Used 2002 Ford Econoline Cargo Review
Buying a commercial van for business use is easy. Pick from Dodge, Ford or General Motors. The Ford is now a decade old in terms of design and engineering, but remains competitive to the Dodge (dating to 1971) and Chevy/GMC twins (circa 1996). If Ford can outfit one they way you want, there's no reason to look elsewhere.
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.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.