By on September 11, 2015

fordtransit01-1346892939 (1)

Wake up, ladies and gentlemen, and listen to the happy news: we are in an automotive renaissance. The kind of renaissance that comes around but once every decade or two; the kind that’s accompanied by new designs and new powertrains and new features and new competition.

I am referring, of course, to the cargo van renaissance.

I’m not sure if you’ve realized it, but that’s exactly what’s going on around us: a renaissance of cargo vans. An explosion of new models, and new segments, and new powertrains, and new features, and new designs. When we look back years from now, we will all agree that the cargo van segment was forever changed by the years 2014 and 2015.

We weren’t always in a cargo van renaissance. When I was a kid, there were three cargo vans on the market: the Chevy cargo van, the Ford cargo van, and the Dodge Ram Van. At some point, the Chevy and Ford got a name, but they never really changed all that much. I mean, yeah, sure, they may have been “redesigned,” but they were still the same ol’ vans with the same ol’ layout and the same ol’ crappy engines and the same ol’ stereo with four radio station presets.

sprinter2

The biggest news in the cargo van world from approximately 1988 until 2013 was the arrival of the Dodge Sprinter, which replaced the Ram Van in the 2000s. And I admit, “big news” is an apt way to describe it: we were finally getting a tall-roofed, diesel-powered, Euro-style van. But it was not a renaissance, because nothing else happened after that. Ford kept selling the E-Series, and Chevy kept selling the Express, and that was that. Plus, the Sprinter was a little too expensive to really turn the cargo van world on its head.

2012 Ford Transit Connect, Exterior, front 3/4 view, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

The renaissance started to heat up when Ford brought us the Transit Connect in 2010. At first, we thought it was just an outlier: a single Turkish-built van that was bringing new life to the cargo van segment.

But Nissan inexplicably joined the fray, which struck me as odd because the cargo van segment must be tremendously unprofitable, in the sense that every single sale is to a government fleet or a rental car company who beats you up on price and asks things like: “Are you sure we can’t get one without a radio?”

2014 Nissan NV200 cargo front

Yet Nissan was steadfast. Not only did they come with a full-size cargo van, the NV, but they later debuted a smaller one called the NV200. I’ve never really understood why these models share only part of their name, but this is Nissan, the company who brought us the Murano CrossCabriolet, so I’ve learned not to question it.

And then the vans started flying in from everywhere. Ford came out with a new Transit Connect. Chrysler debuted a version of the FIAT Ducato called the RAM ProMaster. Then the smaller RAM ProMaster City came out. Then the new Ford Transit. Then General Motors even got involved by taking a badge-engineered version of the Nissan NV200 and calling it the City Express. In merely two years, the segment was completely on fire.

So what the hell happened?

Well, I’m not entirely sure. I think several automakers, Ford in particular, wanted to make sure they had a viable, decent alternative in every single segment, so they figured: Why not cargo vans, too? And then once Ford had some cool cargo vans, everyone wanted some cool cargo vans, and by God FIAT wasn’t exactly starved for them, so now we have about five different brand new cargo vans to choose from.

For those of you who think I’m overstating this renaissance, allow me to provide some facts: the Dodge Ram Van was sold in three generations that lasted from 1971 to 2003. That’s right: three generations. Thirty-two years. The current Ford E-Series, which Ford claims was redesigned in 2008 even though they only changed the lights, came out in 1991. And the Chevrolet Express has been in production, largely unchanged, since 1996.

In other words: the average lifespan of one of these vans is fifteen years. And yet we’ve seen seven new vans in the last three model years. If you are the kind of person who gets excited about commercial vehicles, this probably makes you very, very happy. Or perhaps very, very anxious when you’re trying to decide how best to spend your company’s money. Unfortunately, you still can’t get any of them without a radio.

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169 Comments on “We’re In a Cargo Van Renaissance...”


  • avatar
    gasser

    How do fleet managers rate these new entries as far as gas mileage and durability??? Any clear winner or loser yet??

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Well the Sprinters are losers. They are expensive vans that break often and rust.

      • 0 avatar
        pbr

        interestingly the Sprinter shows up on Steve Lang’s “Best and Worst Trade-In Quality — Top 10 Quality Index Rating” list …

        http://www.tradeinqualityindex.com/QualityIndexRating.html

        Just connecting two threads in space here. I have a bit of big van lust, but not buying a Sprinter til I win the lottery and can pay someone to work on it without thinking twice. I’ve wanted one ever since I saw the first one … I was driving on the A81 outside Stuttgart at about 180km/h, and a Sprinter (or whatever M-B call it there) blew past like I was tied to a tree.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          They are cool vans. I really like the custom versions.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Currently in Australia counting the European and Asian vans,, we have fo
            Threethat are large Sprinter Van sized, Sprinter, Renault and iVECO.. slightly smaller Transit, Opel, Citroen, Nissan, Fiat Ducato,, Renault ,Hyundai and Toyota. Then the Mini Vans

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Sprinter vans would rust in the Arizona desert in the middle of a drought.

        Their propensity to get cancer makes a ’78 Honda Civic look durable in comparison.

      • 0 avatar
        rbg

        We bought a used sprinter with an MB diesel from a seller in NC. It was an 06, with relatively low miles (well under 100k). It was set up with a generator and roof air, which we needed for dog rescue transports. The vehicle seemed decent, so we did the deal through email, I flew out there from WI with a check from our bank, and after a night time visual once over and a drive around the airport parking lot, I was on my way home. About 15 minutes later, cruising along at 70 mph, I discovered there was no cruise control. That was the first chapter in the love/ hate relationship I had with that vehicle. It was a VERY long drive with no cruise. While the mileage was excellent, 22-27mpg at 70-75 mph, any savings were eaten up when it needed service. In the 50k miles we put on it over next 2 years, we put tires, brakes, bearings, some sort of turbo actuator thingamajig, glow plugs,a head gasket, and some other odds and ends, all of which were expensive. Our non-profit 501c3 was lucky to have a mechanic that donated a couple thousand dollars in parts and labor, or it would’ve been worse. Despite all that, the motor had gobs of torque, and was generally reliable. When we sold it, it was in pretty good shape, mechanically. The biggest gripe I had was the crappy job that had it sprouting rust spots everywhere, even though it was a southern car. 1 winter up here was harder on the paint than other cars I’ve owned for 10 years in WI. We were touching up the paint constantly. We replaced it with a 2013 GMC savana 1 ton box truck that was donated. It too, had a generator and roof air, along with vastly improved road manners and a 6.0 gas motor. Oh, and cruise. It gets 10-12 mpg, but repairs have been non existent, and oil changes are cheap.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @rbg
          Rust is not a problem with Sprinters here. Could it bee something to do with the ” rebuild” before they are sold in the U.S.?

        • 0 avatar
          dolorean

          @rpg,
          I believe you may have answered the author’s observation, “…because the cargo van segment must be tremendously unprofitable (why would automakers want to corner this market?)…” It’s in the servicing.

          A gummint or commercial fleet would be gleefully serviced by manufacturer granted technicians and parts and as you have pointed out, the servicing of these vans can be quite expensive; especially when they are essentially gussied down Mercs needing parts from the Old World.

          Incidentally, cruise control is usually a dealer option and can be added without much hassle or price. I had CC added to several cars over the years to include a ’97 Saturn SL and a ’99 Opel Astra.

    • 0 avatar
      BDT

      My company upfits commercial vans. The Ford Transit 3.7 V6 is the runaway winner in mileage and durability for the full size vans.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        Has it been out a year yet? Seems a bit early to say it’s the most durable.

        I always found it amazing how poorly built the old generation of cargo vans were. For all the talk of Sprinter rust, any Ford or Chevy van had flaking paint within months of going into service. Even brand new ones had whiny diffs and poor tolerances (no doubt from worn-out tooling after decades-long model runs).

        Let’s hope the new ones use more modern production techniques. I know Ford put-out a press release about the paint shop they built for the Transit.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Lots of experience with this Transit in the Euro market.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          The Ford and Chevy vans rusted, but nothing like I see on the Sprinters.

          • 0 avatar
            BDT

            The Sprinters are horrible for rust.

            @heavy handle: The 3.7 is a proven commodity in the Mustang and F-150. No worries there.

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          I agree, the Fords are too green to rate for durability.

          The high end conversion companies like Roadtrek use the Sprinter and even the Promaster along w/ older proven Chevy vans.

          The rust issue w/ the Sprinter is gone. The Promaster has the Pentastar which equals or exceeds the Ford motor.

          If the Fords do somehow prove durable, expect high end companies like Roadtrek to start using them.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            ” The Promaster has the Pentastar which equals or exceeds the Ford motor.”

            Exceeds the BASE engine by like 5 hp or something.

            How about the EcoBoost? Does it equal or succeed that “motor”?

            Well lets examine the ProFailure’s optional engine that delivers V-8 like acceleration with the same EPA MPG as the base engine (like EcoBoost). Oh. There isnt one.

            Ok, how about Diesels? The ones bought for high torque and excellent towing. The Transit’s 5 cylinder PowerStroke kills the 4 cyl ProFailure in every measure of strength, towing, payload, etc. If youre buying a diesel to work harder, the Transit is the clear winner.

            Transit offers more payload and towing than the RAMFIAT.

            The ProFailure is awkward to see out of, and the dash is annoyingly shaped. Ive heard people say they feel as though theyre about to tip forward and fall out of the van. Pretty apt description. The thing sure feels a lot more tippy and less stable than the Transit. Reviewers complained they cannot see a red light while stopped at it.

            ” If the Fords do somehow prove durable,”
            The 3.7L has “somehow” proven very reliable, its been built for several years in different applications with no major issues. The same is true of the 3.5L EcoBoost. The diesel has also been used for years in Europe, again, no major problems.

            The Transit is already the best selling van, get used to it. Ford’s dominance in this segment will likely continue for a long, long time.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            *exceed not succeed.

            I do not have permission to edit.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @thornmark,
            The GCVWR of the Transir seems pretty low for a Class C

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            While I agree that it’s to early to tell ho the Transit will hold up, it can’t be any worse than a Sprinter. The junkpile V6 and overstressed 4 diesels are just not up to the job. My old dealer started stocking a version of each because they were being changed out so much. We had a Sprinter RV with the 4 cylinder that blew up on it’s maiden voyage at about 3500 miles.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @MBella
            Sprinter does not have major issues here, but the older Transit was not as capable

          • 0 avatar
            thornmark

            Re: JTaurus

            C&D tested the Ford. The interested thing is they reveal the EPA is not reliable because both sixes get the same rating:
            “Even better, it does so without sapping even a single mpg of EPA-rated fuel-efficiency: both V-6s achieve 14/19 city/highway ratings, some 19 percent better than the E-series’ base V-8 and a huge 46 percent better than the V-10.”
            http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2015-ford-transit-first-drive-review

            From another forum:

            “IDK about the “Eco”-boost in this application. When towing in F-150s, gas mileage sucks big time as the turbos have to spool up to keep the truck/trailer moving….I can see the same thing happening here.”

            The Transit can haul and tow more weight than the ProMaster, but the front drive of the latter make it more space efficient. I also suspect the Ecoboost will not get anywhere near the EPA rating as has been observed in other Ecoboost applications.

      • 0 avatar
        DevilsRotary86

        I rented a Transit 3.7 from UHaul a few months ago to move a couch. I liked that engine a lot. It really seemed to love to wind up. I know its not the characteristic of a traditional truck motor but I love engines that make torque way up high on the tachometer, and the 3.7 never seemed to run out of breath.

        As for the van itself, it had a nice seating position. And I really liked the short hood and sloped windshield. If I had to buy a truck for some reason I would definitely look at it.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        You rebuild it in the U.S. , not here. Nothing touched from Factory, rust not an issue

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      BBall,
      Presumably they will hang onto the cutaway version till 2020,then the T450 will replace it

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @Jeff S.
      Definitely must have been on their mind. Also FCA has done the same with a Jeep Pickup and MiniPickup rumours floating around

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @Jeff S
      Look at Sherry and Explorer Vans who doing up market versions of the Promaster. Mostly Canadian companies are doing Van Conversions. The Transit has not been used a base for a Van Conversion by any of the companies.
      Some examples : Roadtrek, PleasureAway almost defunct Great West Vans and a U.S. example Winnebago

  • avatar
    Verbal

    Van-tastic!

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    None of them are new. They are just the same decent vans these automakers have been selling in the rest of the world for ages, instead of the pickup truck-based crap they have always sold in the US.

    I’ll be impressed when they start replacing pickup trucks for all the jobs that are done by pickups in the US but are really better suited to being done by vans as in most of the rest of the world. Americans can be slow learners, but they do learn eventually. Sometimes.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      No. The Transit is all new. So is the Transit Connect. They aren’t new ideas, but they are both brand new products. Both are much better than the previous versions. The Transit, in particular, strongly benefitted from engineering resources in Dearborn.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        bball,
        The Transit isn’t all new. Like the US Colorado it is an Amercianised version of the Ford’s Euro van.

        The biggest difference is the engine/drivetrain. Other than that not much in them.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          The Transit was new everywhere in 2013+. It can trace it’s roots to previous versions, just like all cars/trucks, but it was a new model. The American version had some delays and began production in 2014. The whole project was led by Ford Europe but Ford North America had significant involvement and improved the structure as well as it’s NVH qualities. This Transit is better than the Transit that Europe had in the past.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            bball,
            Actually the Transit was designed in the UK. The German’s actually had more input than Dearborn.

            How the Transit was modified for the US market was a simple engineering exercise.

            Vans were brought over from the UK to Detroit, then modified with drivetrains to see how they performed.

            They performed so well that not much was required. Suspension and some design detail was altered during the process and changes made to better suit the slightly different way in which the manufacturing plants operate between the two countries.

            This comment is inaccurate;
            “The Transit, in particular, strongly benefitted from engineering resources in Dearborn.”

            It is an over statement. Detroit did some work, ie, suspension tuning and grille design, etc. but nothing much that is used in the global Transits.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The last generation of van was brought over from the UK and tested by high mileage users. That was also helpful in the process as some E-Series customers put obscene mileage on their vans. What Ford learned from that was incorporated into the 2013 Transit.

            The comment is not inaccurate. I know people in Dearborn that worked on the Transit for awhile, most notably in the NVH area. Others fixed issues related to the delays in production.

    • 0 avatar
      Drew8MR

      Considering you can’t really buy a bare bones work truck anymore, it’s moving that way already. Alot of guys here in SoCal have moved into vans and are using trailers for when you need to wheelbarrow stuff. Have you tried running a full wheelbarrow of river rock up into a new pickup? It’s a fucking joke frankly.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        You cant buy an F-150 or Super Duty in XL trim with vinyl seats, rubber floors, crank windows, steel wheels? Bullshit.

        Yes, you can. I see them all the time. Same with GM and Ram trucks. Go build one online, youll see they do make basic work trucks. Dont give me the “cant really buy” crap. If you wanted one, go buy it, its there.

        Like people saying “you cant really buy a wagon” when you absolutely can. Just because theyre not as popular and you dont see them as often does not mean its not offered by anyone. VW and Subaru offer plenty of mainstream wagons. American trucks offer basic trims with AM/FM and not much else.

      • 0 avatar

        base F150 is like $27k sticker, and the Transit starts at $32k….

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The old American vans were worse than that. They weren’t just “pickup-based”… they were based on pickups three to four generations old. Cheap to buy, and the powertrains were pretty durable, but everything else about them was (is, in the case of the Express) horrible.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Many jobs are better served with pickups, regardless of Europeans and their high use of vans. That hardly means Euros are smarter. They’re even slower learners, as we’ve had a healthy dose of pickups and vans. Pickups are like a big shopping cart, as you go about your work day, without having to stoop over and crawl around stuff to get at tools and materials.

      Vans are a pain in the ass sometimes. Other times useless for what you need to do, so you end up renting a pickup anyway.

      Neither are perfect, but pickups won out here for a reason.

      • 0 avatar
        Yesac13

        Have you walked into a new Ford Transit with a medium roof?

        Over 6 feet headroom! The high roof is right at 6’8″ but costs significantly more than the medium roof. Most Ford Transits I see have the medium roof – I don’t see the low roof version that often. The cargo floor is only 2 feet or so from the ground – easy to step into! Go and take a close look. I was in awe. So much better than pickups. I think we are at peak pickup truck right now – these new vans are so much more usable than the pickups right now. I think some of the new aluminum Ford truck sales softness was caused by the Transit.

        If Ford sold 4×4 versions of the Transit, I’m all over it. I’m tired of trucks with a cargo floor about stomach height. I tow boats so I had to have the truck. Ford, please make me a 4×4 Transit and I’ll buy it with a 4.10 axle and the 3.7 (I don’t trust the Ecoboost which is available). There are rear wheel drive versions like this that tows 6000 LBS which is enough for my needs.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          The 4×4 may eventually happen, but for now, you’d have to get a Quigley conversion.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            bball,
            I do see AWD as an alternative, but a true 4×4 in these vans no. An after market company might be able to modify to that extent.

            Pickups nowadays, since Toyota in particular with the Hilux in the mid 80s are designed with the view of them being 4×4 on conception.

            Vans are not designed with this philosophy.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            You are right. I meant AWD. There have been AWD versions in the past (and Europe still has one). The only 4×4 you will see is from Quigley, or whoever else makes one.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          It depends on what you do the most, to say it’s “more useable”. Having the floor at belt level is perfect, especially when dealing with heavy and bulky equipment and such. Often the tailgate is just the perfect thing for a workbench, having a sit with a cool beverage or lunch, or laying out the blueprints. Other times I’d have to have to go inside the van to grab stuff, when in a pickup bed, you just reach over.

          Pickups aren’t perfect for every job, but for most, they do more things better.

          I’d wait too, since the North America basically demands 4wd, they’ll have to come on line with those.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            You must have passed up a career in the NBA if you can easily reach over bed sides of current 4×4 full-sizers. I’m 5’10” and they’re at high chest/low neck level for me. They’ve gotten so high for macho posturing reasons that they suck for actual work.

      • 0 avatar
        Slow_Joe_Crow

        Even pickups can be better. The last few generations of American pickups have had absurdly high bed sides and cargo floors which makes a lot of classic pickup tasks harder. The European “pickup” which is a dropside flatbed on a van chassis is actually more useful for work since the bed height is lower and all 3 sides fold down for easy access. in the US, Home Depot’s rental trucks and Sprinters often have this setup and I have even seen RV cutaway Econolines with rear cab walls and truck beds.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I see very few jobs were you actually need an open bed. Most of the time, it is a liability. You can’t lock it, so stuff gets stolen. You can’t put people in it when needed, so you need a giant cab that adds to the unwieldiness of the vehicle. Where I live the weather sucks more than 1/2 the year, so whatever is in the bed is going to get wet/frozen. The load height is ridiculous compared to a European style walk-in van. Simply a better solution unless you are a forest ranger or some such, and most of them drive SUVs these days.

        It was amazing here when the Transit Connect came out – literally overnight most of the tradesmen who had US vans bought TCs.

        • 0 avatar
          bill h.

          And not just tradesmen–we got the Transit Connect “Wagon” (ie a people mover version of the cargo van) because the step-in height was perfect for our 80+ year old parents, who couldn’t so easily get into traditional height SUVs or even the standard minivans. The tall door height is also a plus, since they can’t bend their bodies so easily either. For us, a totally different use for these vans vs. toting around the kids 20 years ago.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            The Ford/Kia dealer where I’ve been waiting for “unminivans” just began using an LWB Transit Connect Wagon as their courtesy vehicle, replacing an older Flex.

            It’s a dark blue XLT and simply knocked me out. Haven’t wanted anything so badly since Gen-1 Troopers and boxy Volvo wagons but back then I couldn’t afford such.

            It’s just such a tight, integrated & handsome package… I have this coming Monday off and will test drive a silver one (yuk) they have on the lot.

            My first impression of the blue one was “God has sent me a tall station wagon.”

        • 0 avatar
          Drew8MR

          Don’t carry alot of small, gas powered tools I see. Cram a few mowers,blowers,edgers,trimmers and a can of gas and a can of premix into a closed van here in SoCal and you’ll see why sometimes a truck is better.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          The only place I see vans having a big advantage over pickups are in urban environments on good roads. The lack of 4×4 isn’t a liability and as you described, the ability to lock the doors is an advantage.

          With that being said, pickups have the option of slide in work bodies, utility caps, cargo racks etc. That means a pickup can easily be reconfigured for various jobs.

          http://www.kargomaster.com/wp-content/themes/shopperpress/thumbs/tr-pro-III-KS-ext-cab.jpg

          http://blogsdir.cms.rrcdn.com/37/files/2010/12/9-LW_10_05187.jpg

          http://www.lightningequipment.on.ca/brandfx1.jpg

          I have always preferred pickups because of the ease of changing configurations.

          Another factor is the interchange of accessories. That reduces costs. I had a cap that was on 2 of my dad’s pickup’s and one of mine. My tool box has been in every truck I’ve owned in the last 30 odd years. My brother has swapped out his tool box in every company truck he has ever had.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Lou_BC
            The ” Work Vans”‘ I saw in Europe were either enclosed Vans or these with service bodies
            https://www.polcar.com.au/photos/o_197fvoia813ig179n1ktd1e821f72b.jpg
            In this case it looks like it was used by a Ladies Sanitary Company in Australia!
            Seeing HD Pickups are extremely rare in Australia, these and Japanese /European Trucks replace HD Pickup Trucks that would be common in North America

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            RobertRyan – You pic is what I tend to see here. We don’t use chassis cab vans for flat decks. They tend to have some sort of large van body or utility box.
            Vans here are the domain of HVAC companies, plumbers, and electricians. They all have similar things in common, lots of little bits that need to be stored in racks.

      • 0 avatar
        Duaney

        If I could only own one vehicle, it would be my van. Honestly the most useful vehicle created. And it will do almost anything my pickup truck will do.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @Lou_BC,
          They are used as busses , Armoured Bank vehicles and flat beds here. In Europe, I saw them pulling articulated trailers, which maybe me look twice.
          Must admit having work crew in Vans, working on the roads in Europe, was to me very unusual. Als the Cab Chassis variants being used as tow and break down vehicles was unusual as well.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            This would make you look twice
            http://heavycherry.com/imgs/a/c/y/a/f/iveco__daily_40c13_be_trailer__cooling__tail_lift_2004_1_lgw.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      None are new? The names may have been used before, but the Sprinter was just redesigned, and the Transit Connect was fully redesigned as well.

      Transit was fully redesigned (from the previous Euro-generation) with input from both North American and European operations. Its being built in the US for the first time and has two exclusive powertrains to our market. Seems pretty new to me.

      I appreciate that youre trying to be cynical with the “same old vans” crap, but some really are new. And the ones that arent all new are at least new to our market.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        They are just new models of something that has been available in the rest of the world for decades. Nothing remotely revolutionary, other than to parochial Americans.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Pickups are preferred by the trades for their versatility. You don’t exactly know what you’ll be getting into during the work day, or while you own it. You know that a pickup can handle it all. Muddy/flooded road to get there? With a van, do you want to lose the job to a competitor that can actually show up??

          Many trade take the day off anyway when it rains/snows. Stolen tools aren’t really an issue, since you’re not really leaving the truck far away when you drive out for materials or lunch. The really expensive tools get locked in the cab. What ever risk, is worth it.

          Reaching over the sides is a non issue. You’re dealing with easily reached bulky items and buckets/containers with handles. Small items on the bed floor would need extra agility, but they’re in containers or on the floor of the cab.

          Vans aren’t exactly new to the North America. We’ve had them at least as long as Europe, or longer.

          Europeans have yet to “learn” of the versatility of pickups. Work, play, family hauler, holiday, etc, etc. Heck, let them keep suffering with vans and vans alone.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Both sides: Please stop arguing about something that isn’t worth making enemies over. Both vans and pickups have their advantages and disadvantages. There’s no need to keep acting like one or the other is perfect just for the sake of feeling superior on the Internet.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            The Euro car sympathizers/snobs know who they are, and are convinced they know better over there in Europe, than dumb Americans.

            I’m the 1st one to agree pickups aren’t “perfect” for everything, but I’ll also counter the Euro High-horse attitude any day.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    My want for a Transit is strong.

    • 0 avatar
      BDT

      Get a low roof with an EcoBoost. Those suckers haul tail…and…you know…stuff.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        It’s the cheapest way to get a Ford vehicle with the Ecoboost V6.

        I’ve had a few different versions over the last month or so. Everything from a low roof 3.7L from Home Depot to a medium roof 3.2 Diesel version. They are very useful vehicles. I would like one instead of a truck.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          3.7 ecobost, full conversion. Then put the giant loud 70s style “TURBO” on each side.

          Pure class.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Low power rating, though. The engine seems to be a bit strangled by space constraints.

          Also pretty heavy. Ford’s fleet site quotes a curb weight of 5100 lbs. for the low-roof, short-wheelbase EcoBoost version. A basic EcoBoost F-150 is actually lighter, and a lot more powerful.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            But the van is awesomer.

          • 0 avatar

            310HP and 400TQ isn’t low, it’s just lower than in the F150 (365 and 420). The F150 is a half ton lighter though.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Low for this engine, which makes 355 or more horsepower in every other one of the multitude of applications Ford’s given it.

          • 0 avatar
            derekson

            I doubt the lower power rating has anything to do with space constraints. It’s likely just a more conservative tune aimed at commercial/fleet duty and increased durability. It’s the same reason you see lower power ratings from gas engines in HD trucks vs 1/2 tons, and lower ratings on the same engines in an F550 vs an F350.

  • avatar
    craiger

    Kidnappers rejoice

    • 0 avatar
      I've got a Jaaaaag

      With the exception of the Sprinter, none of them are old and rusty enough to become kidnappers vans yet, give it 5-7 more years.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        The Sprinter is rusty enough to be a kidnapper van within the first year of ownership in the rust belt. I see examples with surface rust in the middle of panels. They must not like paint at MB’s commercial division.

  • avatar
    55_wrench

    Ford might have used the first TC to test the waters, and the time was certainly ripe for some innovation. 20-30 year old platforms were desperately in of replacement.

    What we’re seeing now is a much improved series of chassis from multiple sources, with tall roofs and efficient powertrains with an eye towards a good amount of sales getting generated from the RV business.

    With the exception of the Sprinter, it looks like a win all around.

  • avatar
    theguyinthemustang

    Not only is there a renaissance of cargo vans in the United States, but there is also a renaissance of conversion vans!

    Companies like Sherry Vans and Explorer Vans are making some of the nicest conversion vans ever.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    What I think happened is that once Ford broke the mold among the domestics by offering what was already selling in the rest of the world it was as if the dam broke. YES it is OK to “innovate” in a tired old segment!

  • avatar
    Chan

    Does the FWD Fiat Ducato / RAM ProMaster really have a lower load floor than its RWD competition? I remember that being advertised as a big deal, but when I see them on the road they are no lower than other Euro-style cargo vans.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s a few inches lower once the doors open compared to the others. I haven’t driven one but I had a guy try to trade one in to me. He said when he loaded it up, it has some pretty severe under-steer.

  • avatar
    GermanReliabilityMyth

    I’ve always had a fondness for the Nissan NV3500. For some reason, it reminds me of an oversized, beefy Volvo 245 wagon.

    http://i.ytimg.com/vi/Ag20xJhc–Y/maxresdefault.jpg

  • avatar
    philadlj

    It’s even crazier for Ford in the UK, where they sell ELEVEN distinct passenger and cargo vans:

    B-Max
    C-Max
    S-Max
    Galaxy
    Fiesta Van
    Transit Courier
    Transit Connect
    Tourneo Connect
    Transit Custom
    Tourneo Custom
    Transit

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Eh, that depends on your definition of “van.” Sliding doors or no, the B-C-S-Max are all MPVs, and the “Fiesta Van” is a two-door Fiesta with no back windows.

  • avatar
    dwford

    All the new vans are nice, but one question: Why are they all sooooo ugly???

  • avatar
    NN

    Timely…I just took delivery of a 2014 Ford Transit Connect this week. And I don’t have a mobile pet cremation service. I do have a surfboard business, but 95% of the use is as a regular minivan for my family (we got the 7 passenger long wheelbase version). I’ll write a review for it here after some more time behind the wheel–but I dig it.

  • avatar
    TrenchFoot

    I feel like an alien sometimes because I chose a Chevy Express AWD 1500 as my family hauler/tow vehicle. Due to high resale values on 4 door trucks, the full size van made sense. In hindsight I couldn’t be happier because a van is so much more versatile than a truck.

    Unfortunately, most newer vans have too low of ground clearance and FWD powertrains to tackle the forest service roads I take my van on.

    But most suburban dads wouldn’t be caught dead in a full size van, so I’ll continue being the oddball.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    It is amazing what a new lineup of vehicles can do for a segment.

    This is even evident with the US renaissance with the midsize pickups. The product offered must be of quality and competitive.

    Ford’s best move in the commercial vehicle segment was the introduction of the Americanised large Euro Transit.

    In a way it has been more successful than the aluminium pickup. The Transit is improving Ford’s position with vans and the Transit is made from steel how odd.

    I do hope Ford introduces the cab chassis variant of the Transit. Imagine a HD with the 3.2 diesel. It will work and work well and most likely be cheaper than a alternative HD pickup.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      There is a cutaway and chassis cab Transit in the US. The 3.2 Diesel is available. They don’t have a comparable GVWR as the HD chassis cab trucks or E-series cutaway. Ford may need a more HD version in the future.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        bball,
        A cutaway intent and purpose is different than offering a dual cab or single cab, with a chassis.

        A cab chassis will offer the opportunity to drop a tray/flat bed or specialised body on the back.

        The Transit would then offer a truck with dual cab and 8′ bed the size of a 1/2 ton full size, or a single cab a 12′ bed.

        Somehow I don’t think Ford would do this as it will impact some HD numbers. Sort of like not introducing the global Ranger.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          There is a chassis cab (not a cutaway) in the US already. One of those with a drop-side bed seems to me like a far more practical work vehicle than a current pickup as long as what you’re doing is within its weight limits, because of the drop sides and low bed height.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            There is a cutaway.

            http://www.brondesfordtoledo.com/New-2015-Ford-Transit-250-Cutaway-Toledo-OH/vd/24472544

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            dal20402,
            Thanks. I did see images for the US Transit that included cab chassis variants.

            I think you’ll find the payloads would be similar to a HD 250-2500/350-3500.

            But I think the tow limits are much lower, around a full size half ton.

            I wouldn’t buy a Transit as a SUV/car alternative like you would with a pickup, but I do think the Transits would do okay with business.

            Ford has done well with the Transits. Good vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            They still need a more HD Transit if they are fully replacing the E-Series. The top E-Series cutaway has a 9000 lbs payload rating while the top Transit cutaway has an under 6000 lbs rating.

          • 0 avatar
            EquipmentJunkie

            We just got a 250 Transit with the 3.2 PowerStroke and an Eby 10′ drop-side aluminum bed. I call it the 250XD (eXtra Dorky) since its proportions take some getting used to. I put 2K on it a couple of weeks ago. So far, I love driving it. The engine & automatic work better together than any other truck I’ve driven…but would still take a manual if it was an option. We needed the cargo length but only about 2,500-lbs. maximum payload. The Transit fit those needs perfectly.

            The question is, will we replace our ’05 Sprinter window van with a Transit? I can tell you that we are fed up with repainting the Merc only to have rust reappear within 18 mo. The transmission rebuild and air conditioner repairs weren’t welcome either in its 155K…but, man, that van can handle!

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “We just got a 250 Transit with the 3.2 PowerStroke and an Eby 10′ drop-side aluminum bed.”

            Like this but with shorter bed?

            http://tinyurl.com/oh3b4bb

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @dal204
            They are the ” Pickup Trucks” of Europe, going from a 2,300lb to 10,000lb payload and a Maximum Towing capacity of roughly 8,000lb

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            EquipmentJunkie,
            I the 3.2 Duratorq in my pickup. It’s no rocketship, but it more than keeps up with the traffic. I have a 6sp manual and it’s great, you only need to sort shift at around 2000 to 2200rpm for normal driving.

            My average fuel economy on my trip computer is showing 9.1 litres per 100km or I think around 26mpg US, that average, not highway.

            I have pulled a 22′ boat on a tandem wheel trailer with around 1 500lbs in the bed, even some of the driving was on a 4×4 track for 30-40km and the engine does very well under load and the BF T/As do wonders off road, but are uncomfortable on road.

            I was able to tow at 130kph with little effort on the highway. I think the boat and trailer would of weighed around 6 000lbs.

            The 3.2 should be used in the new aluminium F-150 over the Lion V6 diesel. The 3.2 is a truck engine.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          They already offer a cab chassis.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          BiGal from Oz – flat deck vans in North America have minimal appeal. The only ones I see are old beaters that were salvaged cargo vans with wrecked boxes.

          No point…… ever!

          Chassis cab vans have always existed here solely for upfitters doing EMS/Rescue conversions, Class C motorhomes or other assorted add on units.

          I shouldn’t ask but WTF….

          How are Eurovans taking over an aged outdated market in any way a sign of success over an aluminum pickup?

          “I do hope Ford introduces the cab chassis variant of the Transit.Imagine a HD with the 3.2 diesel. It will work and work well and most likely be cheaper than a alternative HD pickup.”

          Okay….. A HD Transit 3.2 as an alterntive to a HD work pickup….. imagining…… imagining………imagining…..

          Ha Ha HA Ha Ha Ha Ha HA Ha Ha Ha Ha HA Ha Ha Ha Ha HA Ha Ha Ha Ha HA Ha Ha Ha Ha HA Ha Ha Ha Ha HA Ha Ha Ha Ha HA Ha Ha Ha Ha HA Ha Ha Ha Ha HA Ha Ha Ha Ha HA Ha Ha Ha Ha HA Ha Ha

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            There are several vans in my neck of the woods (and this is a rural area, BTW) that are cutaway vans with a sort-of flatbed/service body on the back that look to be worked just as hard as any Super Duty.

            #shotsfired

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            What’s the difference? Bi Gal from OZ told us Ford is going out of business soon because of the aluminum wonder truck and probably about to be bought out by Yugo, or something to the effect.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            “There are several vans in my neck of the woods (and this is a rural area, BTW) that are cutaway vans with a sort-of flatbed/service body on the back that look to be worke”

            Pretty well what you see in Europe, lots of them trying to find anything with a Pickup body, near nye impossible

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Dr Zhivago
            This is what they morph into in Europe, plus a vast number of other combinations
            http://onlytruecars.com/data_images/gallery/02/iveco-recovery-truck/iveco-recovery-truck-07.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Lou_BC
            Big Al from OZ , does have a point. They, not the Transit though ,replaced HD US Pickups here.
            F250’s used as Ambulances, replaced by Sprinters. Or F250’s used as tow rigs for 5th Wheelers, replaced by the IVECO Daily.
            Other Appilications replaced by Japanese or European Trucks

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            @DenverMike: I still don’t understand why you and Big Al (and that’s how it’s actually parsed, BTW) insist on acting immaturely around each other. He didn’t say that. The way you two snipe at each other is tiring, to say the least. And it brings the whole community down.

            Just…live and let live, okay? Both of you. Everybody. Come over to my place and have a beer, or whatever you want to drink. Work out any problems you might have in real life instead of whining over the Internet.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Drzhivago318,
            I hardly respond to many of DiMs comments. I don’t know if you haven’t noticed.

            Even Lou_BC takes my comments out of context as well, as illustrated above.

            It’s a pity.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Why do you spell it “DiM”? There’s no i between Denver and Mike.

            And I don’t care if it’s DenverMike, or Lou_BC, or you or me, or whoever. Everyone just needs to stop acting like they’re the only one who can be right and everyone else is dumber than a bag of hammers. The collective intelligence of the B&B is equal to the minds of NASA, but the collective ego is like a bunch of ten-year-olds on the playground. My offer for everyone to come to my place for a bonfire and just chill out still stands.

            (Also, it’s really hard to tell who’s responding to who sometimes, especially since the Reply button ends after 4 nests.)

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Drzhivago138 –
            Are you talking about off the dealership new or as I described earlier – hacked up beaters?
            I don’t see anyone in my part of Northern BC Canada wanting one of these.
            The lack of 4×4 is a killer in the winter or truly remote areas. Another thing that would make them a hard sell is the snub nose. You hit a bear, deer, or moose and you won’t stand much of a chance. Even an excursion into a snowbank could put you at risk.
            Another point that kills these units with a “tray” or flat deck is capacity. They are on par with lighter capacity HD’s which isn’t enough to be useful in heavy industry. We tend to use Class 4 and up. Europe uses vans or chassis cab vans like we use chassis cab trucks. Europe and the rest of the world has a greater selection of vans. We have a greater selection of chassis cab trucks. An Iveco Daily 4×4 crew would be as capable as any 450/4500 4×4 flat deck but they don’t exist here.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Robert Ryan – I believe you when you say they replaced HD pickups/chassis cab trucks in Australia but I can’t see that ever happening here in USA or Canada. We are used to using chassis cab conventional “long snouted” trucks. That apples to chassis cab 1/2 tons right up to commercial class 8 trucks.
            Chassis cab vans with a deck or tray would be a hard sell here on a large scale if for no reason other than tradition. We like “conventional” trucks.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Drchizago138 – You’ve come to the wrong place for completely mature conversation, 100% of the time. Btw, he started it…

            BAFO is a complete joke, and can’t really be serious. He’ll go on ad nauseam about the “aluminum wonder truck” and how “Ford is hurting” because of it.

            I won’t repeat the profane language BAFO uses, with disgusting personal attacks.

            Yet BAFO demands respect around here despite this. Even after being repeatedly proven 100% wrong by some of the Best and the Brightest that bother answering, he keeps at it, repeating the same nonsense as if nothing. He must be some kind of foul mouth bot.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Lou_BC
            I was taking a English gent around a Museum and he noted that we have a lot of heavy trucks doing what they use cab chassis Vans for in England
            It is a combination of cultural , historical and specific needs that mold what you use as a work vehicle

          • 0 avatar
            EquipmentJunkie

            While I know what you are saying Lou_BC, I don’t entirely agree. The concept of the flatbed is strong. Flatbeds on 1-ton dually pickups are very popular in some parts of the country (ag & horse country). My company has had an F350 for 15+ years…and you are beginning to see more 3/4-tons, as well. This configuration tends to have more utility than a standard pickup bed.

            The Cab & Chassis (C&C) Transit and Sprinter with flatbeds will have limited appeal due to the lack of an extended cab or crew cab option. Our Transit works for us but I have to be careful which overnight bags I pack since they must fit in the cab or in the side boxes.

            However, we researched a 1/2-ton & 3/4 pickup chassis and elected to go with the Transit C&C due to:
            – High Payload to GVW rating
            – Bed length (we needed 8’+ and a little over 2K of capacity)
            – Lower bed height
            – Tighter turning radius
            – Diesel engine option for better fuel economy while hauling weight (our brand-new truck delivered over 17 mpg with 1,500-lbs. of cargo)

            Will the van C&C market expand? A good chance, but it will take some time. While Sprinter was content to neglect the C&C market. Ford’s entrance and strength in the commercial market will likely determine whether the van C&C concept takes off. The manufacturer of our aluminum bed, Eby, showed a Transit with an aluminum flatbed at a national truck show in Indy this year. At least a few people think it is a concept that makes sense.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            EquipmentJunkie – a van cab or cab-over or cab-foreword unit has the advantage of a shorter length. That tends to be a benefit in tighter confines but is a liability when on rougher roads and long distances. The stability isn’t the same and neither is the ride.
            Truck and van units both have their place. As Robert Ryan has pointed out: culture, geography, personal preference etc. ply a huge factor. Opening up the market to every van available isn’t going to change much.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, more GVWR will be needed as the Econoline is completely phased out in the very near future.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        BBall,
        We have the IVECO Daily Cab Chassis, in the 70c version it has a 23,000lb GCVWR. Pretty useful for Class C Motorhome builders

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Well that doesn’t help Ford. I don’t know what fleets are buying the E350/450 cutaways (EMS services?), but they still sell a decent amount. Ford needs a Transit-450 or whatever you want to call it to replace the E-Series sales. Or they can ceed that segment to GM.

          • 0 avatar

            RVs lots of class C’s. Also first responder vehicles as mentioned.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Thousands upon thousands of airport hotel and parking shuttles, paratransit vans, and the occasional party/limo service bus. The E-series cutaways are miserable vehicles. Can’t be replaced fast enough.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            bball40dtw – Ford already is losing out to GM. I see a large number of new GM chassis cab conversion EMS units in BC.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Lou, you say that, but Ford has been increasing their van market share.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            bball40dtw – I was referring to EMS units. I used to see predominantly E series diesel units. Now I see a large number of GM chassis van units. In Alberta I’ve seen a few Sprinter conversions.
            UpFitters are going to want to get as much financial life as possible out of their current EMS bodies so clinging to “old” chassis cab units will allow them to do it. Swapping from an E-Series to a Savana isn’t a large cash outlay for them but going to a Sprinter or Transit will be.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    It’s not a renaissance, just a consolidation. US sales volumes and transaction prices are now too low to justify US-specific models. Better to build one model for the entire planet; these aren’t midsize sedans or pickup trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Don’t call it a comeback; vans have been here for years.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I would have to look up the data in order to confirm this, but I would presume that vans have lost market share over the long haul. Virtually nobody is buying these just for personal transportation these days, as they once did.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Pch101 – the previous van platforms were so old and outdated that the only one’s buying them would be “price is the only factor” fleets.
          I see the odd one used as a family vehicle and typically is by a “no birth control bible belt salt of the earth” type. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            You have it backwards. The automakers don’t bother with the updates because of the lack of consumer demand.

            If Americans still wanted US-specific full-size vans for personal transportation, then you can bet that the OEMs would be making them, just as they make US-specific pickup trucks. But there has to be enough demand to justify the nine-figure expenditures required to develop and produce such a vehicle, which is not the case for vans.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Pch101 – two sides of the same coin. Companies don’t update due to lack of demand but the one’s that would want them won’t buy because of the lack of updates. Both work together.
            I do agree with your point.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It isn’t the same coin. Automakers don’t bother with the investment because the effort will fail. The sales that are lost are not enough to matter.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Pch101,
      I agree with you sentiment, you stated it all in this;

      “Better to build one model for the entire planet;”

      Yes it wold be nice if countries like the US could import these style of vehicles and pickups with the impost of a 25% tariff.

      There are many commercial vehicles that the US could receive, but for some reason many commercial segments in the US are protected. This protection limits the US to what is manufactured within. Quite a limiting policy, don’t you think?

      This protection sort of limits choice to the US business and consumer ie, these vans, pickups, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Big Al from Oz – I seriously doubt that chassis cab van cutaways with decks would make any inroads into USA or Canadian industry. Canada doesn’t have a 25% tariff and we have mostly conventional trucks. Once one gets into class 5 or higher that is the exclusive domain of Freightliner, Kenworth, Navistar etc. I never see Hino deck trucks but I do see quite a few vans. Great in the city but no one wants them for the highway or gravel industrial roads.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Lou_BC,
          Boy you are really losing the plot.

          I vividly recall how you stated that the 800lb Gorilla (USA) dictated Canadian auto import and manufacturing policy, all driven by Ontario.

          As an aside, re-read my comment. Where did I state that the Transit will “overpower” the HD market?

          There are many applications that HDs are used where a Transit or equivalent can be used. towing is one area that the HD is superior.

          But a flat bed Transit will pretty much do what many working HDs are used for. That is to carry up to a few tons.

          To top it off no HD will get near the mpg a 3.2 diesel Transit can offer.

          My detractors stated the same as you four years ago “not possible”, plus some when I stated that will gain better mdsizers equivalent to ours, even with diesels. I even stated you will also have 1/2 ton diesels.

          I even remember DenverMike stating that our Colorado can’t carry 3 080lbs, more than some of Ford F-250s.

          DenverMike even stated a Transit style van wouldn’t sell in the US market, when Robert Ryan make a comment.

          I think maybe some of you guys don’t have the exposure and are outside of the US to see what we see, or allow nationalistic paradigms cloud your judgment.

          I’m also not tainted with branding, like yourself and many who comment.

          I really do think you should become the Lou of old, an open minded person.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Big Al from Oz – a large portion of the auto market is driven by USA based manufacturing influence in Canada. Economies of scale and protection of the USA based industry does extend into Canada. Add to that political pandering,and union influence.

            How many of these chassis cab vans are USA based?
            Ford is USA based, Mercedes isn’t. GM doesn’t have a EuroVan available. Nissan’s NV is a traditional “Western” spec van not a Euro-clone. Ram’s vans are front drive and I’ve only seen 2 in the wild. Transits are common.

            Small personal pickup trucks are a different animal than commercial vans.

            These vans aren’t a threat to pickups or chassis cab trucks. They have different usage profiles. There is overlap but like I said, they don’t tend to get used the same way. Small trucks on the other hand see the exact same use as the majority of personal use 1/2 ton trucks.

            Ford wants to protect F- Series sales but they don’t care about hurting E-Series sales since they are killing off the E-Series. Ford said the Ranger was too close to the F150. They didn’t say the Transit was too close to the E-Series. They said the E-Series is being replaced by the Transit.
            Ford specifically said that when they killed the USA Ranger they expected buyers to move to their Transit Connect and small cars. That would indicate that they know their buyers and where the market is going. If they can make a comment about the Ranger that way then they definitely would not want to bring in a full sized van that would have an adverse effect on F-Series.

            Vans tend to be used differently than pickups. Just like “cutaways” or chassis cab vans are used differently than chassis cab trucks.

            Does the chicken tax apply to larger trucks and vans?
            All I can find is “imported light trucks”. That tends to imply class 1 and 2.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Lou,
            Gosh, Lou, you really are hurting here. Phew, it’s hard today isn’t it??

            Again where did I state these are a threat to pickups.

            Canada’s auto industry is heavily based on what the US wants.

            Lately in the past year or two things are changing for Canada.

            Please read prior to responding, or comprehend what is written.

            You will not get me with that form of passive aggressive trolling.

            Maybe you could move to Denver;)

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAFO – Yes there is a point where F-250 and Colorado ‘carrying capacity’ do crossover, but you’re talking Polar opposite configurations of course, because BAFO.

            1st you’re talking Holden Colorados, that get aggressive capacity “ratings” in Australia, not compatible with US conservative ratings, because lawyers.

            But let’s look at the specific trucks you’re *comparing*. The King Ranch Crew Cab F-250 long bed 4X4 with the diesel engine. This against the Holden Colorado in very basic form. That’s the regular cab Colorado with a 4 cylinder gas engine, manual trans and 2wd, because again, BAFO.

            Keeping in mind a chassis’ ‘gross’ carrying capacity gets reduced by the more options added (read added weight), eating away at ‘net’ capacity, which you bring up.

            If that’s not enough, you’re talking the Holden Colorado with the “bed delete”, or what’s called the “cab & chassis”, which also adds the (deleted) weight of the bed to “net capacity”, giving it even more theoretical “carry capacity”, never mind that you have to add a bed at some point.

            Then you wonder why you’re not getting much respect around here.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      As someone who drives vans on occasion, I think this is one of those “I don’t care how the soup was made” situations. These new “world vans” are better in just about every way than the market specific vans we used to have. I don’t personally need to feel special by having the design be specific to our market.

  • avatar
    DownEaster

    The E-Series actually started out as the Econoline in 1975 when they added the bump out hood and came up with a new chassis from the late 1960s to 1974 version. The 1992 redesign was just a new body on the same chassis. The joy of body on frame construction.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_E-Series

    • 0 avatar
      Mandalorian

      Yeah, it’s kind of weird to think about but the 2015 E-Series is closer to the 1975 F-150 than the 2015 or even 2014.

      Sure, it got some new lights and engines over the years, but the bones are still the same.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @Downcaster
      The very early Econolines, resembled the British Thames Vans. These eventually changed into the Transit.Now process has gone full, circle and the Transits have replaced the Econolines
      Econoline
      https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/22/1st-Ford-Econoline.jpg
      Thames
      http://www.myclassicuk.com/wp-content/gallery/ford-vans/ford-thames-400e-van-hpv-800.jpg

  • avatar

    Ford Transit Option Code 58S: Radio Delete, and it saves $25 off sticker.

  • avatar
    Rday

    Why did you not include the Promaster or doesn’t it matter. Your review leaves lots to be desired and is not complete. I expect more from the b&b than articles like this.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Hi boys and girls I’m Kinko the Clown! And Kinko loves you boys and girls, reeeally reallly.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    The paint process for inside the LWB high roof transit is incredible—completely robotic. Major props for the KCAP guys/gals that make all the different versions. It’s gotta be a PITA going from a LWB high roof to a shorty when installing the side airbags!

  • avatar
    miketve

    Why are the wheels on that Nissan soon tiny?

  • avatar
    miketve

    Why are the wheels on that Nissan soooo tiny?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      They’re not, the van is just soooo boxy. The ’61 Econoline had 14s.

      http://www.autofieldguide.com/cdn/cms/1961Econoline.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        They’re tiny for a reason. Most of the van fleet will never see gravel or a dirt road and will most likely spend it’s life making cargo duty in the ‘Burbs and Urban sites. Rural would be mostly highway duty. In any case, smaller wheels equals less unsprung weight and keeps the vehicle lower to the ground for max aerodynamics for better gas mileage. It also makes it easier to get in and out of the back and sides without having to redesign the box. They would also be easier to service. Finally the manufacturer can use the steel wheels they have in inventory without having to redesign new steelies for what would be a small profit sale, but could offer the bigger bling wheels for those that want them.

  • avatar

    I remember reading a book years ago – I think it was “The End of Detroit” – where the author said he was once told by an auto industry executive that their full-size vans were actually the most profitable segment – they had long since paid for the fixed costs of tooling, and they sold a ton of them.

    So even if the profit isn’t great per unit, they sell a lot of units. It’s like a grocery store – margins are tiny, but volume is huge. And that’s probably why everyone is selling a van. Especially since they are now selling “global” models, so they can spread the cost over the whole world.

  • avatar
    loner

    I had thought full-sized vans were dead, until I took a trip to Yellowstone this summer. The cargo vans (in passenger and conversion trim) were EVERYWHERE. It made me feel like I had fallen asleep for 20 years and woke up completely oblivious to automotive trends.

    Maybe I was only partly oblivious.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    I’ve had the opportunity to drive a couple of the players in this segment, the 2013 Sprinter and the 2015 RAM ProMaster, for work. It is hard o compare the two, because our Sprinter is a 2500 long wheelbase, high roof, while the ProMaster its a short wheelbase, low roof, but I can tell you that they are a quantum leap improvement over the old Econoline/RAM Van/Express/Safari, and their respective predecessors. Those vans were ancient by the time the Ford and Dodge versions were replaced, and I’m a bit shocked GM hasn’t yet pulled something from their European portfolio to match the Transit/ProMaster/Sprinter. I can’t see the Express/Safari gaining or maintaining market share once the newer fans are out there.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Lou_BC–“Ford specifically said that when they killed the USA Ranger they expected buyers to move to their Transit Connect and small cars. That would indicate that they know their buyers and where the market is going.”

    I would beg to differ that Ford really knows their customers better by stating that small pickup truck buyers will move to Transit Connect and small cars. It is more like a PR spin with Ford hoping to convince Ranger buyers that they will be loyal to the brand more than the type of vehicle. The uptick in Tacoma sales and the popularity in the new Colorado/Canyon sales would prove that not all Ranger owners are buying Ford’s PR. Also the fact that Ford’s PR is releasing statements that Ford is considering a smaller truck prove that Ford’s PR about its small truck buyers transitioning to smaller vans and cars is not working. Whether Ford makes a smaller truck for the US and Canadian market is questionable but if Ford were so successful in its strategy then why would they bother with floating the idea of a small truck.

    Maybe I am not as loyal to a brand as others but I am much more interested in the type of vehicle and not the brand. If Foton and Great Wall of China introduced a smaller truck in NA and there were no other manufacturers that made a smaller truck I would buy a Chinese truck. If I like safety razors better I am less likely to buy a Gillette or Schick razor or blades just to be loyal to those companies or the fact that they are US based companies. If Schick or Gillette were no longer providing safety razor blades then I would buy a competitors brand even if it were only available on Amazon. I am a consumer first and a brand loyalist last.

    As for GM not having a global van, that is not accurate. GM has a number of European vans and Asian vans that they could either import and base a new van on. Eventually GM will do just that but they are still making money on the old platforms that have long since been paid off.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Jeff S – To a degree Ford knows that a certain percentage of Ranger owners would remain loyal to Ford. Depending on the statistics I’ve read it is anywhere from 40-70% (approximately) depending on vehicle. IIRC pickups tended to be around 65%.

      I’m sure there was some spin since Ford would never admit directly that they do not want to water down F150 sales with the global Ranger. Saying they would not bring it because it was 90% of the f150 is as close as one can get to that admission.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Jeff S,
        Now Ford is saying that the Ranger is more ” Manageable” . Justifying building it in NA. It is not filling a Mini Pickup Niche, but trying to widen the one inhabited by the Tacoma and Colorado

  • avatar
    dolorean

    Doug, you said “When I was a kid, there were three cargo vans on the market: the Chevy cargo van, the Ford cargo van, and the Dodge Ram Van.”

    At first I thought by this comment, you had meant only full size vans but then you add the Ford Transit as a cargo van. Not sure when you were a kid, but I remember the Ford Aerostar and Chevy Astro/GMC Safari doing many a cargo duty as well as the ToyoVan, which would easily fill the bill of a Transit.

    I had a job in the mailroom of GoldenCorral HQ and had an ’90 Aerostar 5 spd cargo van that was an amazing little hauler.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Lou_BC–Ford was hoping to convince Ranger buyers to stay within the Ford family. Even if Ford retained only 40% of the Ranger buyers that would be a good percentage of retained customers. I do think Ford was counting on keeping more Ranger owners and hoping for more of them to buy F-150s. I think Ford was a little too optimistic about the initial success of the new F-150. Over the next few years the new F-150 will gain more acceptance and a larger market. I know many truck owners that prefer smaller trucks and not all of them are looking for a base model. I have observed more new crew cab Colorados than extended cab ones on the road and most are 4 x 4s that are well equipped.

    @Robert Ryan–I think Ford was caught off guard about GM’s success with the Colorado/Canyon twins and now with Toyota refreshing the Tacoma Ford is taking another look at a small or midsize truck. It looks like FCA has testing mules according to the article in Pickup Trucks.com. I realize that having testing mules is not a commitment to make a smaller truck but it does show that FCA is considering a smaller truck. We will see what happens.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I am curious but has anyone seen one of these new vans made into a custom or conversion van? Does anyone even buy new conversion vans anymore? Just curious. I haven’t seen a new conversion van in years.


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