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CarGurus Expert ReviewThe Good
Durable and powerful V8 engines, plenty of seating configurations, a sizable cargo area, and nearly limitless customization options are hallmarks of the 2010 Ford E-Series Wagon.The Bad
Beyond-retro styling, not-always-accommodating road manners, tepid interior surfaces, a dearth of basic comforts, and cramped rear seating will never allow the E-Series Wagon to be confused with a luxury touring sedan, and its fuel economy is depressing.
The CarGurus View
Purposeful and steady, the 2010 Ford E-Series Wagon gets people from here to there in an inelegant yet effective manner. A higher roofline, all-wheel-drive availability, spiffed-up styling, and fold-down seats would make this a world-class wagon. Additionally, the return of the turbodiesel V8 might also bring some gas-pump respectability.
At a Glance
To get a lot of passengers from point A to point B, the 2010 Ford E-Series Wagon, with up to five rows of seating, will do the job effectively, if not especially stylishly. Essentially unchanged since the Ice Age, at least as far as exterior design, this people-hauler has been updated enough over the years to keep the Dodge Sprinters, GMC Savanas, and Chevy Expresses of the world on their toes. A choice of three V8 engines, as well as two transmissions, ensures potent performance, though many reviewers and owners regret Ford’s decision to drop the efficient and torque-laden turbodiesel V8.
The E-Series Wagon is available in three trim lines, the E-150, E-350 Super-Duty, and E350 Super-Duty Extended (Ext). Each trim line includes a base and basic XL and a somewhat more plush XLT version. All have split-opening or sliding cargo doors on the passenger side as well as rear split-opening cargo doors. Cargo area is a spacious 237 cubic feet for the standard-length trims, and a downright enormous 275 cubic feet for the E-350 Super-Duty Ext. Overall length for standard-length E-Series Wagons is 18 feet, with the E-350 Super-Duty Ext. versions stretched to nearly twenty feet. All-wheel drive (AWD) is, alas, not available for any of the E-Series trims.
Interestingly, the E-Series Wagon’s two bigger V8 engines are both slated for a bit of tweaking to allow them to burn either compressed natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas. These over-the-top flex fuel tweaks are rumored to be available on trims manufactured later in the 2010 model year.
The base powerplant for the 2010 E-Series Wagon lineup, standard in the E-150 XL and XLT trims, is a 4.6-liter Flex Fuel (FFV) V8 that, with its standard four-speed automatic transmission, puts out 225 hp and 286 lb-ft of torque. Capable of burning E85 ethanol-based fuel, this small eight can tow 6,500 pounds when properly equipped.
Next up on the drivetrain list is a 5.4-liter FFV V8 that, along with its standard four-speed automatic, claws the pavement with 255 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. This combo will tow up to 7,500 pounds of trailer, again with the proper equipment. The 5.4-liter V8 is standard in the E-350 Super-Duty and optional for the E-150 trims.
Finally, an option with the E-350 Super-Duty trims is a 305-hp, 420-lb-ft/torque 6.8-liter V10 and its accompanying five-speed automatic transmission. Able to tow over 10,000 pounds when properly equipped, this oversize engine is obviously far from the most economical powerplant in the auto world, with one reviewer claiming an average of 11.8 mpg under ordinary driving conditions. EPA fuel-efficiency figures are unavailable for any of the E-Series V8s, though rest assured that none are especially frugal.
Most reviewers note that the 4.6-liter V8 is underpowered, less than economical, and suitable only for light-duty applications. The 5.4-liter V8, on the other hand, is recommended by virtually all reviewers as the engine of choice for most common tasks assigned this versatile wagon.
Ride & Handling
The entire 2010 E-Series Wagon lineup rides on a twin-I-beam front independent suspension with front stabilizer bar. The rear suspension is a solid live axle design that’s common to the breed, though not especially passenger friendly to those seated in the two rear rows, where bumps and road imperfections are more pronounced. All trims roll on 16-inch steel wheels and all-season radial tires, with forged aluminum rims available for the XLT trim levels.
Handling characteristics for these bulky wagons are described by professional reviewers as considerably less than nimble, with pronounced corner lean at anything beyond a sedate pace. Maneuvering these lengthy leviathans in city traffic and crowded parking lots, as most reviewers have also noted, requires dexterity and patience. Steering is solid, if a bit heavy, while stopping power on standard four-wheel disc brakes is powerful and true, though obviously not quite up to minivan status.
In short, most reviewers agree that the E-Series Wagon is no worse and no better than most of the competition handling-wise, while ride comfort may be just a shade less than the Express or the Savana. Additionally, the E-Series Wagon, with its tall stance and boxy design, leads reviewers to preach caution when driving these rear-wheel-drive-only wagons in windy weather and to note that traction is somewhat degraded on wet pavement without a significant load.
Cabin & Comfort
Neither plush nor luxurious, pampering nor cozy, the 2010 E-Series Wagon is a utilitarian vehicle with limited garnishing, but a few elemental amenities. The base XL E-150 and E-350 Super-Duty trims are delivered with standard vinyl front bucket seats, three, four, or five rows of rear bench seating, tilt-wheel steering, manual air conditioning, an AM/FM stereo with six speakers, and phone pre-wiring. Ext. trims for the 15-passenger E-350 Super-Duty also feature standard rear heating and air conditioning outlets. Upping the ante, all E-Series XLT trims add power windows, doors, and mirrors, front captain’s chairs, cloth upholstery, cruise control, front and rear air conditioning units, front floor mats, and a single-CD player, still with six speakers.
Options for the XL trims include virtually all the XLT’s additional standard items, while DVD navigation, satellite radio, rearview camera, Bluetooth communications technology, step running boards, and an in-dash computer with wireless mouse and printer are available for both trims. An additional Premium Package, including leather-trimmed upholstery, front- and second-row captain’s chairs, electronic vehicle monitoring center, Ford’s SYNC infotainment system, and forged aluminum wheels, is available for the XLT versions.
Reviewers, to a person, find the E-Series cabin to be downright minimalist, but gauges are easy to read and controls logically placed and well-marked. A significant re-design for 2008 resulted in a dashboard that more closely resembles 21st-century ergonomic thinking, while optional equipment creates at least an illusion of cabin comfort. Seats, however, have been noted by many reviewers as not-so-agreeable, and passenger legroom is at a premium in all rear rows of seats. Additionally, reviewers are hard-pressed to find any positives regarding the fact that the non-folding rear seats in all trims must be physically removed, a daunting task, indeed, to access this wagon’s capacious cargo area.
The 2010 E-Series Wagon lineup depends on its significant size and weight to keep passengers safe, while standard four-wheel disc ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution, along with recently standard traction and stability control also help considerably safety-wise. Daytime running lights, a remote anti-theft alarm system, and a dash-mounted passenger airbag deactivation switch are all available safety options.
Tested only for rollover protection, the 2010 E-Series Wagon received three stars for passenger safety from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). No testing data at all for this versatile passenger wagon is available from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
What Owners Think
Though impressed with the 2010 E-Series Wagon’s spacious passenger and cargo area, owners are less than overwhelmed by its dismal fuel economy, dated exterior, and low-end cabin surfaces. The lack of all-wheel-drive (AWD) availability also hampers efforts to garner owner appreciation kudos.
Owners do, however, appreciate the hefty towing capacities of this V8-powered rig, and such niceties as the available DVD navigation system and the Ford Work Solutions in-dash computer also draw praise and salutations. Finally, an almost unlimited number of customization configurations have this sizeable wagon earning its keep with transportation companies, ambulance services, tour guides, and surfers worldwide.
by Eric Tallberg
Talk about the 2010 Ford E-Series Wagon
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Ford E-Series Wagon Questions
How Much Would It Cost To Take Out The Std 24" Seats And Put In 26.5" Seats...
Seats come standard with 2 cap'n chairs and then 4 rows of 24" seats. How much would it cost to take those seats out and replace them with 26.5" seats with the last row remaining 24"?