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2013 Ford E-Series Passenger Overview
After a half-century on the same platform, the E-Series van is showing its age and will be totally replaced for 2015. Although the Ford E-Series Wagon is expected to stick around just as it is through 2014, this is the final year you can get one fresh off the factory line. That said, it's still no different than when it arrived for 2011, and all it added then was a standard audio input and a fresh set of wheels.
As-such, the E-Series Passenger van is still available in E-150 and E-350 variants suited to either 8 people in the E-150, 12 in the standard E-350 or 15 in the E-350 Extended. Standard features are as sparse and dated as ever, requiring an upgrade from the base XL trim to the XLT if you want features like power accessories, rear air-conditioning, cruise control and a CD player—but this van has stuck around virtually unchanged for decades because it has definite merits.
Sure, it's not the most poised thing on the road, wobbling with crosswinds on a ride that wasn't terribly substantial in the first place and completely lacking any sense of giddy-up with the base engine, but there's nothing better on the road today that doesn't require a commercial license just for being more than a van. It's not perfect, but the E-Series is the single most accessible and customizable option for hauling people and lots of cargo right now.
For instance, some people might criticize its lack of a diesel engine, but diesel engines are significantly more complicated to keep in a fleet than Ford's offered alternative to the usual unleaded and E85 fuel variants: a conversion to either compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquid petroleum (LPG), which are notoriously more fleet-friendly and often more efficient than either diesel or traditional fuels depending on the usage.
That said, fuel efficiency is never a strong point for work vehicles like a passenger van. You're either sacrificing power by going with the smallest engine—the E-150's standard 4.6-liter V8, good for 225 hp and 286 lb-ft of torque—for the best E-Series economy estimate of 13 mpg city/16 highway, or you're sacrificing some of that minimal efficiency for more power.
The E-350 comes standard with the middle choice, a 5.4-liter V8 pumping out 255 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque rated at 12/16, which is also available as an option to the E-150 and seems to be the most popular choice for its satisfying acceleration. Both of those engines use a 4-speed automatic, but E-350 buyers can further opt up to a 6.8-liter V10 for 305 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque and a 5-speed automatic, with the worst fuel use estimate sitting around 10/13.
Whatever the case, you're getting a rear-wheel-drive workhorse that has been tried over and over again for literally decades and found to be true every single time. Things like style and technology are nice and all, but at the end of the day what matters is what got done, and the E-Series is a renowned do-er.
Your prototypical "Tom Girl" Patricia got her start digging into Ford engines before she aged into double digits. Gifted with a mechanical mind, her favorite pass-time in the summer is picking up a fixer-up'r at the local public auction and massaging its every ailment until it's primed for a new lover. From dirt bikes to land yachts, every partner offers something truly special in her love affair with the road - just don't tell her husband.