By on April 29, 2016

2015 Ford Transit

The Ford Transit was America’s best-selling van in March 2016 and the first-quarter of 2016, full stop.

Not just the best-selling full-size commercial van. Not just the best-selling commercial van overall. The Ford Transit was America’s best-selling van, besting all of its direct rivals as well as each and every minivan.

Much has been made of the all-American Ford Mustang’s one-month stand in Germany. Even if the Mustang’s “Best-Selling Sports Car In Germany” status is only temporarily grasped, it certainly was a noteworthy turn of events. Meanwhile, Ford of Europe’s long-running commercial van, now Americanized, is dominating on our side of the Atlantic.

Ford accomplished this feat on the strength of the Transit’s ever-increasing volume, not because of particularly poor minivan sales. Year-over-year, U.S. sales of seven people carriers (Town & Country, Grand Caravan, Odyssey, Sedona, Mazda5, Quest, Sienna) jumped 30 percent to 143,482 units in the first-quarter of 2016. Compared with the first-quarter of 2014, sales are up 14 percent. Compared with the first-quarter of 2013, minivan sales are up 20 percent.

By the standards of recent history, minivan sales are healthy. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is clearing out Town & Countrys and Grand Caravans in the lead-up to the Pacifica’s launch. Kia Sedona volume continues to grow faster than the minivan sector. Honda Odyssey sales are up, albeit modestly. The Nissan Quest remains uncommon, but year-over-year sales more than doubled in the first-quarter.

2015 Toyota Sienna XLE

Meanwhile, sales of the Toyota Sienna, America’s top-selling individual minivan nameplate in early 2016, are up 6 percent to 34,529 units. Sienna sales are on track to rise to a 10-year high in 2016.

But by overcoming a number of minivans which are steadily improving, the Ford Transit is doing what no commercial van has done on an annual basis since 2011. At that time, the Ford E-Series narrowly outsold the Sienna, Odyssey, Grand Caravan, Odyssey, and Town & Country as the top-selling vans bickered amongst themselves in a hard-fought minivan sales race. (Keep in mind, Ford continues to market the E-Series, largely in cutaway form, while the Transit chassis cab/cutaway is, as of yet, not a huge part of the Transit equation.)

There are reasons Ford can flex the Transit’s muscles to produce 36,022 first-quarter U.S. sales. There are cargo and passenger variants, three roof heights, three wheelbases, and three engines – 58 combinations in total.

Toyota USA sells the Sienna with front or all-wheel-drive, seven or eight-passenger seating, one powerplant, and five trim levels.

The point is not merely that Ford can sell more Transits than Toyota can sell Siennas. Surely that wasn’t one of the goals for Ford’s product development team when it determined to bring the next-gen Transit to North America. The two categories in which vans compete aren’t even targeting the same buyer. There are plumbers and painters on the one hand, Pamelas and Peters on the other.

2016 Ford Transit cargo area

The Transit is, however, emblematic of a booming commercial van market. And the fact that Ford can sell more commercial vans than Toyota can minivans helps to make the point.

Sales of full-size commercial vans are up 26 percent so far this year, a gain of nearly 18,000 units in an overall new vehicle market that has expanded by slightly more than 3 percent. Ford, with the Transit and E-Series – which is down 9 percent this year but still outsells the Ram ProMaster, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Nissan NV, and GMC Savana – command 57 percent of the full-size market.

Small commercial van growth, at 17 percent year-over-year, is impressive, but the smaller Ford Transit Connect’s 11-percent year-to-date drop (including a 26-percent dive in March) has come about with increasing strength from a handful of competitors. Just four years ago, the Transit Connect was left to its own devices, essentially fending off the odd Ram Cargo Van microaggression. Now, the Transit Connect’s potential rivals include the Nissan NV200, the Nissan’s Chevrolet City Express twin, the Ram ProMaster City, and the Mercedes-Benz Metris. Together, those rivals claim 58 percent of a small commercial van market that recently belonged exclusively to Ford.

Combined, a dozen commercial-oriented vans attracted 109,000 new owners in the first three months of 2016. Minivan sales rose 30 percent to 143,482 units during the same period, as the Chrysler Town & Country and its Dodge Grand Caravan twin produced a Sienna-besting 65,328 sales, 6,590 more sales than Ford’s three-pronged van/chassis cab lineup.

The Mustang is clearly Ford’s headline maker. But the Transit, F-Series, and Blue Oval utilities are proof Ford knows how to shake its money-maker.

[Images: Ford & Toyota]

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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123 Comments on “Ford Transit Is America’s Best-Selling Van, Minivans Included...”


  • avatar
    VoGo

    Impressive achievement for Ford. But it doesn’t take attention from the fact that pickup inventories are the highest in a decade and they are idling the Kansas City plant for a week.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      It’s shutting down for maintenance. The inventory levels were finally high enough that they could do the maintenance without impacting anyone.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      VoGo,
      I agree with you in relation to the number of vehicles in inventory. It’s quite easy to fudge figures. Pickups numbers are skewed enough with the very limited breakdown between vehicles, ie, 1/2, 3/4, 1 ton etc. They are all different models. Imagine if cars were all lumped into the one figure.

      I do believe that what should be measured is the number of vehicles actually delivered to the customer, registration paid and on the road, nothing else.

      From what I can gather in the US the numbers are measured using what’s delivered to the dealers.

      Here in Australia vehicle numbers are measured by “contracts” signed, even though a vehicle might not be in country for months.

      Vehicles on the road should be the only measure. Then another number for vehicles manufactured and not sold.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @DenverDUD – Jack Baruth had a story pointing out that Automotive Dealers ARE the Auto Companies Customers. They buy the product not us.

        Does it really matter?

        It isn’t as if unsold inventory goes to the crusher.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Thanks Lou,
          I find your classification of myself with your long term Ford friend DenverMike quite amusing.

          Is this a step up or down for me, down to the depths you appear to be sinking?

          As for you comment. It does make a difference, because the manufacturers can dictate what the dealers must do.

          So, how transparent are the numbers? 10s or even 100s of thousands of vehicles can be hidden using the current model you approve of.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        The article states F-series has around 20 more “sell days” worth of inventory, than GM and Ram, except besides ‘ramping up’ to shut down (for maintenance) one F-150 plant, Super Duty inventory is currently ‘ramping up’ for its next generation (2017+) changeover, retooling, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Sales totals from the US that Tim shares are from sales to the end user, not from deliveries to the dealers. Look at his historical data and you’ll see the discontinued models show up in very small numbers, sometimes more than a year after their last model year. GM didn’t hold on to 3 or 4 of the last Colorado to ship them to the dealers 15 months after they shipped all the rest of them.

  • avatar
    Toad

    The new Ford Transit is a good looking, class leading product that builds on a solid reputation in the commercial vehicle space. Buyers know they are getting a good product based on proven mechanical components (unlike their competitors) that can easily be serviced and supported by any shop capable of working on an F150.

    The competition is weak: Ram product is based on a European front wheel drive platform; who knows how that will work out (and fleet/commercial buyers don’t like to be beta testers). GM’s products suddenly look 20 years out of date (which they are). Nissan has no commercial truck history in the US and their entry is not attractive.

    The Transit has earned it’s top sales spot; good for Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      Yes, FWD here in a “commercial” type van is unconventional, but the layout has been used in Europe for quite some time. Granted the 3.6L would be fine as a base motor, but it’s clearly no match for the 3.5L EcoBoost. Both transmissions offered in the ProMaster are absolute garbage bar none; there is NO WAY the 62TE will last in commercial duty, let alone lugging around an RV.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I like the low load floor on the RAM Promaster Shovelface Edition. That’s about it…

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        heck, I don’t think you can even buy a RWD Transit in the UK.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          They apparently get FWD, RWD, and AWD. I have no idea the take rate of those layouts. They also get a B-Platform van called the Transit Courier. It’s shorter than the wheelbase of the LWB Transit!

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            then what the hell was I thinking of?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I dunno. Hahahaha. Maybe that the Transit doesn’t have an automatic transmission in Europe and is auto-only here?

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Maybe you were thinking of the FWD-only Transit Custom. It can get a little confusing, since Ford has been as profligate with the Transit name as Oldsmobile was with the Cutlass name in the ’80s. Here’s a quick rundown (may not be perfectly correct) after 10 minutes of Wikipedia:

            Transit: full-size, RWD, BOF. Older versions had FWD and AWD versions. Passenger version called the Tourneo except in UK and US.

            Transit Custom: mid-size-ish (still 78″ wide), FWD, unibody. The Ram ProMaster (Fiat Ducato) is more properly the competitor to this, rather than the full-size Transit. Passenger version called the Tourneo Custom. Sold in Mexico, but not the rest of NA. Replaces the older FWD version of the Transit. Not sure if this is on the CD3 or CD4 platforms; probably not.

            Transit Connect: compact, FWD, unibody. Competes with Nissan NV200/Chevy City Express and Ram ProMaster City (Fiat Doblò) Passenger version called the Tourneo Connect except in US. Shares C platform with Focus and C-Max.

            Transit Courier: subcompact, FWD, unibody. Passenger version called the Tourneo Courier except in UK. Shares B platform with Fiesta and B-Max.

          • 0 avatar
            HEOJ

            UK is the land of Transit, they have four total! The Courier, Connect, Custom, and Transit with no suffix. The Transit Custom fits between the Connect and fullsize Transit. The full size is back to being RWD only and the Custom takes the place of the FWD regular Transit.

            And apparently Drzhivago138 types faster than me!

          • 0 avatar
            derekson

            “Maybe you were thinking of the FWD-only Transit Custom. It can get a little confusing, since Ford has been as profligate with the Transit name as Oldsmobile was with the Cutlass name in the ’80s. Here’s a quick rundown (may not be perfectly correct) after 10 minutes of Wikipedia:”

            And below the 4 Transit models they even offer a “Fiesta Van” with solid panels instead of rear windows and no rear seat. Europeans get all kinds of size choices for commercial vans.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Wellll…yyyes on the Fiesta Van. But it’s always been just a three-door Fiesta hatch with no back windows. The Transit Courier (new for 2014) is what you get when you make a dedicated van off of the B platform. It can fit any size Europallet.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            All of the Transit nomenclature is old school at Ford. At one time Ford had basically a Ford car, Ford Custom, Custom Deluxe, Custom 500, XL, LTD, Galaxie 500. Add Fairlane to that list all for basically the same car.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @DrZ no the Transit is not BOF it is unibody.

    • 0 avatar
      kit4

      Saying the Nissan is ugly when this and every other one in this segment is ugly is hilarious. And nobody buys these for looks. They are the ultimate appliance.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Toad,
      I’m a big Transit fan. I do believe it is the best commercial vehicle from Ford in the US over the past couple of years.

      The US still has one more fantastic Ford commercial to receive, the global Ranger. These vehicles are far better than the aluminium F-150 “wunder trux”.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        Big Al, The global Ranger is a stupid product for the US market. Too narrow for its weight and fuel economy. Even the car based Honda Ridgeline has wheels pushed to the corners and >48 inches between wheel wells.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          George B,
          I tend to disagree.

          The US 1/2 ton segment is based very heavily on the car/CUV/SUV type, not work.

          I do believe as time goes by consumer will want a greater variation of pickups, like the car/SUV/CUV segment.

          The problem is the US Big 2.5 tend to have control of this segment. They are the ones who don’t want variation.

          Why else and how else can a manufacturer provide the unlimited number of special and limited editions as the US pickup manufacturers do? Do we see the car/SUV/CUV segment offer this anywhere near the same frequency? No.

          The US truck (pickup/van/cab chassis) segments need to liberalise and open up to offer the consumer more choice.

          The Ranger will sell. Once Ford brings on the Ranger after much delay Ford will realise how much money it has lost.

          As for you size comment, it’s null and void. You sound like those old school guys who thought smaller cars will not sell in the US of years gone by.

          Look at the future and not the past as it appears you are doing.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAFO – By the same, other global markets could liberalize their consumer’s choices. And btw, we already have more choices here, than any place on the planet. It’s not like you don’t know this.

            Bigger vehicles were “home grown” here, by US, North American consumer demand. Auto makers follow the money, not the niche.

            In a perfect world, every consumer in every part of the world, would have every size/brand/combination in existence always available.

            Check out your partner Robbie Ryan over there, pining away for the “King Ranch” edition Econoline Dually E-450!

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            E450????? You are becoming even more delusional. Total pile of Garbage, good to see the Transit replacing the Econoline

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            There were E-450 and E-550 cutoffs/drw, but the Econoline had to die. So did the Crown Vic/Marques/Town Car and US Ranger. Life goes on, moving on.

            You drive a diesel Skoda anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            The US is built around the size of a full sized pickup, in a way no other country is. Even in the densest cities, parking structures are sized to (just barely but still) house a 20 by 7 by 7 vehicle with a 50 foot bumper to bumper turning radius.

            There is no place you can go in a Ranger here, that you cannot reach with an F150 or 350 or 60CA chassis with a 9 foot service body. It may be easier and more comfortable in a smaller truck, which is why there is a healthy recreational market for midsizers, but if getting there is part of your job, you can do it in a full size. In the rest of the world, Australia possible excepted, this is not true.

            Lots of European parking structures are designed around 5-meter cars, with perhaps a little bit of wiggle now that all bigger cars have sensors at all corners. A full sized truck there, is just an absolute pain, hence not the default choice unless you truly need it. And if you are one who really do, you’re likely better off going whole hog and getting a cabover or Transit/Sprinter chassis with much more cargo space.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Most drivers everywhere in the world require lots more space/clearance around them, than they actually need or use.

            Versus a Fiat, it does take lots more skill to pilot and swing around a fullsize van/pickup/SUV in “tight places” and parking spaces, be that in ‘beach communities’, NYC or any Medieval village in Europe.

            I watch the cringing faces of drivers in subcompact cars as I encroach into their ‘comfort zone’ with my F-150. They’re sure they’re about to get slammed, because they would be bumping into everything if they were driving it, clipping curbs left and right.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @DEnverDUD – anything new to add?

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Lou_BC,
          Thanks for finally supporting our views in relation to much of what DenverMike submits to these sites, as his above comment illustrates.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Tell me how I’m wrong, not just you don’t like what I’m saying.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @DenverMike – he’ll tell you one hundred ways how you are wrong, posting actual evidence is an entirely different thing. LOL

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Toad, I’ve been surprised how fast commercial fleets have adopted the Ford Transit. I see many on the road in North Texas.

      • 0 avatar
        jhefner

        Me too around the DFW area.

        I read this article before lunch, so I grabbed lunch, then parked at my favorite car and people watching spot to take an informal survey of what I saw:

        2 of the current generation Ford Transit Connects
        2 of the previous generation Ford Transit Connects
        2 or 3 Ford E vans
        4 Chevy Sierra work vans
        1 Chevy Van-Dura work van in very nice shape.
        2 Ram Pro master vans
        One taxi was a Camry, but the rest were Chrysler minivans.

        But the lady who parked next to me, took out her cardboard sign, and walked down to the intersection to beg? A two tone green and beige Toyota Sienna with the paper tag duct taped in the back. What a way to close out my survey on the day Crabspirits announces he is closing shop. Have a good weekend everyone.

    • 0 avatar
      Joss

      +1 the NV’s CVT surely makes commercial appraisers nervous.

  • avatar
    NN

    The Transit is largely responsible for Ford’s amazing profitability lately. What’s interesting for me is that this was low-hanging fruit for years…commercial vans were based on 30 year old technology just a couple years ago. Ford looks brilliant for simply seeing a gaping opportunity that GM was too lazy to do anything about, and engineering their European models newer generations for the US market. This was a big fat meatball pitched right down the middle that is literally worth billions now.

    I say this as an owner of a Transit Connect that I use as a family vehicle (and wrote about here: https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/tag/ford-transit-connect/). My prediction is van sales–both commercial and non commercial–will continue to grow. Everything moves in cycles and the SUV/CUV as family vehicle is today’s “mommy-mobile” as much as a minivan. More people will gravitate back towards vans, and some will co-opt commercial vans as family vehicles for their more utilitarian style. Chrysler’s new Pacifica will be a hit, Ford will continue to own commercial vans, Honda/Toyota/Korea will continue their incremental success with family vans and GM again will be caught with their pants down 10 years behind the times.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The Transit needed a lot of changes and improvements to make it ready for US consumption. Ford took their time and made it right. It’s a significantly different product than the previous European version.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        bball40dtw,
        Again, we had this discussion regarding the chanages to the US Transit previously.

        I would not describe the changes to the US Transit as you do.

        Quite an overstatement. But, you tend to overstate anything Frod.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I’m not worried about if you agree with me or not.

          We’ll agree to disagree and leave it at that.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Vans have their own unique work niche. In some cases they overlap with pickups and utility bodies. Vans do not have the same off-road abilities unless you go to an aftermarket outfitter. That alone will keep a separation between the two. The serve different purposes.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        to be fair, it wasn’t so much as the Transit needed a lot of changes to be federalized, they just waited until the new gen V362/363 (Mk.8) to make it a global vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I agree. The current Transit was designed to be federalized from the start.

        • 0 avatar
          derekson

          This is a very accurate description of the situation. There is a reason the newest Transit is RWD on a heavier frame than the previous versions ever were. It was always going to replace the Econoline as part of the “One Ford” strategy.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            derekson,
            All large Transits prior to the current model were RWD.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Al-

            The Transit was available with FWD in 2000. This is the second generation in Europe that has had FWD.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Sorry bball, I was referring to the original Transits, not the Toureno/Focus Connects.

            Full size Transits is what I should of stated.

            Imagine if a Focus based vehicle got called a Mustang? Same, same.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The full size Transit had a FWD version starting in the early 2000s.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            bball,
            So, which full size Transit had FWD?

            Enlighten me.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            the current one.

            http://www.ford.co.uk/Hidden/BrochuresandPricelists/tabid=tab1?fmccmp=other:cvwc-app:build:header::brochure%20cta

            look at the Transit brochure. It clearly states it can be had in FWD, AWD, and RWD.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The third generation that started production in 2000 was available in FWD, RWD, or AWD in Europe. The current generation is too. Go to a Transit forum if you don’t believe me.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    I don’t understand on why FCA didn’t bring over the Iveco Daily instead of the Ducato, at least they could have put the 3.0 EcoDiesel from the RAM under the hood and still used the ZF 8 speed auto (which comes in the Daily across the pond).

    My question is will Hyundai finally release the H350 over here? My best guess is that they’re waiting to get the 3.0TT production into full swing as I highly doubt they’d try to stuff the 5.0 Tau *cough*gasguzzler*cough* under the hood.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      I was about to say that! The RWD, BOF Daily would be a better competitor anyway to the Transit. The FWD Fiat Ducato is actually a competitor to the Transit Custom (large FWD van) elsewhere in the world.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        The Daily looks to be a pretty nice van inside and out (with the exception of the hideous amber colored gauges); the different lengths and roof heights are direct competition to the Nissan and Ford. The CNG and all electric options look to be fleet friendly but Sergio wants to push Fiat and Alfa over here.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          See them towing 33-36ft 5th wheelers here. Very economical, to keep up with a superduty uphil they inject LPG
          http://caravancampingsale.com/2011-sundance-3300ck-for-sale/

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        The Daily is also available with a real truck-like 4×4 system. I’ve seen a camperized one with EU plates a few years back. It looked good.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      SC5Door,
      Cost.

      The Daily is more expensive. If you look at US vehicles they do tend to be a little cheaper. The consumer would not buy otherwise.

      A classic example from Ford is the release of the new Everest in the US. These would find a small number of sales due to it’s price.

      You pay for what you receive in the end.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @BiGal – what makes you think a global variant would be more expensive in North America? The Colorado/Canyon siblings cost the same as any other small truck sold in NA.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Lou,
          I do believe Iveco sales wouldn’t be great enough to allow for manufacture in NAFTA.

          So, again the now imported Iveco will attract the dreaded 25% Chicken Tax.

          The Chicken Tax is doing its intended job, unfortunately at the expense of the consumer.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAFO – Although it takes healthy ‘minimum sales’ to build in North America (Mexico of course), it also takes a decent minimum to ship via “CKD” (knock-down kit).

            Thanks to decent demand and existing dealer network, MB Sprinters arrive as CKDs. It’s not the hardship you may imagine. If a car maker is truly ‘put out’ by having to assemble junk (plug-n-play), they’re truly in the wrong business!

            Minimum sales have to be legit, not dreamed up by some lame blogger/bogan. And that’s for *any* import, export, car, truck, whatever. There’s crash testing/safety/lighting and mostly (diesel?) emissions to contend with too, same as any car, to or from anywhere.

  • avatar
    Yesac13

    The hybrid model can’t come fast enough.

    Look at the bed floor of a F-150 or other pickups. Then look at this van’s floor. So much lower. Much more useful. Easy to step in and get something from the interior!

    A hybrid model would be rear wheel drive with electric motors driving the front wheels. AWD and better mileage to boot. Especially good for businesses who have these vans stuck in stop and go traffic.

    I need 4WD or AWD because I tow boats and drive up a bad driveway in winters. I don’t want to pay Quigley $12500 something to add 4WD to the Transit that will increase its height and decrease fuel mileage. Ford, go and add the hybrid system and charge $3000. It will sell like hot cakes. Ford should not worry about cannibalizing the F-150, it’s going to happen whether Ford likes it or not.

    If people were rational, not irrational… This van will outsell the F-150 10 years from now.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      A low floor is a good thing, but every situation is different. Loading heavy material/stock at waist-high is also good. The extremely useful tailgate bench/table is an added bonus of pickups. This morning I was standing on the side rails of my pickup trimming tree limbs, and I didn’t have to bring a ladder. I routinely find myself standing on the side rails.

      While no work-vehicle is perfect, vans have way more limitations than pickups. They’re great for very specific trades/tasks, no doubt. But nothing beats a pickup, over all. Especially since they blend work/play/shuttling the family/outings/etc/etc. Add a camper shell/cap/cab-over camper for even more versatility. Fifth wheel? Did I mention off-road capability?

      Sometimes you need or want a separation between yourself and cargo. Think livestock. Or toxic chemicals. Other times, you don’t know what the day will throw at you. Believe me it’s better to have a pickup, mostly.

      So what’s that you were saying about “irrational”? Dogs love pickups so that seals the deal!

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      We loaded six, 66-lb bags of sand into a Mercedes-Benz Metris today. It was so nice to have a low load floor. Trucks are great – I love trucks. But the ol’ heave-ho would have sucked if this Metris had a pickup trick’s bed height.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    I have a Transit for the weekend. Does anyone have any pressing questions about it that I can answer?

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      Is the air filter wet? Heat shield rattles? Pulsating drone noise on the highway?

      Is there an alignment issue that crosses 3 lanes when you let go of the wheel? I’ve read some reports that something is tweaked in the sub frame or suspension causing the alignment from the factory to be out of whack.

      (BTW these are all issues from our company van that’s less than 4 months old)

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I’m getting it this afternoon and will put over 500 miles on it this weekend. I’ll let you know if I observe any of that.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        I’ve had a rented Transit Connect for a week, and haven’t seen any of these issues. It’s only got 3100 miles on it, though.

        It feels and drives like a tall, long Focus. Looks a bit like one from the front end. The 4 cylinder is the smoothest I’ve ever driven in an American car, although it’s really underpowered for this vehicle.

        Handling is really good considering it’s size.

        I’ve got the version with 3 rows, cloth interior and a speck of a backup camera.

        Decent stereo, too.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          Transit and Transit Connect are two completely different vehicles.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          Well, the Transit Connect and Transit share only names and some aesthetics; they are by all available information completely different platforms.

          I wouldn’t expect any such issues to be on one if they were on the other, in any case…

          (The TC *should* drive like a long, tall Focus, since it’s [per Wikipedia] based on the Focus.)

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I didn’t experience any of that, but the example I drove was a low mileage diesel Transit. It drove very well on the highway. It is louder than my C-Max on the freeway, but it doesn’t drone or rattle. It is a cacophony of road noise unloaded though. It can echo back there.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      bball40dtw,
      So long as it’s not a “Ford push” from your end.

      Unbaised is what’s needed.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I’m not writing a full review on it. I just wanted to know if people had questions. I’ll write a review next time I get one from home depot.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I think it would be helpful if you just listed the highlights and the lowlights of your experience with this Van.

          I have seen numerous ones of these in Passenger Van incarnation while in El Paso, TX, and many of them are pretty slick looking, with 6 Captain’s chairs, stylized paint jobs and glass all around.

          I’m not in the market but I bet there are a lot of people who are.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I’ll let you know. I don’t know what the configuration is going to be. Hopefully it has the 3.2L diesel.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            HDC,
            Either Pleasureway or the more up market Canadian manufacturer,”Leisure”? make a model called ” Wonder” on the Transit. It is more limited than other Van bases as far as GCVWR

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            So it’s the medium roof LWB with the 3.2 Look diesel.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            RobertRyan, I didn’t see any id on who made the conversions that I saw at the Mall in El Paso, but I was impressed!

            For all I know, they could have been conversions done in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. It’s been known to happen.

            When I was a kid living in CA, my uncle who lived in La Jolla, north of San Diego, often made trips to Tijuana, Mexico, just south of the border, to get some custom tuck&roll jobs done for his cars and motorcycles, and a lot of other custom work.

            Whenever he asked me to come along, I remember the Van conversions that they were doing in those shops, and the work was fantabulous!

            I have owned a used conversion Van but the work was done at Chattanooga Choo-Choo in TN.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            HDC,
            LeisureVans ” Wonder”
            http://leisurevans.com/wonder/index.html

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            RobertRyan, thanks for the link. The Wonder would be classified as a Motor Home.

            What I saw was the Van pictured at the top of this article, but with glass all around where the metal side panels are.

            Pulling up next to it in the parking lot I was able to see the six Captain’s Chairs inside.

            May have been custom conversions, and each of the ones I saw there could have been differently configured.

        • 0 avatar
          Joss

          Check out all doors please.. ease of operation. Opening and closing, rear door securing hinges. Magnetic anchoragers for rear doors on body side. Bulkhead door – if so equipped – ease of operation. Key, fob or one touch. Think of multiple start stop operating. Are the door mirrors sufficient and have plastic pop out lenses easily replaced/reinstalled after a clip? Non power are much better in commercial applications. Does the wheel telescope and tilt?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Doors were all easy to use. Standard Ford commercial grade door handles. The rear doors have magnets that secure them fully open. There is a button/switch that lets you open the doors fully, instead of a 110 degree or so angle. No bulkhead door in the model I had.

            One of the best things on the Transit are the door mirrors. The are HUGE. About 3-4 times the size of normal car mirrors. They are also split so you can see the lower half of the vehicle well. They are big plastic manual mirrors. You could easily pop out the mirrors or the whole mirror assembly. It also folds up right against the van.

            The steering wheel and key fob are basically lifted from the 2012-2015 Focus without push button start. There is tilt, but unfortunately no telescoping.

            We got just over 20 MPG over the weekend. Cruise control was usually set for just under 80 on the freeway. I think if we drove 60 MPH, 25 MPG would be doable.

            The flooring and anchor points in the back are very nice. The rubberized floor keeps things from moving and there are plenty of ways to secure stuff.

            The seats were comfortable enough. I wasn’t uncomfortable during the 10 or so hours driving. I could use a bit more room in the cabin, but whatever. Don’t expect great NVH. There isn’t much sound deadening material. It wasn’t unbearable though. Someone coming from an E-Series, Sprinter, Express, etc wouldn’t be mad about the road noise.

            I can tell why Ford sells a bunch of them. It drives very well compared to the old school vans, it’s easy to load, it has some cool features, you can get it in many different combinations, and it’s built with proven powertrains. I used to buy old bread vans for my fleet, but if I had an opportunity, I’d buy a Transit instead.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @BAFO – I’d trust bball40dtw’s take on a product regardless of badge on the hood.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        no human being can be unbiased.

  • avatar
    Jack Denver

    The van format, whether minivan or commercial van, is amazingly practical – a big box on wheels, terrific space utilization, low floor. Ten times more useful than a pickup truck or an SUV for 90% of real world applications (not imaginary off road jaunts that no one ever does). And yet they are unloved. Vehicles are not just about practicality. People want to make a statement about themselves and the only statement that a van makes is “I’m a big boring box” or “I’ve been castrated”. If it wasn’t for the image problem, something like the Sienna would not just be the leading minivan but the top selling vehicle period. There’s no vehicle that is more versatile – people carrier, cargo carrier, everything carrier. But people don’t want to be caught dead driving it. The segment is down almost 2/3 from its 2000 peak, and even then minivans were objects of shame. In a rational world these everythingmobiles would dominate but we don’t live in a rational world.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      The “classic” half-ton American pickup of about 1960 to about 2004 is well suited to throwing stuff over the side and into the bed. As manufacturers have tried to make their product more masculine than their competitors, the added height of the bed has made throwing stuff over the side more difficult.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        These are replaced in Europe by the Cab Chassis version of Vans. You see similar scenarios to what you would experience in the US on worksites , Farms except these are not daily drivers. Payloads from 2,500lb too 10,000lb.
        They use ” low loaders” for towing agricultural machinery, cars, Vans etc
        https://www.iveco.com.au/Product/new-daily-cab

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      I got my F250 long-bed specifically for camping-related cargo capacity.

      If there’d *been* a decent cargo van alternative at the time in the used market, I’d have been all over it.

      (But an Econoline … not so much, not at the time.

      If I’d had $50k to blow on the project I would have bought a new Sprinter, because at that time – 3 years ago – the ProMaster and Transit weren’t out.

      The F250’s replacement may well end up being a cargo van, now that I have the XC70 to handle my back-road dirt-and-light-mud-maybe use-cases.)

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    This is partly a function of the amount of Transit permutations that exist. It’s not just one height and length. There are 20+ combinations of engine, roof height, and length. That’s without getting into different payload ratings and options (or wagon vs van + cutaway). Ford has a van that fits almost everyone that wants a van.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      It’s interesting to note that the *smallest* Transit configuration (lo-roof, medium WB) is about as big as the *largest* E-Series you could buy from the dealer. Anything larger with the E-Series needed butchering by an upfitter.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Yeah. The Transit is a big-a$$ vehicle. I know plenty of contractors that are happy to replace older trucks and vans with the long wheelbase Transit.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          BBall,
          Strange here to see the Renault Master being the top dog. European Transit and Renault being very similar

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Maybe the Renault Master (Opel/Vauxhall Movano) will be Chevy’s Eurovan.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Only problem is both here come with the new generation very small diesels. Renault 2.3 and currently Ford 2.2. Ford has developed a even newer version that is only 2 litres. Renault Diesel is a very modern diesel like the up coming Ford engine.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            It wouldn’t be hard for a 2.8 diesel to be used or even a 3.6 V6 gas engine.

            I would think the chassis will handle a 3.6, V6 especially when the 2.3 diesel has around 330ftlb of torque.

  • avatar
    pdieten

    A little surprised by this since I haven’t seen that many Transits on the road lately.

    Took the car in to the dealer for transmission flush, I got a courtesy ride home in a Transit Connect passenger van. Really practical box & roomy for a Focus-based vehicle. Gotta say though, outside styling is….not attractive. I’d buy one but the wife would never tolerate it.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      If by “Focus-based” you mean “has a Focus steering wheel and an interior reminiscent of every other EU Ford vehicle,” then sure. But that’s about it.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        The TC is a Global C vehicle and shares plenty of parts with the Focus. It’s not necessarily “Focus-based” though.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          No no, you’re correct; I misread the first time around. I thought he said just Transit, not Transit Connect. The TC is very much Focus-based, at least by my standards (shared interior parts, same powertrain).

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            It’s less “Focus based” than any other Global C vehicle. It doesn’t have the same engine or transmission as the US Focus and has a much different suspension (I think Europe gets the 1.6T Focus). In many ways, it’s more similar to the Escape/Kuga. But now we’re splitting hairs. It shares many parts with the Focus.

            The big Transit is as related to the Focus as much as I am to an Orangutan. :)

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          bball40dtw,
          I thought the Connect is based on the Focus platform?

          That to me signifies a strong relationship to the Focus.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The are both on the same platform. They are both Global C based. They certainly share a ton of parts.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    One growth area that I believe this article overlooked…

    The largest permutations of the Transit (and the ProMaster) seem to be getting purchased as replacements for small box trucks.

    I’m pretty sure the large versions come in cheaper than a 14-16′ Japanese COE cab-and-chassis, and then you don’t have to pay for the actual box on top of that.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Yeah, a regular wheelbase, medium roof height Transit can be purchased for well under $35K. In that configuration, you can get a van that tows 7000 lbs and has a 3500 lbs payload rating.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I really consider the Transit a great move by Ford. Ford has took a gamble and made a successful EU commercial viable in the US.

    I would like to see more cab/chassis variants sold as these do offer a greater flexibility for a working vehicle platform. They are smaller for comparable work that can be done with a HD and return better FE than a HD.

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    Jack Denver—- Well said, if I had to choose which vehicle I would drive ( forever ) it would be a Sienna. I can hear the groans already.

  • avatar
    HEOJ

    Technically the Transit has more than 58 configs, in addition to the different heights, wheelbases, and engines it has 4 different weight(for lack of a better term) categories as well. There is a 150, 250, 350, & 350HD as well. Eventho all engine and bodystyles are not available on every series.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    Here and in Europe it is Renault. They are the main builders of Vans in Europe. Not only their Vans, but the manufacture Nissan, Opel and Vauxhall Vans for sale in Europe. Nissan Australia, strangely wants nothing to do with Vans

  • avatar
    zip89105

    Congratulations Ford. Myself, I thought they wouldn’t sell well, but as a stockholder I’m glad I was way wrong!

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      why would you have thought that? The Sprinter sold well, even though it was initially made from compressed rust.

      • 0 avatar
        zip89105

        I saw the Transit as too small, unpowered, and with poor outward visibility. Obviously I’ve mixed it up with the Transit Connect. But delivery companies and local government are using a lot of both models, with the majority being the Connect version. I am happy I was wrong as I always thought the full-sized van models with the box attached to the frame was the better way to go.

  • avatar
    scott25

    Barely see any transits on the road in Ontario, where Sprinters still seem to dominate the van market. The only transit connects I see are run by Canada post. We’ve had multiple Transits and Connects on the lot at the Ford dealer I work at and the only time they ever leave is if they’re dealer traded. And we sold a used one once in the past 6 months..


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