By KBB.com Editors
Armed with a number of improvements aimed at improving passenger comfort, fuel economy and carrying capacity, Ford's 2008 E-Series full-size van continues to serve as the backbone of the service and passenger shuttle industry. Customers who purchase the E-350 receive AdvanceTrac traction control teamed with Roll Stability Control (RSC), and improvements to the suspension increase the maximum gross vehicle weight rating to 14,500 pounds. The big E-Series offers a number of configurations, including passenger, cargo and cutaway, and is available in half, three-quarter and one-ton models. A new F-Series Super Duty-inspired chrome grille and dual stacked headlamps give the E-Series a slightly new look.You'll Like This Car If...
If you need to move a lot of cargo or people, few vehicles are better equipped to do so than the E-Series. Seating for up to 15 passengers makes the E-Series the darling of the shuttle community. Did we mention a properly-equipped E-350 Super Duty can tow up to 10,000 pounds?You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a family hauling vehicle, the E-Series is not as refined or as quiet inside as a full-size Expedition or Excursion. An SUV may fit your needs and your driveway better than a full-size van. If you require a van with all-wheel drive, only the Chevrolet Express Van can fulfill your needs.What's New for 2008
For 2008, The E-Series sees improvements in its steering system, brakes and front and rear suspension. A double-locking cargo security system, dubbed E-Guard, and new seats designed to improve long-term comfort join the options list. Ford now offers an engine-only traction control system for all models except the E-350 with the 5.4-liter V8, which comes standard with AdvanceTrac traction control. The 6.0-liter turbo diesel engine returns late in 2008.Driving It Driving Impressions
Driving an E-Series van is somewhat like piloting a big SUV, only there is a bit more rear overhang. Ford has done a good job making sure that certain aspects of the E-Series are not as gargantuan as the rest of the vehicle, such as placing the door handles down low so you don't have to reach up to operate them. In a nod to better visibility, the lower edge of the side glass extends far down the van's side, giving the passengers a good view in all directions and allowing the driver to see objects that might not appear in the sideview mirrors. The steering is moderately dampened to give the driver some sense of the road, and the ride is fairly smooth when the vehicle is fully loaded.Favorite Features
A new QuietFlex rack system provides quieter operation coupled with greater flexibility.
6.8-liter Triton V10
The 6.8-liter Triton V10 offers the potent torque of a diesel without the added cost.
Ford has done a good job minimizing the vastness of the E-Series' instrument panel, at least from the driver's point of view. It's still a reach to access the audio and climate controls, but some redundant controls on the steering wheel greatly reduce the number of times you'll need to stretch your arm. Improved seating provides greater support in the passenger van, which includes 11- and 14-passenger configurations with an open center aisle. Factory installed options such as the Masterack tool storage system and the QuietFlex rack and bin system allow owners to custom-tailor their vans to better suit specific work-related requirements.Exterior
Though it has undergone extensive reworking over the years, the E-Series still retains the same basic shape that has defined Ford vans since the late 1970s. Large flush-mounted side glass provides an excellent view from within. The panel vans make wonderful conversion projects and come with a long list of optional fittings to make the job easier for the contractor. Larger front and rear disc brakes and calipers are fitted with a new brake pad material that improves stopping power and reduces heat buildup.Notable Standard Equipment
The base E-150 XL includes a 225-horsepower V8, four-speed automatic transmission, air conditioning, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), dual side mirrors, dual 12-volt outlets, swing-out side doors, AM/FM stereo, eight-passenger seating, tilt steering wheel, intermittent wipers and power steering. The XLT trim adds chrome bumpers, six-speaker stereo with CD, dual cloth captain's-chair seating and cruise control and power windows, mirrors and door locks.Notable Optional Equipment
Options include a 255-horsepower 5.4-liter V8, a 305-horsepower 6.8-liter Triton V10 and a 235-horsepower 6.0-liter Power Stroke turbo diesel. Also on the list are a number of seating configurations, rear air conditioning, CD player, aluminum wheels, sliding side cargo door, telescopic trailer tow mirrors, power driver's seat, a trailer towing package and the luxurious XLT Premium package. Another appealing option is the Masterack work bin storage system, which includes steel shelving, drawers and cabinets.Under the Hood
The E-Series offers a strong line of engine choices, with the base V8 delivering good power and torque for the standard-wheelbase models. Extended-length E-250 and E-350 models offer a choice of powerplants, including the Triton V10 and the Power Stroke V8 turbo diesel. While there is no denying the Power Stroke's ability to tow, the added premium of over $7,000 is difficult to justify, especially when the V10 offers more horsepower and nearly identical maximum torque, though at a higher rpm.}
225 horsepower @ 4800 rpm
286 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/17
255 horsepower @ 4500 rpm
350 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/16
305 horsepower @ 4250 rpm
420 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
6.0-liter V8 Turbo Diesel
235 horsepower @ 3300 rpm
440 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
Pricing for the E-Series vans covers a wide spread. The E-150 has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $25,000 for the Super Duty Cargo Van and can run as high as $35,000 for a loaded XLT Super Duty Passenger Van with the Premium Package. The E-350 Super Duty Extended Cargo Van starts just under $30,000 and the 15-passenger E-350 is a few thousand more at around $34,000. The gasoline Triton V10 adds a mere $800 to base price. Additional options include a high-capacity air conditioner and a Class II/III/IV tow package. A look at the Fair Purchase Price will show you what the E-Series is going for in your area, so be sure to take a look at it before you begin negotiations. The E-Series vans are expected to hold an average resale value on par with the Chevrolet Express vans.