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2020 Ford Transit – Not Your Father’s Econoline

King of the Deivery Vans

Last month, Ford’s media relations folks appeared to make a full court press on placing Ford Transit cargo and passenger vans with automotive journalists and analysts around the country.  AutoPacific was given the choice of a cargo van or a huge, long, probably 16-passenger passenger van.  The cargo van was the way to go for this evaluation because it would be the most basic Transit. Of course, the Transit they sent me was a Transit 250 SEL with the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 and all wheel drive.  The sticker was $50,000.  Not cheap for a empty box on wheels, but a good example of what is available to commercial fleet buyers from Ford’s commercial vehicle operation.During the week with the Transit I was able to channel my inner Amazon Prime driver.  With the exception of the color – silver – and powertrain – this van was almost identical to the familiar Amazon Prime delivery vans crawling your neighborhood.  The Amazon Prime livery is some sort of grey/blue/green color with the distinctive Amazon Prime swoosh on the side.

Most people have experienced vans like this as airport shuttles.  Most are old Ford E-Series/Econolines with a shuttle body added on to a chassis cab platform.  Invariably they shudder, rattle and squeak.  When you get a proper van, with no one adding anything on or sawing through body panels, the Transit is solid and tight as a drum.   The ride quality is what you would expect from a three-quarter ton commercial vehicle, a bit harsh but pretty well controlled.

Interior noise was not too high.  There were insulated floor coverings and insulation on the inside body panels. With the With the EcoBoost V6, performance was very good.  This Ford Transit had all the Ford safety features installed.  The driver’s interfaces were very familiar to drivers accustomed to Ford’s switchgear and display screens.

Being all wheel drive, this Ford Transit rode higher than normal and the step up was a reach.  Getting out was more like getting down.  Ingress/egress takes some time to get used to.

Forward visibility is outstanding.  The high seating position takes advantage of the short down-sloping hood providing a panoramic view.  The side mirrors are huge double mirror affairs with blind spot warning icons in the mirror.  The upper mirror is flat and the lower mirror is convex.  Because this cargo van had  no side windows, these side mirrors and blind spot warning are very important and useful.  The rear doors did have windows, but they were a long, long way away.

I don’t know how many Ford Transit vans Amazon acquired for their Amazon Prime delivery drivers, but it must have been a huge and lucrative order for Ford.

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