European-inspired Transit set to replace longstanding E-series in North America
TORONTO—There are few who will argue there is a more intimidating, road-hogging utilitarian vehicle on the road than the pickup truck.
Those are the few who have yet to see the 2014 Ford Transit, the blue oval’s latest entry into the North American full-size commercial van lineup.
Ford hopes the burly European-inspired Transit can garner some of the market share currently owned by DaimlerChrysler’s Sprinter van, first brought to North American shores in 2001.
With its bull dog nose and versatility to spare, the Transit is a game-changer for Ford in Canada, replacing the popular E-series vans sold here for over 50 years.
According to Ford, the Transit will top the longstanding E-series’ fuel economy by an average of 25 per cent and offer a variety of wheelbases, body lengths and roof heights, as well as van, wagon, chassis cab and cutaway variations.
“We’ll have a regular, medium and high roof height,” said Darren Halabisky, marketing plans manager for trucks with Ford Canada.
“We’ll also have multiple wheelbases, and multiple body lengths for the vehicle, so what we’re ultimately able to do is provide customers with a lot more capability right out of the factory.”
Moving away from the big engines the E-series was known for, Ford said the 2014 Transit will come equipped with 3.7-litre V6, with available 3.5-litre EcoBoost and all-new 3.2-litre five-cylinder PowerStroke Diesel engine options.
Ford also said the standard 3.7-litre engine is available with a compressed natural gas/liquid propane gas (CNG/LPG) prep kit.
Aimed at bringing a low cost of ownership to the table, Ford said the Transit’s scheduled maintenance costs for a three-year usage cycle are projected to be more than 30 per cent less than rival Chevrolet’s Express 1500 with the standard 4.3-litre V6.
This, Ford said, gives the Transit the lowest cost of ownership per cubic foot of cargo transported.
“The combination of those fuel efficient engines, the vehicle structure and the lightweighting that has gone into the vehicle itself will help drive that operating cost reduction,” Halabisky said.
With a high roof line and extended body length, the jumbo configuration comes with a whopping 14,000 litres of cargo space in the back, meaning the largest Transit can haul the volume of two current models of its predecessor E-series, all the while offering pleasant interior styling and comfort.
Sitting in the driver’s seat it’s hard to believe you’re in a commercial van, with the Transit’s interior style only outmatched by its functionality.
With its dashboard-dominating heads-up display screen attracting much of the interior attention, the Transit boasts a great use of cockpit space without feeling clunky.
With Ford estimating global commercial vehicle sales will grow by almost five million to 21 million units annually by 2017, the automaker isn’t shy about the opportunity Transit represents for the world’s second-largest commercial vehicle manufacturer.
Expect the full-size Transit to hit showroom floors in the fall.