2006 Ford Econoline Cargo Van Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Ford Econoline Cargo Van

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Ford Econoline Cargo Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 5.4 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 255 hp @ 4500 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 0/0 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2006 Ford Econoline Cargo

  • Although the option of a powerful diesel helps in the engine department, the 2006 Ford Econoline Cargo is still a relic compared to the recently revamped full-size vans from GM.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Massive cargo-hauling ability, wide range of configurations, powerful diesel engine option.

  • Cons

    Offers very few convenience features, aged design, gas-powered V8 engines can't match strength of GM's offerings.

  • What's New for 2006

    Stability control is now standard on the extended-length E-350.

Full 2006 Ford Econoline Cargo Review

What's New for 2006

Stability control is now standard on the extended-length E-350.


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 Econoline vans. The current Econoline 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-use (Econoline Wagon) or commercial-use (Econoline Van) trim. Recreational trim is for large families or people who want customized conversion vans or RVs, while the Econoline Van commercial models are used by tradespeople to cart equipment from job to job.

If you want to purchase a new full-size van for business use, you're going to end up with the Econoline, the Chevrolet Express, the GMC Savana or the Mercedes-engineered Dodge Sprinter. Each is similar in price and size. The GM vans offer more powerful gas-powered V8 engine options and better ride dynamics, while the Sprinter, originally designed for European markets, emphasizes tall cabins, carlike handling and a fuel-efficient turbodiesel five-cylinder engine. The Ford Econoline Cargo is clearly the way to go if you're looking for a strong turbodiesel V8 or a gas V10, since neither competitor has these options. Beyond that, your buying decision should come down to pricing and getting a van configured the way you want it.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

Ford's commercial-use Econoline cargo van is available to the general public in half-ton, three-quarter-ton and one-ton sizes. For those whose hauling needs aren't too intensive, there is the base E-150 model. If you have a bit more on your plate, select the E-250, which comes in two lengths -- regular (211.9 inches) and EXT (231.9). Finally, for contractors with the heaviest payloads (up to 4,000 pounds), there is the E-350 van, also available in regular and extended lengths. In base form, the vans are sparsely equipped -- two vinyl bucket seats, air conditioning, tilt steering wheel adjustment, power mirrors, a two-speaker stereo and 16-inch tires with steel rims. Among the available options are functional items like a second-row bench (so that you can carry the whole crew), a towing package and shorter axle ratios for enhanced towing ability (most with a limited-slip differential), as well as "luxuries" like cloth upholstery, captain's chairs, cruise control, a six-speaker stereo with a CD player and a power group with keyless entry and power windows and locks.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2006 Ford Econoline Cargo is available with four different engines. The 4.6-liter V8 produces 225 horsepower and 286 pound-feet of torque, while the 5.4-liter V8 makes 255 hp 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-hp, 6.8-liter V10 or Ford's 6.0-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V8, which produces 235 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque. All engines come with a four-speed automatic transmission, except the diesel, which gets a five-speed automatic (optional with the V10). Trailer ratings range from 6,400 pounds for an E-150 with the 4.6-liter V8 to 10,000 pounds for an E-350 Super Duty with the 4.10 axle ratio and either the V10 or diesel engine option. In terms of the payloads, the range goes from 7,000 pounds GVWR for the E-150 to 9,400 pounds GVWR for the regular-length E-350.


All Ford Econoline models come standard with four-wheel antilock brakes, second-generation front airbags and seatbelt pre-tensioners for the driver and passenger. A stability control system is standard on the extended-length E-350 but not available on other Econolines. Ford's full-size van earned four out of five stars for both the driver and passenger in the NHTSA's frontal crash test.

Interior Design and Special Features

Besides adding an optional second-row bench to accommodate your staff, you can increase your van's day-to-day livability (for people, anyway) by equipping it with swing-out side glass and fixed rear glass and/or a sliding side cargo door (in place of the standard hinged doors). Maximum cargo capacity ranges from 257 cubic feet in the E-150 to 309 cubic feet in the E-350 Extended.

Driving Impressions

Despite their old-fashioned suspension designs, Ford Econoline Cargo vans feel relatively stable and confident at highway speeds. Given their size, of course, they can be rather cumbersome to park or maneuver through heavy traffic. The Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana have a stronger lineup of gas-powered V8s than the Econoline, and this year GM's vans have an optional diesel V8 with slightly higher output than Ford's Power Stroke diesel. Still, if you're looking for a gas-powered V10 for heavy-duty hauling jobs, Ford is the only manufacturer that offers in a full-size van.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Solid truck

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Ford Econoline Cargo E-250 3dr Van (4.6L 8cyl 4A)

I bought this van for my landscape business. I looked at the Chevy too, and in fact was going to buy a Chevy until I test drove the Ford on a lark. The Ford felt better on the road, and I love it. It did take me a while to get used to the mushy steering, but now I like it over the sharper handling of the Chevy because it takes the road ruts better. The interior plastic gets filthy and stays filthy. The stock mirrors are terrible, huge blind area on the right side of truck. I had no complaint with the fit or finish of the vehicle at all. I would recommend this truck to anyone in some form of trade. That said, if Honda ever made a work van, I would so be there If I could afford it.

Toyota fan

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Ford Econoline Cargo E-250 3dr Van (4.6L 8cyl 4A)

I bought my van about a year and a half ago, and surprisingly, have not had any problems. I had to bring it in for recalls quite a few times, but other than that, it has held up quite well. The interior and exterior are obviously outdated, and need urgent attention, and the fuel economy is pretty bad. Also, I'd like to point out that when I took delivery of my van, I did not notice quite a few blemishes it had from the factory. Bumper was misaligned by a good inch or so, interior panels and roof liner needed to be cut to install the bin package (by the factory) and they cut them leaving frayed edges, smear marks, etc. Bad quality on the finish line of the factory. Waiting for a TOYOTA van.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Excellent workhorse

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Ford Econoline Cargo E-150 3dr Van (4.6L 8cyl 4A)

This van I chose for cost and convenience. Compared it to the Chevy and the Dodge Sprinter. Even loaded and pulling a trailer this van still has power to move. The Chevy with the 4.3 litre 6 did not have it. Warranty, cost of ownership and the reliability of Ford Motor company. The fuel economy is no where near where they stated at 19. It's more like 12-15. It has a decent radio and to add cruise control costs an arm and a leg since it needs to be added by replacing the entire steering column. They told me differently at the dealer. Overall experience is excellent and i am very happy with this van. It's the best choice unless you want to pay $8k more for the Sprinter.

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