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  • 2011 Ford E-Series

Avg. Price Paid:$13,974 - $18,324
Original MSRP: $22,660 - $35,180
MPG: 13 City / 17 Hwy

2011 Ford E-Series Review

This review was written when the 2011 Ford E-Series was new.

While a full-size SUV or a minivan may offer a better driving experience or fuel economy, the E-Series is an ideal workhorse for those who need to transport lots of passengers and cargo.

The big news for 2011 is that the Ford E-Series (formerly called the Econoline) will be celebrating 50 years of production, though you won’t be able to tell by looking at it. For 2011, the E-Series carries over unchanged.

Tracing its roots back to 1992, the current E-Series received its last major overhauls in 2008 and 2009. Ford updated the exterior in 2008 with new front-end styling mimicking its F-Series Super Duty truck. The following year it updated the interior with a new dash design that Edmunds points out, “no longer time-warps you straight back to 1992.”

Ford’s updates to the E-Series have made the van better over the years, but it is far from class leading. However, if towing is important to you, the E-Series may be your best bet. It offers a towing capacity of up to 10,000 pounds -- 300 more than what the Chevrolet Express or GMC Savana can muster.

Businesses will also enjoy the availability of Ford’s Work Solutions computer system. Consisting of an in-dash computer it can be equipped with tool tracking and even fleet tracking, which allows businesses to track and keep in contact with its vehicles. That makes it easier to manage and dispatch multiple vehicles, which can help save time and fuel.

Unless the towing capacity or space of an E-Series is absolutely needed, reviewers suggest consumers look at minivans because they offer lots of cargo and passenger space, but use much less fuel than a work van does.

Other Vans to Consider

The Ford E-Series may be the best-selling full-size van, that doesn’t make it the best van on the market. Although the full-size van market has remained relatively stagnant for some time, the E-Series still has worthy competitors. General Motors’ Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana both offer all-wheel drive, which isn’t even available on the E-Series. They also offer side airbags, another feature the E-Series lacks.

Mercedes-Benz’s Sprinter (formerly the Dodge Sprinter) offers standard diesel power and an available “High Roof” option for more cargo room. Unfortunately, the Sprinter’s 5,000-pound towing capacity can’t match the Ford’s available 10,000-pound tow rating. Furthermore, the Sprinter starts at about $12,000 more then a base E-Series.

Although significantly smaller than the E-Series, Ford’s own Transit Connect is a viable alternative for those who can do without its cargo space and towing capacity. The Transit Connect gets much better gas mileage, though it can only seat up to five passengers.

Details: The Ford E-Series

The Ford E-Series comes in two models for the consumer market: the E-150 and the beefier E-350. Both offer a range of V8 and V10 engines. E-150 vans come in regular length configurations, while buyers can opt for a regular or extended-length E-350. The E-Series is available as a passenger van (which Ford calls the E-Series wagon) or a cargo van. Regular-length E-Series wagons can hold up to 12 people, but the extended-length models can handle up to 15.

The 2011 E-150 is available in several trims: the base XL, mid-level XLT or top-of-the-line XLT Premium. The E-350 can only be purchased in XL or XLT trims.

  • "Offered in commercial and passenger versions, these are rugged vans adaptable to a wide range of jobs. New high-tech features such as nav and Internet access enhance usefulness." -- Car and Driver
  • "GM's vans offer all-wheel drive and driver-side cargo doors, but otherwise, Econoline lags GM's offerings only in quietness. The same goes for cargo versions. Still, most minivans can do a full-sizer's job except when it comes to outright load space and towing capability." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Whether you need to transport up to 15 people or an apartment's worth of furniture, the Econoline is up to the task." -- Edmunds
  • "If you need to move a lot of cargo or people, few vehicles are better equipped to do so than the E-Series." -- Kelley Blue Book
Review Last Updated: 6/23/10

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