Tag: cargo vans

By on December 7, 2020


Mercedes-Benz is reportedly planning to bring an electric commercial van, presumably the eSprinter, to the United States as early as the third quarter of 2023. While the all-electric van launched earlier this year in Europe, the manufacturer said it wanted to hold off on North American exports for reasons that should be obvious to anybody familiar with the industry. The model’s rather low range (up to 96 miles, depending on load and route) makes it a poor fit for North America’s wide-open spaces, as does its standard 75 mph (or optional 50 mph) top speed. Meanwhile, the necessary homologation efforts required to sell the eSprinter in the U.S. would only increase the price of a vehicle already ill-suited to the nation’s roadways.

Were it to come here now, we’d be looking at a cargo van with an MSRP dangerously close to $60,000 and the top speed and range of a small-displacement dirtbike. Regulatory incentives aside, it doesn’t seem like a worthwhile addition to the North American landscape. But analysts are worried that Mercedes-Benz needs to get a move on and ensure the vehicle comes to the U.S. market before it’s edged out by the competition. It’s a position we’d be inclined to agree with had the eSprinter arrived with more robust specifications. (Read More…)

By on November 12, 2020

Ford’s $11.5 billion investment (through 2022) into electrification has birthed its first in a series of planned work vehicles. The E-Transit takes everything that was good about the gasoline-powered Transit van and makes a few sacrifices in the name of progress while also offering a handful of useful features made possible by its 67 kWh battery.

One of the biggest items being surrendered is range. Ford estimates the E-Transit to have an operating area of roughly 126 miles between charges, which isn’t great. However, the company claimed this would be sufficient for the kind of applications it envisioned customers would be using it for and noted that reduced range helped the vehicle come in just under $45,000. Longer-range versions are planned, as well as an all-wheel-drive variant, and Ford has added a few features to the E-Transit not available on the gasoline-driven unit. (Read More…)

By on October 15, 2020

While van sales have been trending downward for years, the likelihood of your average American being forced to live inside one feels like it should be higher than ever. But deciding which model is best for living out the rest of your days in relative isolation isn’t going to be easy. Realizing that there’s a growing demand for escape vehicles and regular old RVs, automakers and coachbuilders have been trying to make the market more accommodating.

On Tuesday, Ford Motor Co. threw its hat into the ring by announcing that the 2021 Transit would be adding new “recreational and business options” to help get customers the kind of vehicles they need to get through these difficult times.

“With many Americans working from home and practicing social distancing during the pandemic, the popularity of recreational vehicles has soared at the same time package delivery has seen incredible growth,” explained Tiffany Chang, Ford fleet brand strategy manager. “Our new 2021 Transit options help people design the recreational vehicles of their dreams and help enable our commercial customers to more efficiently deliver goods and services across the country.” (Read More…)

By on August 22, 2019

The year is 1990, and you live in Utah or someplace similar and find yourself with plentiful offspring. The only solution here is a full-size van that seats 15. Which extra-long BOF box goes home with the Buy?

(Read More…)

By on March 5, 2019

Ford is sexing up its sexiest vehicle, the Transit van, for the 2020 model year with a bevy of new powertrain options and added safety tech. Two new engines are a base 3.5-liter V6 and a 2.0-liter EcoBlue bi-turbo diesel four. Thanks to direct-and-port injection, Ford claims the V6 PFDi will offer greater efficiency than the 3.7-liter unit it replaces. Meanwhile, the hard-working 2.0 liter will do the same while offering improved power and torque against the outgoing 3.2-liter diesel.

The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 will persist as the preferred option for getaway drivers and thrill-seeking plumbers. All models will come with Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission, with gasoline models (including the beastly EcoBoost) having the option of all-wheel drive.  (Read More…)

By on September 25, 2018

As the Microbus-inspired I.D. Buzz approaches production, Volkswagen has been careful to not stray too far from its roots. The original idea behind the 1950 Type 2 was the development of an economical vehicle that would be ideal for transporting cargo in an urban environment, but could also double as a people mover. While the Buzz places an emphasis on family togetherness and weekend adventures, VW claims there will also be a cargo variant focused on taking care of business.

Presented at the IAA Commercial Vehicles event in Hannover last week, the I.D. Buzz Cargo is that vehicle. Unfortunately, it’s not the final product. Its strong resemblance to the Buzz concept vehicle will probably carry over into production, but neither model will use a dot matrix of LEDs for forward illumination or do away with side mirrors. However, Volkswagen did more than just show off another concept. It included some meaningful specifications and a target launch date of 2021 for the electric transporter.  (Read More…)

By on February 6, 2018

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2018

Nobody knows why the custom van lifestyle ended. Despite the keep on truckin’ imperative, the 1970s ended and took those kaleidoscopic fun-wagons with it. Maybe the Baby Boomers grew up and decided to stop smoking weed in the back of large vehicles with words like “Vandy Apple” painted on the side so they could get a real job and start smoking weed at home.

Perhaps the trend simply passed and foreign-built economy cars were the next must-have item. All we know for sure is that it was a mistake.

Fortunately, vans have only gotten better since the ’70s ended. The objectively perfect minivan had its heyday when leisure travel vans still held a corner of the market. While not so popular anymore, the van’s unparalleled versatility has kept it a viable option for work fleets and individual private owners who want a jack-of-all-trades vehicle in the driveway.

Mercedes-Benz is hip to this, revealing its third-generation Sprinter with all the customizable variables one would expect. However, it’s also adding load of new technologies and hardware as part of the brand’s “adVANce” philosophy. That includes new internet integration, driveline configurations, and a forthcoming electric model. Does this amount to the most exciting model in Mercedes’ lineup? (Read More…)

By on February 21, 2017

2017 Ford Transit and Transit Connect - Image: Ford

On the surface, little Euro vans seem to make so much sense. Not every contractor needs a football field’s worth of space behind two front seats.

City-friendly exterior dimensions, a more affordable price tag, and four-cylinder fuel economy should, in theory, cause Bob the Builder or Handy Manny to take a serious look.

But enticing as the idea sounds, the value quotient proffered by 2017’s crop of five small commercial vans simply doesn’t add up for the overwhelming majority of commercial van buyers. Sure, the Ford Transit Connect may be a decent deal. But the Ford Transit is a comparatively great deal.

As a result, full-size commercial van sales are consistently on the rise. But small commercial van sales? Plunging like Paul the Plumber. (Read More…)

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. (Read More…)

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.

(Read More…)

By on April 18, 2015

USA commercial van sales chart March 2015Commercial van sales are on the rise in the United States. But of greater interest than the improvements – total sales jumped 14% to 356,814 units in 2014 and are up 26% to 87,866 year-to-date – is the constant change in the category. (Read More…)

By on February 10, 2015

2014 Ford Transit ConnectFord’s second-generation Transit Connect is losing market share at a furious rate.

However, that’s not a valid commentary on the Transit Connect, but rather a side effect of a revolution in the small commercial van category.

Transit Connect sales jumped 72% in the first month of 2015 to the highest January level in the model’s brief history. 55% of the small commercial van category belonged to the Transit Connect in January 2015, down from 71% in January 2014 despite the Transit Connect’s 1543-unit improvement. (Read More…)

By on December 3, 2013

Fiat Doblo

On the heels of “the biggest thing to happen in the commercial world” that is the Ram ProMaster — whose page links back to our review, of course — the Italo-American truck division has announced the introduction of the ProMaster City in late 2014.

(Read More…)

By on April 17, 2012


The Nissan NV may be an exciting newcomer, but the tried-and-true GM and Ford vans are the staple of the commercial market. Our own Mike Solowiow took exception with the 2007 Chevrolet Express passenger van as a passenger hauler back in 2008. Will the no-frills cargo hauler variant find favor with us here at TTAC? More importantly, can GM’s smorgasbord of configuration options dethrone Ford as the volume van seller during the upcoming T-Series transition?

(Read More…)

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