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2012 Ford E-Series Passenger Overview
The 2012 Ford E-Series Wagon is the workhorse of the Econoline models. If you are looking at the E-Series Wagon as a passenger van, consider yourself in good company, as it is the preference of many for fleet services. The 2012 E-Series Wagon is essentially unchanged from previous years. We’ve all driven one at one time or another, and you may think you know it, but I guarantee it’s got some bells and whistles that will surprise you.
The Ford E-Series Vans can be configured in a mind-boggling number of ways to accommodate just about every situation. Passenger vans come in E-150 and E-350 models, and E-350s offer regular or extended-length cabs (Ext). E-Series vans come in three trim levels: XL, XLT and XLT Premium.
Ford E-150 trims come standard with a 225-hp 4.6-liter V8 with a 4-speed automatic transmission. A 255-hp 5.4-liter V8 is optional for the E-150 and standard in E-350 trims. The 5.4-liter V8 engine comes with a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed automatic. Also optional for the E-350 is a 305-hp 6.8-liter V10 with a 5-speed automatic transmission. The 4.6-liter V8 and 5.4-liter V8 can run on gasoline and E85 ethanol-blended fuel. The 5.4-liter V8 and 6.4-liter V10 can be equipped to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) with the Gaseous Engine Prep Package. (Note to Ford: Is that the best you could do for the name of that package?) However, for fleet services this might be a viable option, as there is no diesel engine available, and the E-Series is rated at a paltry 11 mpg city/15 highway.
Towing capacity for the Ford E-Series is 5,000 pounds with the regular package and a whopping 10,000 pounds with the heavy-duty towing package. Acceleration is most powerful with the V10, especially if needed for towing, but the 5.4-liter V8 engine is plenty strong. The 4.6 V8 is reported as being a little underpowered for the vehicle.
Anyone who has ever driven a van for work knows that the Econoline series has some drawbacks: It’s not very fuel efficient, the ride is bouncy, it’s a bear to park, and you may not want to drive it in high winds. However, it is also powerful, seats 12 to 15 (yes, the whole hockey team) and has enough cargo room for just about any business.
The amenities inside the Ford E-Series are pedestrian with lots of plastic, but that’s not why you would be buying it. Front seats are comfortable but very high, and shorter people may have to use the steps and hand pulls to enter and exit. The rear doors are center-opening, and side doors are sliding. The third, fourth or fifth row requires some gymnastics to enter from the side door, but the first and second rows are easily accessible. Seats in the second, third, fourth and fifth rows are cloth-upholstered and bench-style, but certainly comfortable enough for the daily commute.
Optional equipment choices include an in-dash computer with Internet access, XM satellite radio with real-time traffic information (requires a subscription), a fleet-management system and a message center with maintenance and vehicle information.
Safety features including 4-wheel vented discs, ABS and Ford's AdvanceTrac electronic stability/roll control system are all standard across the E-Series lineup. AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control reduces engine power and uses selective wheel braking to help the driver maintain control. There are front and driver's side airbags and a tire pressure monitoring system. With the Class II Trailer Tow package, you can get telescopic tow mirrors and the optional Integrated Trailer Brake Controller. This electronically coordinates the brakes between the vehicle and the trailer.
The 2012 E-Series Van is the vehicle of choice for anyone who needs to shuttle around multiple passengers and/or tow a trailer. There are certainly more luxurious choices out there, but none are as economical or versatile, and none carry as many passengers.