By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
With its Transit van for 2016, Ford joins Ram, Nissan and Mercedes-Benz in offering a cutting-edge, European-style work van, leaving GM as the only major manufacturer still saddled with a decades-old body-on-frame design. The 2016 cargo-oriented Transit and passenger-friendly Transit Wagon offer a wide variety of configurations, including three varying roof heights, a short- and long-wheelbase option and six body lengths. Passenger models can carry from eight to 15 passengers, and engine choices include a turbocharged EcoBoost V6 and Power Stroke 5-cylinder diesel. For those seeking an alternative fuel source, the 3.7-liter V6 can be prepped to run on compressed natural gas (CNG). Ford also offers a dizzying array of work- truck options allowing customization of the Transit’s massive cargo bay.
If your business depends on mobility, Ford’s 2016 Transit van is one vehicle you’ll want carrying your company logo. With 11 Ford-approved upfitters, the Transit can be configured to fit almost any need.
The 2016 Ford Transit doesn’t come cheap. If a traditional-size van is all you need, GM’s Express van starts a few thousand dollars less. It also offers the option of all-wheel drive and a higher tow rating. Smaller vans like the Transit Express cost less and are easier to maneuver.
The 2016 Ford Transit receives the new Sync 3 audio upgrade, as well as additional configurations including dual sliding side doors.
When it comes to describing the driving experience behind the wheel of something as large and ponderous as the 2016 Ford Transit cargo van, a subjective tone must be observed....
... In comparison to the old body-on-frame Ford vans of the past, the Transit is superior in every way. Unit-body construction helps with overall stability, as well as cuts down on the number of squeaks and rattles inside the passenger compartment. The steering is impressively responsive and the Transit’s turning radius surprisingly tight. The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 is the engine best suited to the Transit’s size and expected payloads, although the 5-cylinder diesel is also worthy of praise.
Ford Telematics is an option no fleet manager should be without. This onboard diagnostic tool can rat out unsafe driving habits, tell when a vehicle is due for service and even generate reports on fuel efficiency.
3.5-LITER V6 ECOBOOST ENGINE
While the torque from a diesel engine might seem the best match to the Transit’s bulk, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 is amazingly powerful and fuel-efficient. With more than 500,000 units sold in Ford cars and trucks worldwide, EcoBoost engine technology is a proven commodity.
Work vans used to be a sparse and unhospitable place to spend a work day. That’s not the case anymore thanks to things like Sync 3 with MyFord Touch and comfortable, supportive seats. Combine those things with enough storage space up front to hold a tablet computer, a smartphone, and a few water bottles, and you have the Transit’s interior. Cloth or leather seats are available and, unlike other competitors in the work-van segment, the Transit’s steering wheel tilts and telescopes, which creates a comfortable driving position (we’re looking at you, Ram ProMaster).
Ford’s 2016 Transit work van comes in three roof profiles (low – 83.6 inches, medium – 100.8 inches, and high – 110.1 inches) and six body lengths ranging from 217.8 inches to 263.9 inches. Tinted glass, 16-inch steel wheels with color-keyed hubcaps, and a black surround can be seen on the Aston Martin-esque front grille on all 2016 Transit models. As for the Wagon XLT, the Exterior Upgrade Package – which includes full wheel covers, a chrome grille and grille surround, and headlight trim – is standard along with everything previously mentioned.
For the 2016 Ford Transit, 16-inch wheels and hubcaps, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and power windows and locks are standard. Black front and rear bumpers with front lower valence and a rear step are also standard, along with short-arm, dual power-side mirrors and tinted windows. The Wagon XL passenger van brings 6-speaker audio and rain-sensing windshield wipers. The Wagon XLT gets a chrome grille surround, automatic headlights and an upgraded 8-speaker sound system.
A 10-way-power driver's seat, an engine-block heater and rear parking-aid sensors are just some of the available options on the 2016 Ford Transit. Other optional features include extendable mirrors, Ford Telematics, dual sliding side doors, cruise control, keyless entry, and Sync 3 with MyFord Touch with a 6-inch touch screen and navigation. A CNG/LPG (liquid petroleum gas) engine-prep package is available for models equipped with the 3.7-liter V6 engine.
Depending on what you plan on using your 2016 Ford Transit for, there are three engine choices available, all of which are paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift and a tow/haul mode. Ford promises that the Transit will be as much as 46-percent more fuel efficient than the previous E-Series equipped with the turbocharged EcoBoost V6 engine. The standard-issue 3.7-liter V6 is expected to get 19-percent better fuel economy than the highway fuel-consumption rating on the previous E-Series vans. The 3.2-liter Power Stroke diesel 5-cylinder is not rated by the EPA.
275 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/19 mpg (cargo), 14/18 mpg (passenger)
3.5-liter turbocharged V6
310 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
400 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/19 mpg
3.2-liter diesel inline-5
185 horsepower @ 3,000 rpm
350 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-2,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: not rated by EPA
The 2016 Ford Transit model has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just north of $32,000, while a fully loaded Transit work or passenger van can stop just short of $50,000. For comparison’s sake, the Ram ProMaster starts a hair over $30,000 and tops out in the mid-$40,000 range. At the other end of the spectrum, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter starts at just over $35,000 and can climb into the high-$40,000 range in the blink of an eye. The Chevrolet Express Van starts just under $29,000. To make your best deal, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying for their vans. As for resale, we expect the Transit to hold its value better than the Chevy Express Van and on par with the Nissan NV and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.