Used 2016 Ford Transit Wagon Van Review
Edmunds expert review
With a wide variety of configurations, a choice of powerful and fuel-efficient gasoline and diesel engines and easygoing driving manners, the feature-rich 2016 Ford Transit Wagon offers unique refinement and flexibility among American passenger vans.
What's new for 2016
The passenger-van market has been evolving for several years as a new generation of maneuverable and fuel-efficient models replace the trucklike old guard. One of the most notable trend setters in this group is the 2016 Ford Transit Wagon.
Introduced just last year, the Transit breaks from historic norms with its bright and open interior, excellent visibility, comfortable seating and refined ride quality. Make no mistake, this van can still roll up its sleeves and get to work: You can still haul up to 15 passengers or tow up to 7,500 pounds. It's just a whole lot more pleasant to pilot than its predecessors.
The modest improvements to the 2016 Transit Wagon are aimed at optimizing an already winning formula. On the technology front, the big news is that Ford has ditched its MyFord Touch infotainment system in favor of Sync 3, which boasts a streamlined touchscreen interface that's more user-friendly. Upfitters should be pleased by the newly optional AGM battery (gasoline engines only), auxiliary fuse panels and heavy-duty alternator, as these additions make it easier to meet the extra power requirements of modified vans. Everyone, moreover, will enjoy the newly standard rearview camera.
There are several comparably modern passenger vans on the market, led by the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, the one that started the shift away from boxy, truck-based beasts. It offers loads of flexibility and an agreeable driving character, but it's also expensive. The Ram ProMaster offers only one roof height and requires buyers to go through an upfitter for passenger compartment outfitting; additionally, it's the only direct rival with front-wheel drive. Nissan's NV Passenger Van sticks with a truck frame and offers a V8 engine option, but has fewer body styles and less versatility overall. Each van here will work out well as a passenger hauler, but the well-rounded 2016 Ford Transit Wagon should be at the top of any shopper's list.
Trim levels & features
The 2016 Ford Transit Wagon is offered in XL and XLT trims that are broadly differentiated by some standard convenience features. There are standard- and long-wheelbase models as well as low-, medium- or high-roof body styles. An extended-length body can be had on the long-wheelbase chassis. The base Transit Wagon is the 150, but there's also the heavy-duty Transit 350 with increased payload capacities. Passenger capacity ranges from eight all the way up to 15, depending on body style.
Standard equipment on the XL trim includes 16-inch steel wheels, 60/40-split hinged passenger-side doors on the low-roof body style, a sliding passenger door on the medium- and high-roof body styles, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, full power accessories, front air-conditioning, vinyl front seats, a six-speaker audio system with an audio input jack and a rearview camera.
The XLT trim adds wheel covers, rain-sensing wipers, a chrome grille, two additional front speakers, a CD player with a 4-inch display, cruise control, full-length carpeting, rear air-conditioning, rear dome and map lights and reclining rear seatbacks.
There are numerous service prep packages for the 2016 Transit Wagon -- ranging from school bus packages to ambulance prep -- as well as a variety of choices for seating and colors.
Options can be ordered alone or in packages. Highlights include extended side mirrors, various window configurations, different axle ratios, a heavy-duty towing package, auxiliary fuse panels, a single absorbed glass mat battery (gasoline engines only), leather upholstery, rear parking sensors, a lane-departure warning system, upgraded audio systems, Ford Telematics, basic Sync voice controls (including a USB port) or Ford's new Sync 3 infotainment system with navigation (including upgraded instrumentation, voice controls, USB connectivity, HD radio, satellite radio and a 6.5-inch touchscreen display), and 10- and 15-passenger seating (15-passenger seating is standard on the extended body length, long-wheelbase variant).
A Builders Prep package is available for both trim levels; it deletes the rear seating and floor covering and adds dual heavy-duty batteries, a heavy-duty alternator, a special wiring package and (on the XL) the 4-inch display and CD player. An RV Prep package available for the XLT trim mirrors the Builders Prep package's modifications and adds privacy glass and other available preparations for RV upfitting.
Performance & mpg
The 2015 Ford Transit Wagon's base engine is a 3.7-liter V6 good for 275 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. For more power, the Transit can be fitted with a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that generates 310 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. Also available is a turbocharged 3.2-liter diesel-powered inline five-cylinder rated at 185 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, though you can't get this engine with the regular wheelbase. All Transits come with a six-speed automatic transmission that sends the power to the rear wheels.
Payload and towing capacities vary depending on the model, but can be as high as 4,560 pounds for payload and 7,500 pounds for towing when properly equipped.
Because of the rules governing commercial vehicles, there's only limited fuel economy data on the Transit Wagon available from the EPA. The regular-wheelbase Transit Wagon with the 3.7-liter V6 is EPA-rated at 16 mpg combined (14 city/19 highway). The same model powered by the 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 is good for the same numbers.
A CNG/Propane engine prep package is also available for the 3.7-liter V6.
All Transit Wagons get stability control, antilock brakes and frontal, side curtain and front side-impact airbags and a rearview camera as standard equipment. Rear parking sensors and a lane-departure warning system are options; note that the latter is included with the Sync 3 touchscreen upgrade.
In government crash testing, the Transit Wagon was awarded four out of five stars for front crash protection and five stars for side crash protection.
The 2016 Ford Transit Wagon handles the road in a way no truck-based van could hope to match. The steering responds easily and gives feedback more like a family car than a full-size truck. A relatively tight turning circle is another welcome attribute of the Transit. Well-managed road and wind noise make the Transit's cabin quieter than the norm for full-size vans, although pelting rain hammers the roof and can generate noise in the wheelwells.
The Transit's standard 3.7-liter V6 has respectable power, but may be a bit lacking for those planning to transport a lot of passengers on a regular basis. If that's you, the turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 is a desirable upgrade. The 3.2-liter diesel is quiet and gutsy, though it ultimately lacks the oomph of the 3.5-liter V6. Like the other two engines, it cooperates almost invisibly with the standard six-speed automatic transmission.
Stepping into the 2016 Ford Transit Wagon after coming out of an old-school, truck-based passenger van is somewhat akin to getting a new smartphone after hanging up your old curly-corded, rotary dial desktop model. It's difficult to believe all the features you've lived without for so long.
Compared to the old Ford E-Series van, the Transit boasts a generously low step-in height. There's no more climbing and clambering over wide sills to enter the cabin, and no need to use the rear bumper as a stair when stepping inside the cargo area either, thanks to a low floor. For the dashboard, the look is more family minivan than truck. The tall center console, close-to-hand gear selector and easy-to-access audio and climate controls work in harmony to make the drive go more smoothly. If you care about the latest infotainment technology, the simplified Sync 3 interface offers myriad improvements over the old MyFord Touch system; what's more, the available USB port has been moved for 2016 from low on the center console to a more accessible position above the cupholders.
Springing for the XLT trim is worth the cost merely for the cloth upholstery and cruise control, particularly if you plan to use the Transit on long highway hauls. Passenger-seat layouts run the gamut, depending on the selected length. The standard setup is for eight, with the option for 10 on the regular-wheelbase models. Move to the long wheelbase and there is the option for 15-passenger seating, becoming standard if you select the long-wheelbase/extended-length Transit Wagon. Maneuvering to the back rows of seating in all configurations is easy thanks to generous spaces between the seats, but the final row in the 10-, 12- and 15-passenger wagons has four very narrow seats, so don't plan on putting full-size adults back there for too long.
Maximum cargo volume behind the first seating row ranges from a healthy 224.5 in the medium-height low-roof model to an appropriately cavernous 461.9 cubes in the long-wheelbase/extended-length model with the high roof.
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.