KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 1/3/2012
Let's face it, when you need to move a massive amount of people or cargo nothing is as efficient as a full-size van. With 50-plus year of service under its belt, the 2012 Ford E-Series van has more than proven this point, tackling jobs both big and small. A long-time favorite of both the service industry and shuttle fleet managers everywhere, the venerable 2012 Ford E-Series full-size vans also serve countless vacationers who desire to take a big, comfortable conversion van on a long holiday across country. And, although the 2012 Ford E-Series vans are cut from the same mold as their wildly popular 1970s counterparts, today's E-Series is filled with modern safety and convenience features unheard of just a few years ago. Ford's AdvanceTrac traction and stability control system is a definite plus, as is the available navigation and SYNC communications systems. Offered in a number of configurations, the 2012 Ford E-Series van can serve as a passenger, cargo or cutaway van and is available in 1/2-ton, 3/4-ton and 1-ton models.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you have a big job moving multiple passengers or hundreds of pounds of cargo, the 2012 Ford E-Series full-size van is the truck of choice. Beyond its numerous configurations, the E-Series van can also be ordered as a CNG (compressed natural gas) vehicle.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you have strong concerns about safety and fuel economy, you should take note that the 2012 Ford E-Series van does not have head-curtain side airbags or a diesel engine option. There is also no all-wheel-drive model. All of these features, however, can be found on the Chevrolet Express Van.
What's New for 2012
For 2012, the E-Series van receives an auxiliary audio input jack as standard, while new cast-aluminum wheels are made optional.
You don't hear much about the dynamic handling abilities of a full-size van but, if you're curious, the 2012 E-Series van is actually quite easy to live with. Although not as well-heeled as a full-size SUV like the Ford Expedition, the 2012 Ford E-Series is a far cry from vans of yesteryear. It's true that the rudimentary suspension, long rear overhang and average-size tires don't inspire sporty maneuvering, but the standard AdvanceTrac traction and stability control system goes a long way to making sure bad situations don't get worse. From the driver's seat, the E-Series delivers a modicum of feedback through its oversized steering wheel, but sudden lane changes and corners rounded too quickly require a bit more attention be paid to the task at hand. The E-Series' ride remains relatively controlled even when the vehicle is fully loaded, although it can get rather bouncy. In an attempt to make the 2012 E-Series van as user-friendly as possible, Ford has paid special attention to the areas most frequented by passengers. For example, the van's door handles are placed down low for easy access, and the there is a two-step tier at the base of the sliding side door making entry and exit less of a hike.
Crew Chief telematics
The system allows owners to manage their vehicles, dispatch drivers, keep tabs on usage patterns and track scheduled maintenance.
6.8-liter Triton V10
The 6.8-liter Triton V10 offers the potent torque of a diesel without the added cost.
It's hard to make a dashboard as vast as that of the 2012 Ford E-Series van simple and easy to operate, but Ford has done a pretty good job. Most of the vital switch gear is clustered as close to the driver as possible, but the radio and auxiliary input jack remains a bit of a reach. Wisely, Ford has made its SYNC communications system available in the 2012 E-Series van, allowing some functions to be controlled via voice-activated commands. There are also redundant controls for volume and station settings on the steering wheel. The E-Series' front captain's-chair seating is firm and supportive, but the bench-style rear seats are a throwback to a time when comfort and head restraints were not a primary concern. And, with no head-curtain airbags to protect rear passengers, we have some concerns about their well-being in a side-impact collision. With a number of possible interior configurations, the E-Series can accommodate up to 14 passengers, a grocery-shelf's worth of boxed goods, or a mix of passengers and cargo. Owners can further customize their vans with such factory options as the QuietFlex rack and bin system, Masterack tool storage package and the Cable Lock tool-security system.
Outside of redesigning the front end and tail lights, there's not much Ford can do to change five decades of its rolling box design. Flush-mounted side glass helps reduce drag and, on the 2012 Ford E-Series van, that side glass is particularly wide, providing excellent all around visibility. Large side mirrors help the driver see what might be cruising alongside the E-Series, and can be ordered with a power telescoping feature. If you have a conversion project in mind, the E-Series is the perfect platform from which to start, with a number of factory-installed pre-wiring packages to assist your installer.
Notable Standard Equipment
The base Ford E-150 XL includes a 225-horsepower 4.6-liter V8, 4-speed automatic transmission, air conditioning, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), dual side mirrors, driver and passenger front airbags, 12-volt outlets, swing-out side doors, AM/FM stereo, 8-passenger seating, tilt steering wheel, intermittent wipers and power steering. The XLT trim adds chrome bumpers, 6-speaker stereo with CD, dual cloth captain's-chair seating, cruise control and power windows, mirrors and door locks.
Notable Optional Equipment
E-Series options include a 255-horsepower 5.4-liter V8, a 305-horsepower 6.8-liter Triton V10 and CNG versions of the 5.4- and 6.8-liter engines. Also on the list are a number of seating configurations, rear air conditioning, SYNC voice-activated communications system, navigation, HD Radio, CD player, auxiliary input jack, aluminum wheels, sliding side cargo door, telescopic trailer-tow mirrors, power driver's seat, a trailer-towing package and the luxurious XLT Premium package. Other appealing options include the Masterack work-bin storage system (which includes steel shelving, drawers and cabinets), Tool Link tool-tracking system and the Crew Chief telematics system.
Under the Hood
The 2012 Ford 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 CNG-capable 5.4 and 6.8-liter engines. The 4.6-liter and 5.4-liter V8 engines are also E85-compatible.
225 horsepower @ 4,800 rpm
286 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/17 (gasoline), 9/12 (E85)
255 horsepower @ 4,500 rpm
350 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/16 (gasoline), 9/12 (E85)
305 horsepower @ 4,250 rpm
420 lb-ft of torque @ 3,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 10/13
Pricing for the 2012 Ford E-Series vans covers a wide spread. The E-150 has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $29,500, while the E-350 Super Duty Cargo Van starts just over $32,000 and a loaded XLT Super Duty Passenger Van with navigation pushes close to $45,000. The E-350 Super Duty Extended Cargo Van starts just over $32,000 and the 15-passenger E-350 is a few thousand more at around $35,000. The gasoline Triton V10 adds a mere $800 to the 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 2012 Ford 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.