What's New for 2002
A tilt steering wheel, full-length vinyl floor covering and a low fuel indicator have been added as standard equipment. If cruise control is ordered, the switches are backlit at night and a cruise-on indicator glows in the gauge cluster.
Tough, roomy, rugged and reliable, Ford's Econoline Van has a favorable, well-earned reputation. Since the van's introduction in 1960, Ford says it has sold more than 6 million Econolines.
The current lineup is extensive. There are the base-model E-150, the E-250, the E-250 Extended, the tougher E-350 Super Duty and the E-350 Super Duty Extended. Ford equips each of these vehicles in either recreational- or commercial-use trim. Recreational trim is for vans that get outfitted as conversions or RVs, while commercial models are those employed by tradespeople to cart equipment from job to job. It is upon the latter that we will concentrate here.
Econolines come standard with items like driver and passenger second-generation airbags, tilt steering wheel, air conditioning and four-wheel antilock brakes. Major optional equipment for vans (depending on the model) includes an all-around window package, exterior and interior trim upgrades, cruise control, interior racks and bins and a sliding cargo door.
The Econoline is available with five different engines (or six, if you count the special-order 5.4-liter natural gas V8). E-150s, E-250s and E-250 Extended models come with a standard 191-horsepower 4.2-liter V6. Optional on the E-150 and E-250 is either a 4.6-liter V8 or a 5.4-liter V8. The 4.6-liter produces 225 horsepower and 286 pound-feet of torque, while the 5.4-liter makes 255 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. E-350 Super Duty and Super Duty Extended models have the 5.4-liter V8 as standard. To upgrade, you can go with a 305-horsepower 6.8-liter V10 or Ford's 7.3-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V8. This monster cranks out 215 horsepower and 425 lb-ft of torque.
Four-speed automatic transmissions are standard across all models. Trailer ratings range from 6,600 pounds for an E-150 with the six-cylinder engine to 10,000 pounds for an E-350 Super Duty. In terms of payload, the range goes from 6,700 pounds GVWR for the E-150 to 9,500 lbs GVWR for the regular-length E-350. And then there's the matter of cargo space -- up to 309 cubic feet of it.
If you want to purchase a new full-size van, you're going to end up with the Econoline, the Chevrolet Express, the Dodge Ram Wagon or the GMC Savana. All three vehicles are similar in price and size. The GM vans have the advantage in horsepower, but otherwise your buying decision should come down to pricing and getting a van configured the way you want.