Ford's E-Series full-size vans enter their 14th year of production with a handful of technical changes. Ford's AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control is now standard on 12- and 15-passenger versions, while E-250 and E-150 vans equipped with a trailer towing package get a transmission oil cooler.
The first Ford E-100 van (then known as the Econoline) made its debut in 1960. By 1974, Ford had sold a million Econoline vans; by 1978 they had sold two million, and today that number is more than 6 million.
As with their F-Series pickups, Ford offers a variety of configurations for the E-Series, including passenger (E-150 and E-350) and cargo (E-150, E-250 and E-350) versions. All but the E-150 are available in regular (212-inch) or extended (232-inch) lengths, with regular-length passenger vans providing seating for 7 or 8 passengers, and extended-length vans seating 7 to 15. (Both lengths share the same 138-inch wheelbase.) Passenger versions are available in XL, XLT, and Chateau trim levels, with anti-lock brakes and air conditioning standard across the board.
Engine choices for the E-Series consist of a 4.6L gasoline V-8 (225 hp, 286 lb.-ft. of torque), 5.4L gasoline V-8 (255 hp, 350 lb.-ft.), 6.8L gasoline V-10 (305 hp, 420 lb.-ft.), and 6.0L turbo-diesel V-8 (235 hp, 440 lb.-ft.). A 4-speed automatic transmission is standard with both gasoline V-8s; a 5-speed automatic is optional on the 5.4L V-8, and standard on the 6.8L V-10 and 6.0L turbo-diesel. GVWR ratings range from 7,000 to 9,300 pounds (9,400 for cargo vans), and maximum towing capacities range from 6,500 to 20,000 pounds.
The Ford E-Series is one of four models in the Large Van segment. While Chevrolet and GMC offer conventional vans similar to the E-Series, Dodge has recently dropped its Ram Van for the Mercedes-designed Sprinter, which has been a staple on European roads for years.
According to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM the Ford E-Series was the top-selling large van in calendar year 2005 with 179,543 units sold. It was followed by the Chevrolet Express (127,585 sales), GMC Savana (34,765), and Dodge Sprinter (19,662). (Dodge also sold 321 units of the outgoing Ram Van.)