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Busman's Holiday: My Vacation Spent as an Airport/Hotel Shuttle Captain in a Ford Transit

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 1/10/2015 Frank Markus

The moment I learned that both of my sisters and their broods would be together for Christmas this year (for the first time in eons), I whipped out my fingers for some quick addition and discovered our family would number 10 during the holiday. I immediately put one of those fingers to use dialing up my Ford PR pal. "Hey, is that rad twin-turbo V-6 sparkle-black Transit 10-seater we had for Truck of the Year still prowling the West Coast?" Yep. "Sign me up!"

2015 Ford Transit 150 Ecoboost© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Ford Transit 150 Ecoboost

We only had about five days together, and we get along great, so while we couldn't all fit in one house to sleep, it was a real treat to fit in one vehicle for long drives into downtown San Diego, to the tennis courts, and to Old Town Vista. This rig is just about ideally outfitted for "Jon & Kate Plus 8" family-schlepping purposes, with minimal options.

Busman's Holiday: My Vacation Spent as an Airport/Hotel Shuttle Captain in a Ford Transit

That fabulous 310-hp/400-lb-ft engine feels worth every penny of the $1,865 charged, and the $325 limited-slip differential should be automatically bundled with that engine to limit inadvertent drifting. (Ours featured the 3.31:1 gas-sipper ratio, but two shorter, faster-accelerating axles are also offered for the truly impatient.) Another $625 buys the 10 bucket seats, $675 gets floor mats and privacy glass, and reverse park aid ($295 including a tiny radio-display camera screen) takes some of the guesswork out of parking-lot maneuvering. One thing I'd skip: The maddening $540 AM/FM/Single-CD/Sync radio, which -- unlike every North America-designed Sync product I've sampled -- proved nearly impossible to pair with a phone and then once paired refused to play any of my music. Out the door this Transit 150 mid-roof wagon costs $41,965.

During our TOTY testing, filling the seatbelts with our 10 heaviest editors blunted the 0-60-mph sprint time from 7.6 to 9.4 seconds, but with my svelte sisters, salad-eating teen nephews, and 8-year-old twins onboard greatly undercutting our average editor's weight, we were surely achieving nearer the 8.0-second mark whenever Midwestern Uncle Frank seized yet another opportunity to blast around an oblivious Southern Californian mouth-breathing at his phone when a light turned green.

Fortunately my whole family is genetically loud-mouthed, so we had little trouble communicating between the first and fourth rows, though the natural din inside a big box like this at highway speeds made it easy for even my kin to keep me from overhearing observations about my driving style. And it would have been disingenuous of me to blame any dynamic transgressions on the van, which handles remarkably well for such a big truck and boasts controls that are easy to modulate smoothly. They did raise their voices to let me know that that fourth row, plunked as it is right over the rear axle, seemed to amplify the effect of speed bumps and the infrequent pothole. All but my built-for-basketball nephews appreciated the mid-roof's stand-up-straight 72-inch interior height, and with all seatbelts mounted to the seats, there's no nylon spaghetti to negotiate while making one's way to the rear, as was the case with E-Series and other old-school Yank vans. An option I wish was offered is a power fold-out step to subdivide the roughly 18-inch drop from the side door sill to the ground. (We carried a plastic stepstool like the high-end shuttle drivers use.) Trust me, Ford, this thing needs it way worse than those Expeditions and Navigators do.

With one last run to the airport, our far-flung family began dispersing, returning to our normal five- and seven-seat vehicles -- most of which seem kinda pokey by comparison with that big black twin-turbo Transit.

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