If you're in need of a full-size passenger van, whether it be for your business, social group or family, there are few that do it better than the 2017 Ford Transit Wagon. Seating for eight is standard, increasing to 10, 12 or 15 passengers depending on roof height, wheelbase distance and body length options. Even with so much of the cabin taken up by occupants, there's still plenty of room for their luggage. In the 15-passenger configuration, cargo room behind the last row stands at just over 100 cubic feet, or nearly three times the area behind the back row in a Honda Odyssey.
Each new model year brings the passenger-friendly Transit further away from its forebear, the iconic Econoline. The list of improvements is short compared to last year's additions of the Sync 3 infotainment system and standard rearview camera. Still, there are a few new features that help disguise the fact that the Wagon is, at its heart, a modified version of a large cargo van. The front seats now have seat heaters when leather upholstery is specified, and you can order power-retractable running boards for 2017 to help your passengers get in and out.
The Transit isn't your only choice for a big passenger van this year. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is more expensive and carries fewer people (with a maximum of 12 passengers) but there are available luxury features that cannot be ordered on the Transit. The Nissan NV Passenger Van can tow more than the Transit, but it also only seats 12 and body options are more limited. The Ram ProMaster offers only one roof height and requires buyers to go through an upfitter for passenger compartment outfitting. Each of these rivals could be worth a look, but the 2017 Ford Transit Wagon could well be the best of the bunch considering its well-rounded nature.
All Transit Vans get stability control, antilock brakes, and frontal, side curtain and front side-impact airbags and a rearview camera as standard equipment. A new standard system called Side Wind Stabilization helps keep the Transit tracking straight if it is hit by wind gusts. Rear parking sensors and a lane departure warning system are options; note that the latter is included with the Sync 3 infotainment 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.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Ford Transit Van is a full-size cargo van offered in a single trim level. There are standard- and long-wheelbase models as well as low-, medium- and high-roof body styles. An extended-length body can be had on the long-wheelbase chassis. Depending on the configuration, the Transit also can be selected to handle increasing gross vehicle weight ratings: Transit 150, Transit 250 and Transit 350.
Standard equipment for the Transit Van includes 16-inch steel wheels, a rearview camera, a hinged passenger-side door (sliding on medium- and high-roof models), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, full power accessories, remote locking/unlocking, front air-conditioning, vinyl upholstery, a two-speaker stereo with an auxiliary input jack and tie-down loops and LED lighting in the cargo area.
Options can be ordered alone or come as part of packages. Highlights include long-arm exterior mirrors, various window choices, different axle ratios, dual sliding rear cargo doors, power-retractable running boards, cruise control, rear parking sensors, leather upholstery, automatic headlights and wipers, a lane departure warning system, remote engine start, rear air-conditioning, a spray-in liner for the cargo area, Ford Telematics, Ford's Sync voice controls with a 4-inch multifunction display or the Sync 3 infotainment interface with navigation, HD and satellite radio, a USB port and a 6.5-inch touchscreen. A heavy-duty trailering package is also offered.
The base engine in the 2017 Ford Transit Van is a 3.7-liter V6 delivering 275 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. All Transit Vans are rear-wheel drive and come equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual mode.
Upgrades include a turbocharged 3.2-liter five-cylinder diesel rated at 185 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, and a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 capable of 310 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. A CNG/propane engine prep package option is available for the 3.7-liter V6.
Although payloads and towing capacities were not available at time of publication, they shouldn't change much from last year's model. Capacities vary with each model, ranging from 2,740 pounds to 4,560 pounds for payload and from 2,900 pounds to 7,500 pounds for towing when properly equipped.
Fuel economy for 2017 wasn't available at the time of publishing, but we don't expect the Transit's fuel economy to change much (if at all) from last year. Last year's regular-wheelbase Transit Wagon passenger van with the 3.7-liter V6 was EPA-rated at 16 mpg combined (14 mpg city/18 mpg highway). The same model powered by the 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 was marginally different, earning 16 mpg combined (15 city/19 highway). Because of the rules governing commercial vehicles, there's no other fuel economy data available for the Transit's other models.
You'll likely be impressed with the way the 2017 Ford Transit Wagon goes down 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.
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 2017 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, using the new-for-last-year Sync 3 interface feels like operating your smartphone. Large virtual buttons are easy to press if you aren't paying strict attention to the screen, and the navigation system incorporates familiar functions like pinch-to-zoom and swiping gestures.
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 row ranges from a healthy 224.5 cubic feet 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.