2013 Ford E-Series Cargo Review

E-Series Cargo

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2013 Ford E-Series Cargo Overview

Ford's E-Series Cargo van has remained virtually unchanged for the better part of a century—and this year is no different, literally. But that is set to change with an all-new van out of Ford for 2015, which means this year is your last shot at accessing all the factory-fresh E-Series options, since this will be the last year of production.

So this year and next you can expect to see the exact same lineup: a light-duty E-150 in a single length and heavier-duty E-250 and E-350 levels available in both 212-inch standard length and 232-inch Extended versions. Standard-length vans offer 237 cubic feet for cargo, whereas the longer editions afford 275 cubes. Any setup can accommodate either 2 or 5 people with the optional second-row bench, with a standard 5,000-pound tow capacity or up to 10,000 pounds with the proper upgrades.

Standard features are still fairly slim, but any level can opt for things like a sliding side door, household power outlet, cruise control and a stereo with 6 speakers and CD player as opposed to the standard AM/FM radio with 4 speakers. Of course, Ford still offers the business-oriented customizations like Crew Chief for keeping tabs on the van's location, speed, idle time and maintenance. Ford Work Solutions is a separate upgrade that transforms the van into a mobile office with Internet, built-in computer, remote file access and on-site tool inventories.

Modern as some of those features may be, the E-Series Cargo still drives like a brick on a seesaw, especially with the notoriously under-powered base engine: a 4.6-liter V8 good for 225 hp and 286 lb-ft/torque. It does get the best fuel economy estimate at 13 mpg city/17 highway, but it's also widely regarded as the worst option of the 3 available engines for its utterly disappointing performance.

E-150 and E-250 vans come standard with that engine but can opt up for the E-350's standard engine, which is a 5.4-liter V8 pushing out 255 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque for a slightly worse estimate of 12/16. E-350 buyers can opt up to the most powerful option: a 6.8-liter V10 offering up 305 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque with a rating of 10/14. All engines send power to the rear wheels, and all but the V10 use a 4-speed automatic, while the V10 gets a 5-speed.

Any engine is available with alternative fuel conversion packages for natural gas or petroleum, but the E-Series does not offer a diesel engine nor the most powerful engines in a van—those are bestowed upon the GMC Savana and Chevrolet Express mechanical twins. Neither does the E-Series offer an elevated roof or driver's-side sliding door; look to the Nissan NV, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter or the 2015 replacement for those features. But for what it does offer, there are no more accessible vans for versatile needs than the E-Series Cargo.

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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.

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