Full 2014 Ford E-Series Wagon Review
What's New for 2014
The 2014 Ford E-Series Wagon carries over unchanged.
If you need to transport a tour group to the river, a little league team to the big game, or an entire office staff on a weekend retreat, then a full-size van might be the best choice. Large passenger vans like the 2014 Ford E-Series Wagon offer far more seating capacity than full-size SUVs and eliminate the need to take multiple vehicles (or rent a bus). In spite of its potential 15-passenger capacity, though, the 2014 Ford E-Series Wagon is seriously outdated compared with other full-size vans you might consider.
For starters, the Ford's base 4.6-liter V8 engine is weak. It simply isn't powerful enough to move this large van with any urgency, especially when it's fully loaded. Either of the two optional, larger engines are better choices, but they're also less fuel-efficient. Meanwhile, the ride quality can charitably be described as rudimentary, and any modern SUV will ride more comfortably than an E-Series Wagon. Beyond that, interior amenities and safety features are scarce. While the E-Series can be upgraded with items like carpeting, leather upholstery and even a navigation system, these comforts can't disguise the fact that the Ford offers basic accommodations and nothing more.
Of course, other large passenger vans aren't really packed with extravagant extras, either. That said, the 2014 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana, which also represent one of the older designs in the full-size van segment, can be equipped with an available diesel V8 engine, which makes them more capable and efficient when hauling large passenger loads or towing a trailer. The 2013 Nissan NV is a step up from the domestic vans with its highly customizable and more modern interior. However, the Nissan's 12-passenger maximum might be a deal breaker for some shoppers. If you can afford its higher price of admission, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is by far the roomiest and most refined van of this bunch and will likely provide the best fuel economy.
Although the 2014 Ford E-Series Wagon remains an economical choice for moving larger numbers of people, in our view, any of its competitors will make for a more enjoyable journey in the long run.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Ford E-Series Wagon is a full-size passenger van that's 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, Ford's Sync voice control interface 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, a navigation system and a rearview camera. Also optional is Ford Work Solutions, which keeps tabs on vans in a commercial fleet, tracking location, speed, idle time and maintenance.
Powertrains and Performance
The rear-wheel-drive 2014 E-Series Wagon has three available 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-150 with the 5.4-liter V8 can tow up to 7,000 pounds, while the E-350 with the V10 engine tops out at 10,000 pounds.
Fuel estimates vary depending on axle ratios. The 4.6-liter V8 turns in an EPA-estimated 14 mpg combined (13 city/16 highway). The 5.4-liter engine is rated at 13 mpg combined (12/16) for the E-150 and 13 mpg combined (11/15) for the E-350. The E-350 with the 6.8-liter V10 is rated at 11 mpg combined (10/13).
All 2014 E-Series Passenger Vans come standard with four-wheel antilock disc brakes and stability control. Side airbags are not available, but 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 XL trim is decidedly spartan with its vinyl flooring and upholstery. The 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 engine is not really suited for a brawny hauler like the 2014 Ford E-Series Wagon, at least not if you're trying to keep pace in normal traffic. Acceleration is lethargic, and unless you're carrying only light passenger loads (arguably defeating the point of buying such a large van), either of the more powerful engines is a better bet. Performance from both the 5.4-liter V8 and the 6.8-liter V10 will likely satisfy most drivers, but Ford does not offer a diesel option.
Otherwise, the big van drives about how you'd expect. The turning circle is enormous, and you'll want to take it slow around turns, as any change in direction is apt to upset the van's composure. Passengers used to riding in modern SUVs will probably find the E-Series Wagon's ride harsh and bumpy. It's forgivable considering the age of this van platform, but competitors are noticeably more comfortable during highway travel.