Full 2013 Ford E-Series Wagon Review
What's New for 2013
As it enters its final year of full production, the Ford E-Series Wagon returns essentially unchanged for 2013.
Do you need to transport an entire basketball team at once? If you do, the 2013 Ford E-Series Wagon (it's really a van) is one of the few vehicles capable of seating 15 people. Just don't be too surprised if you hear complaints from said athletes. As it is, the E-Series is more about quantity than quality.
Compared to pretty much any vehicle on sale today, the E-Series, or Econoline, vans are lumbering dinosaurs that have fallen woefully behind the times. The E-Series Wagon represents a model that is geared more toward people hauling as opposed to the E-Series Van, which is intended for cargo. Despite this, amenities and passenger protection are in such short supply that some may feel that they're being transported in the cargo hold of a jet.
Under the abbreviated hood, the outdated theme continues. The base 4.6-liter V8 engine seems barely capable of moving this behemoth, and the ride quality is notably crude by SUV standards. Not much can be done to improve ride comfort, but there are at least more powerful engines available. If this sort of old-school brawn is what you need, we wouldn't wait too long to pick one up, as Ford plans to phase out the E-Series in the coming year in favor of the European-flavored, full-size Transit van.
In the 2013 Ford E-Series Wagon's defense, the Chevrolet Express and its GMC Savana twin are just as behind the times. In light of this, we suggest checking out the 2013 Nissan NV, which delivers more comfort, side curtain airbags and pleasant driving dynamics. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is also a superior van, though it's more expensive.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Ford E-Series Wagon is available in three basic configurations: eight-passenger E-150, 12-passenger E-350 Super Duty and 15-passenger E-350 Super Duty Extended. Each model is offered in base XL and XLT trim.
Standard XL features include 16-inch steel wheels, vinyl upholstery and floor coverings, front air-conditioning, a tilt-only steering wheel and a six-speaker AM/FM radio with an auxiliary audio jack. The uplevel XLT adds chrome bumpers, cloth upholstery, carpeting, rear air-conditioning, cruise control, power accessories, a CD player and auxiliary audio input.
The XLT is available with the Premium package, which includes alloy wheels, running boards, leather-trimmed quad captain's chairs, a power driver seat, keyless entry, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, privacy glass, Sync voice activation and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Other available options include a sliding passenger-side door (as opposed to the standard swing-open dual doors), power mirrors, telescoping towing mirrors, upgraded towing packages, a household power outlet, Ford Work Solutions options for commercial use, different seating configurations, an in-dash six-CD changer, a navigation system and a rearview camera.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2013 E-Series Wagon is offered with a choice of three engines. Standard on the E-150 is a 4.6-liter V8 that produces 225 horsepower and 286 pound-feet of torque. Optional on the E-150 and standard on all E-350 models is a 5.4-liter V8 that makes 255 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. Both 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 comes with the V10. Properly equipped, an E-350 can tow up to 10,000 pounds.
Fuel estimates vary depending on axle ratios. The 4.6-liter V8 turns in an EPA-estimated 13 mpg city/16 mpg highway and 14 mpg in combined driving. The 5.4-liter engine is rated at 12/16/13 mpg for the E-150 and 11/15/13 mpg for the E-350. The 6.8-liter V10 is estimated at 10/13/11 mpg.
All E-Series passenger vans come standard with four-wheel antilock disc brakes and stability control. Side airbags and parking sensors are not available, but a rearview camera is offered as an option.
Interior Design and Special Features
Inside the 2013 Ford E-Series vans, function definitely takes priority over form. The XL trim is decidedly spartan with its vinyl flooring and upholstery. XLT trims dress things up with carpeting and cloth seats, but only slightly.
Pleasing shapes and creature comforts are nearly absent, too, with blocky, industrial shapes dominating the cabin and padded surfaces also at a premium. Fortunately, controls are well placed and storage is plentiful. Opting for the captain's chairs provides better comfort, but legroom can be tight for second-row passengers.
The base 4.6-liter V8 seems ill-suited for such a utilitarian and brawny hauler as the 2013 Ford E-Series Wagon. It is just barely sufficient for motivating light loads, and acceleration is lethargic at best. Either of the more powerful engines will likely satisfy most drivers, but we still wish Ford offered a diesel option. The big van drives just about how you'd expect. The turning circle is enormous and any change in direction is accompanied by a sizable amount of body roll. Passengers used to a carlike ride will probably find the E-Series a bit crude but forgivable, considering its impressive utility.