By on February 7, 2013

Ford’s commercial booth is very quiet at the Chicago Auto Show despite having on display the biggest news in commercial vehicles at the show. OK, so a new cargo van isn’t that exciting, I’ll give you that. While Ford had their cargo hauler locked, I was able to get a few impressions.

First off, my GOD the Transit looks like a hungy animal from the front. Second impression? This thing is huge.  A quick look at the frame display Ford had on the show floor appears to dash any hopes of finding a V8 under the hood of the transit for a while at least, there just isn’t any room. On the bright side it looks like engine serviceability will improve somewhat thanks to the smaller and shorter engines.

The new Transit appears to have a very low load floor for an (as labeled) 3/4 ton van. In side it also appears that Ford ripped the shifter and gauge cluster out of the current generation Focus while the infotainment options appear to come from the new Fiesta. By the looks of the screen you can bet MyFord Touch will be on offer instead of the cumbersome and awkward mini-computer system that Ford was selling in the Transit Connect for a while. Size wise the Transit appears to compete head on with the likes of the Sprinter and forthcoming RAM van.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

42 Comments on “Chicago Auto Show: Ford Transit 250...”


  • avatar
    86er

    How’s the width vis a vis (the artist formerly known as) Econoline?

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      I haven’t seen any cargo width numbers printed yet, but I’d be very surprised if it wasn’t capable of swallowing loads as large as the E-Series could between the wheel wells. Total cargo capacity has been published at 500 cubic feet, compared to 278 cubic feet on the current E-Series van.

      Engine options are set to be the 3.7 liter V6, the 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6, and a new to the US market 3.2 liter I5 diesel.

      • 0 avatar
        EquipmentJunkie

        Those cargo capacity numbers make sense. I know somebody who traded his ’06 E250 for a newer Sprinter. He said that the cargo he hauls required him to tow a trailer with the Ford. His Sprinter now takes it all and the trailer stays at home. Needless to say, he relayed the Sprinter’s abilities with a beaming smile.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        I’m sure he’ll love the Sprinter until he gets the first bill for a set of brakes all around or a fuel filter replacement.

    • 0 avatar
      56BelAire

      Are these “stand-up” height in the box?

  • avatar
    readallover

    It appears Ford has hired the stylist who designed `Hungry, Hungry Hippos`.

    • 0 avatar
      Sinistermisterman

      ^THIS. I’ve been trying to put my finger on Ford’s latest front end design trend, and for a while I was calling it ‘The Bass (fish) look’, but hungry hungry hippos is much better.

  • avatar
    CoastieLenn

    It would appear that the first interior shot shows a third pedal and the second interior pic (although a reflection is in JUST the right spot) seems to show an MTX shift boot.

    What gives? A resurgance?

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      They showed the Transit Connect that way at the Chicago show also, even though we never got it that way.

      Maybe why the interior is locked, since it won’t come that way.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    so are the GM vans the only BoF RWD diesel vans now left on the market? has anyone heard what their future will be? My fire dept uses 4500 series van chassis for our rescue trucks (ie ambulances). We started switching from E450′s to GM 4500 series several years ago (I’m assuming due to lack of diesels in the Econolines as we’d been using E450′s for several generations) and now 7/8 front line trucks are all GM’s. Obviously, our ambulances have to be body on frame, as you can’t cut off the cargo box behind the front seats on a unibody and attach a patient compartment. We’re one of the only local departments using the van bodies. Most have either gone to a larger heavier duty Inernational Truck frame (which my department won’t do because they’re too big for some of the places we have to go) or the pickup chassis route.

    How is the length on these new vans? The GM vans are ok turning wise, but something better able to get in and out of tight places is always going to be appreciated. A long van looks like it would be much more difficult to maneuver than a short kinda stubby one.

    • 0 avatar
      jco

      couldn’t you just do an F-Series chassis cab for an ambulance? I know I’ve seen both, the F-Series and E-series.. if anything you would have more engine options with the F chassis.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The T-Series vans (Transits) are going to be offered in Cab & Chassis as well as Cutaway versions from the factory so that upfitters can attach service bodies, ambulance bodies, etc, to them.

      I know the Euro versions are available in FWD, RWD, and AWD. So far the US-version has only been confirmed for RWD, but if there is demand for it I’m sure other drive configurations could be built here.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      The Sprinter, Transit new Dodge all offer chassis cab configurations. These are unibody in the sense that the body is welded to the frame, they all still have full length ladder frames.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      As Nullo said, the Ford website shows that they’ll be available as a cutaway for ambulace upfit.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The Cab and Chassis and Cutaway versions will have a separate body on frame set up according to the Ford website.

      However you can just cut the back of a unitized van off and upfit it. That is how the Sprinter is done and that is how the real Dodge van and the previous generation GM vans were done, other than the short lived GMC HD version that had a separate frame.

    • 0 avatar
      tjh8402

      thanks for the info guys. I’m not sure why we do the van instead of pickup chassis. I’ve only been with out dept for just over a year. I know we used to do pickups many years ago but switched to the vans but I don’t know the reasons. Two of the biggest Fire Depts in this area (Orlando and Orange County) use Dodge Ram 4500′s as their rescues and I like the way they look. Nice tall compartments, but with a short wheelbase and a relatively narrow side profile so I’d expect them to be pretty maneuverable. Looking inside, they still seems to have plenty of room to work in. They also kneel which is a HUGE help. I talked to an Orange County gal and all she said was that they ride a lot smoother than the International chassis which is what they were replacing and she liked them a lot better for that reason. Didn’t talk about turning radius, but then again she’d never driven one of our units to compare. Lake EMS uses F series, but we don’t run into them as often so I haven’t gotten a good look at one of their units.

      The Chevys are a lot quieter inside than the Ford E450s are as ar as wind and engine noise goes, but a lot more squeaks and rattles. They also haven’t seemed to be as reliable, with a lot more leaks and electrical issues. My biggest complaint with them vs the Fords is compartment height is much much higher. Our dept doesn’t buy the ones that kneel, and I’m 5’8 and have to hold the stretcher almost at shoulder height to get it in the Chevy, which with a larger/heavier patient necessitates getting someone else to help with loading and unloading. It’s not fun for us and not comfortable for the patient. The Fords sat down closer to waist level for me and are 1000x easier and smoother. Even though they’re slower, noisier, and drive rougher, for that reason alone I tend to prefer them.

      I think the Sprinters are more expensive and that’s been the main reason we haven’t got them. They also look a lot bigger as far as length and height goes compared to the Chevy’s, so we’d likely have some issues with maneuverability and getting them to fit in some of the tighter areas we have to park. We have 7 regular service units and at least another 3 reserve/backup units, and we have to replace them every 2.5-3 years, so it’ll be interesting to see what we go with. What may sway our decision more than anything is what our boxes will fit on. Recently, I know that they’ve been taking the patient compartments off the old rescues, refurbishing them, and putting them on the new chassis, so I’d imagine they would really like to be able to continue doing that.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Reusing the old box is common, not too far from here there is an ambulance upfitter and they often have retired units for sale sans box sitting out front. Because of this I bet that Ford will make it so they will accept the same box as used on Econolines.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I can say having driven several that the Sprinter has a RIDICULOUSLY tight turning circle for its size. Most European vehicles are like that, and having driven around Europe I see why. I would imagine the Transit is the same way.

        We have Sprinter ambulances all over the place here in Portland Maine area, but they are always the tall regular body, not widened.

      • 0 avatar
        Joe McKinney

        A Sprinter ambulance could be longer and taller than one of your current Chevy van based ambulances, but it wouldn’t be as big as one of those monsters built on the International medium-duty truck chassis.

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        capacity may be an issue as to why we didn’t go with the Sprinters and did go with Chevy’s (although doesn’t explain going type III instead of type I). The 4500 series Chevys naturally have a much higher payload and GVWR than the 3500 series sprinters. I don’t see any information on Ford or Mercedes’s sites about one and half ton model series for the Transits or Sprinters.

  • avatar
    jco

    do we know anything about engines and hauling/towing yet?

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Got to love the body in white they have on display.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    They’re going to have to lose those giant rear windows in order to sell in urban markets. No one wants the contents on display to tempt thieves.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I’m betting just like the Econoline before it and many other vans, solid rear doors will be an option on cargo versions.

      • 0 avatar
        MeaCulpa

        In Europe you could get a door hinged at the top (like a hatchback or station wagon) with glass, or, dual doors that opened 90 or 180 or 270 degrees without glass or with glass as an option. That was with the “old” transit, the new custom transit seems to have fewer options at the moment but it has just been introduced so more options should become available, the same probably holds true for the US version.

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    I suspect that a T-series passenger van will replace our current ’05 Sprinter.

  • avatar
    Tifighter

    Is the 14 Transit Connect there too? Would love to hear Alex’s astute impressions on that one.

  • avatar
    nikita

    After seeing the new Fiatsler Ram Van in a later tread, this Ford looks like a winner.

  • avatar
    86SN2001

    Well, there goes Ford again, handing yet another market to the competition.

    The Transient connect sells terrible, the ambulance market is being handed away, they handed away the police market, the livery market is now gone with the death of the Town Car.

    Way to go Ford, I guess a successful company with desirable products are just not important to you.

    • 0 avatar
      Rental Man

      @ 86SN2001 Check your numbers. Ford leads the Police cars sales.
      The new Transit connect will sell a lot, especially now when it has more versions and US factory.

      The old Ford Van will be gone and the worlds better Transit will take its place and lead the market.

      Livery market is not that hugh to be worth full model.
      I did not hear the car rental complanies up in arms for the loss of the Luxury category or the Grampa XL Full size cars.

      You did forget the Ranger. No one forgets the Ranger in the Ford rants.

      • 0 avatar
        EquipmentJunkie

        I agree. The Transit Connect sell pretty well. Ford sold 35K units in 2012 which isn’t bad for a niche vehicle. For comparison, the GMC Savannah sold 20K units and the Chevrolet Express sold 76K. By comparison, I’d say that the Transit Connect posts respectable numbers.

      • 0 avatar
        Tifighter

        FWIW, the Transit Connect will be assembled in Spain, not the US. The full-sized Transit will be US made.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yup the Interceptor Sedan outsells the Chevy and the Interceptor Utility does too. Unfortunately GM doesn’t break out their Tahoe police package which, at least around here, has been the most popular police vehicle since depts couldn’t order any more Crown Vics and they learned how crappy the Charger is at police duty.

      • 0 avatar
        jco

        what’s crappy about the Charger for police duty (honestly don’t know)? the suburban cops here seem to have replaced their Panthers with an equal mix of Chargers and Fords. but I very very rarely see any of the new RWD Chevys. don’t know why that is..

        @86SN2001 the Fords have been outselling both Dodge and GM by a wide margin for patrol fleets. CHP made the Explorer their new official vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        Joe McKinney

        Likewise Dodge does not break out Charger police car sales. Where I live all of the law enforcement agencies are replacing their CVPIs with Chargers and Tahoes. A handful of agencies have bought a small number of Caprices and Ford Taurus Interceptors for evaluation. If any of the new generation police vehicles can be considered a failure it is the Caprice. This one has been sale for close to two years now and has barely put a dent in the market.

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    Wow, you leave a van for 5 min unattended and it’s picked clean, no wonder they locked next one!

  • avatar
    Type57SC

    While it’s not spartan and that’s a good thing, the Focus IP in a commercial van is weird and gives me an impression of flimsiness.

    Also, it’s weird that this was locked up. I sat in the one they had in Detroit.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • J & J Sutherland, Canada
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India