Full 2014 Ford E-Series Van Review
What's New for 2014
The 2014 E-Series Van carries over unchanged.
Large cargo vans have always been a great option for business fleets and independent contractors alike. Not only do these vans offer more protection from weather and would-be thieves than pickup trucks, they provide a lot of space and countless storage options for all your gear. The 2014 Ford E-Series Van has dominated this market for years, but compared with other cargo vans you might consider, Ford's entry is now way out of date and has some significant drawbacks.
One of these is the E-Series Van's extremely basic interior. Granted, you can outfit this van with numerous bins, drawers and racks, but the seats and interior panels are of low quality, even by cargo van standards. Further, Ford doesn't offer a high-roof option for the E-Series, so contractors who want to stand up and work inside their van will be forced to stoop. On the road, the 2014 E-Series Van's base 4.6-liter V8 engine also feels like it's from an earlier era. It's sluggish off the line and really isn't powerful enough to motivate a fully loaded van. Opting for the larger V8 or even the V10 engine is a must if you're planning any significant highway travel.
In fairness, the E-Series' traditional rivals, the 2014 Chevrolet Express Cargo and GMC Savana, aren't exactly spring chickens either, but their available diesel V8 engine gives them an advantage over the Ford if you'll be hauling or towing exceptionally heavy loads. That said, if there's some flexibility in your budget, the more modern 2014 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, 2013 Nissan NV and 2014 Ram Promaster are far more desirable, as they offer nicer interiors, optional high-roof configurations and a more pleasant overall driving experience. In the face of this newer competition, the 2014 Ford E-Series Van really only makes sense if you're shopping for a full-size cargo van on a slim budget.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
A full-size cargo van, the 2014 Ford E-Series Van is offered in three variants. Shoppers with lighter-capacity needs can start with the E-150 model, while those with more demanding requirements should focus on the E-250 and E-350 Super Duty models. These heavier-duty vehicles come in two different lengths -- 216 inches for the regular version and 236 inches for the Extended model.
Intended as a commercial workhorse, the E-Series Van is short on creature comforts. Standard features are limited to 16-inch steel wheels, vinyl front bucket seats, vinyl front floor coverings, front air-conditioning, a tilt-only steering wheel, manual telescoping mirrors and a two-speaker AM/FM radio with an auxiliary audio jack.
Available options include alloy wheels, a limited-slip differential, chrome exterior trim, power-adjustable and manually telescoping mirrors, running boards, a sliding side door, towing packages with optimized axle ratios, a household power outlet, power windows and locks, rear air-conditioning, a power-adjustable driver seat, a second-row bench seat, interior insulation, cloth upholstery, captain's chairs, cruise control, keyless entry, a navigation system, Ford's Sync voice control system, a rearview camera, satellite radio and a four-speaker CD stereo.
For the business on wheels that demands additional customization, there are several special packages that equip the E-Series with a variety of racks, bins and drawers, as well as the optional Crew Chief service, which keeps tabs on vans in its fleet, tracking location, speed, idle time and maintenance schedules.
Powertrains and Performance
The rear-wheel-drive 2014 E-Series Van has three available engines. Standard on the E-150 and E-250 is a 4.6-liter V8 that produces 225 horsepower and 286 pound-feet of torque. Optional on the E-150/250 and standard on all E-350 models is a 5.4-liter V8 engine that makes 255 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. Both V8 engines are paired with a four-speed automatic transmission. E-350 buyers can upgrade to a 6.8-liter V10 that churns out 305 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic is standard with the V10.
The EPA rates the E-150 and E-250 with the 4.6-liter V8 at 15 mpg combined (13 city/16 highway). With the 5.4-liter engine, these vans are rated at 14 mpg combined (12 city/16 highway). The E-350 is rated at 13 mpg combined (12/16) with the 5.4-liter V8 and 12 mpg combined (10/14) with the V10. Keep in mind that your fuel economy will vary depending on the axle ratio you choose.
Properly equipped, an E-150 with the 5.4-liter V8 can tow up to 7,500 pounds, while the heavier E-250 tops out at 7,400 pounds with this engine. The V10-equipped E-350 tops out at 10,000 pounds.
All 2014 E-Series Vans come standard with four-wheel antilock disc brakes and stability control. A rearview camera is offered as an option.
Interior Design and Special Features
Inside the 2014 Ford E-Series vans, function definitely takes priority over form. The cabin is decidedly spartan with its vinyl flooring and upholstery, but you can civilize it a bit by opting for front captain's chairs, an insulation package, an upgraded audio package with a navigation system, and/or a sliding side cargo door.
Regardless, blocky, industrial shapes dominate this aged cabin and padded surfaces are rare, even by cargo van standards. Fortunately, the controls are simple to use and storage is plentiful, plus you can always add more bins and drawers if needed. Still, the E-Series gives you less flexibility than newer vans. There's no optional driver-side sliding door, nor are there different roof heights. Standard-length vans have a maximum cargo capacity of 237 cubic feet, while extended-length vans check in with 275 cubic feet of space.
The base 4.6-liter V8 is not really suited for a brawny hauler like the 2014 Ford E-Series cargo van, at least not if you're trying to keep pace in highway traffic. It's passable if you're only driving in the city or carrying light loads, but most drivers will be happier with the stronger performance from the larger V8 or V10. The V10 is thirsty, however, and you'll likely find that the diesel engines in the Ram Promaster, Sprinter and GM cargo vans offer superior efficiency and lower running costs.
Otherwise, the E-Series Van drives about how you'd expect. The turning circle is enormous, and you'll want to take it easy around turns, as any change in direction tends to upset the van's composure. Compared with newer cargo vans and trucks, the Ford has a harsh, bumpy ride, but if utility is the overriding priority, you probably won't think twice about this aspect of the driving experience.