The Next Generation Econoline? (Hopefully Yes)

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer
the next generation econoline hopefully yes

Yes, I can muster some appreciation of Econolines of yore. But the painful reality is that the current E-Series is an ugly, primitive and inefficient pig virtually unchanged since 1974. The fact that the American light truck sector hasn’t had the same revolution that European design influences have had on passenger cars is a mystery. Case in point: Ford’s Transit (not Connect) vans are a (several, actually) giant development leap ahead of the Econoline, offering FWD, RWD and AWD variants in three wheelbase lengths, numerous configurations, and driven by the most advanced diesels that can get well over 20 mpg. The Transit outsells Mercedes Sprinter in Europe. What the hell is Ford waiting for?

The remarkable flexibility of the Transit platform is demonstrated above. For a more in-depth look at the Transit, head over to the UK site here. And of course, there are passenger van versions as well.

Perhaps the cleverest aspect is the Transit’s drive train options: FWD, RWD or AWD are available, depending on your need or mood. The FWD versions offer a lower load floor for easy package delivery. The heavier rated versions naturally come in RWD. And the DuraTorque direct injection engines come in four and five cylinder versions, up to 200 hp and 470 Nm of torque. Plenty of power for towing too.

The mini-buses come with up to 17 passenger capacity.

A stubby six-speed falls right to hand. Looks like the Transit offers a somewhat more engaging driving experience to boot! Of course, automatics are available too.

And why not just ditch the F-Series too, and switch it all over to the versatile Transit platform? Oh, the whole macho high-riding American cowboy image would suffer, and our male population’s collective testosterone level would fall to that of those sissy Europeans. Can’t have that. Is that a woman on that job site? That explains it all; this is a girly truck.

No, unless it has a hood at least an acre large and a grille the size and boldness of an old Kenworth, Americans aren’t going to touch these girly toy trucks. Oh well; I guess Ford figured that out a while back. We love our Econolines!

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  • Pete Zaitcev Pete Zaitcev on Sep 27, 2010

    The case of Sprinter is really something to be studied here, I think. It was nowhere near tough for the conditions when it arrived in America and it took a substantial redesign to bring it into shape (mostly under the skin). And after all said it was too expensive throughout.

    • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Sep 28, 2010

      And I'd still own one of those before the domestic vans I've driven long distances here. I'll pay a little more for the quality. Any idea of whether the chicken tax is applied to the Sprinter vans? Couldn't costs be cut by actually producing them here? (if they aren't)

  • Bill Safreed Bill Safreed on Sep 29, 2010

    I like the look of the crew cab version!

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