when fitted in the regular-length wheelbase Transit passenger wagon is EPA rated at a combined 16 mpg (14 city/19 highway). The same model powered by the 310-hp, turbocharged V6 is good for the same numbers.

Safety: Every Transit Van comes with stability control, frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags and antilock brakes as standard. A rearview camera, rear parking sensors and a lane-keeping warning system are optional.

In government crash testing, the Transit Van was not given an overall rating, but it did score four out of five stars for total frontal impact safety and five stars for total side crash safety.

Pro: Numerous available configurations; impressive payload and towing capacities; strong and fuel-efficient turbocharged gasoline and diesel engines; pleasant road manners for a van.

Edmunds Say: With a wide variety of configurations, a choice of powerful and fuel-efficient gasoline and diesel engines and easygoing driving manners, the Ford Transit Van brings newfound refinement and flexibility to commercial vans.

Introduction: There's a revolution underway in the commercial van market, as a new generation of more maneuverable, more economical models replace longstanding van lines that were based on pickup truck platforms. The newest example of this trend is the all-new 2015 Ford Transit Van.

Not to be confused with Ford's smaller Transit Connect, the new Transit supplants Ford's long-running E-Series full-size van . In just about every area that commercial-van buyers find important, the Transit is an upgrade. Ford offers it in two wheelbases, three roof heights and with three different body lengths. And there are three engine choices, all of which promise to greatly improve fuel efficiency.

Meanwhile, a big weight savings comes from the new Transit Van's undercarriage, which disposes of the heavy and space-robbing ladder frame of traditional commercial vans in favor of a carlike unibody design. The reduced weight helps to boost fuel economy while allowing higher towing and gross vehicle weight ratings. With the high-roof body, those more than 6 feet tall can stand upright inside the Transit Van.

Also improved is the driving experience. The driver and front passenger take advantage of an airy, open cockpit with excellent sight lines, supportive seats and even some of the latest technology options such as Ford's MyFord Touch infotainment system, a rearview camera and lane-keeping alert. The Transit Van's driver enjoys the fruits of the more refined mechanicals in the form of vastly more responsive steering and a smooth six-speed automatic transmission that includes manual-shift functionality.

Many competitors also offer similar new vans and, depending on your intended use, each is worth consideration. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has been available for some time and essentially ushered in the new, more space-efficient, tall roof commercial van template. It's a fine-driving van, too, and brings Mercedes' earned reputation for durability, but the Sprinter is expensive and doesn't offer the range of engine choices of the 2015 Transit. Nissan's NV Cargo Van stays with a pickup-truck frame and offers an optional V8 engine, which some might find a critical differentiating point. But the NV offers just one wheelbase and two roof-height choices. The Ram Promaster Van is perhaps the most radical, as it features a front-wheel-drive layout that may compromise utility for some users.

Commercial buyers will need to examine which of these vans works best for their needs. But with its high number of potential body configurations and engine choices, it's likely many will view the 2015 Ford Transit Van as the most flexible cargo van for the widest range of uses.

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