2016 Ford Transit Cargo Review

Transit Cargo

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2016 Ford Transit Cargo Overview

The positive response to Ford’s full-size Transit Cargo debut for the 2015 model year is expected to carry over for the 2016 versions of this capable and downright civilized heavy hauler. Since Daimler-Chrysler introduced their Sprinter cargo and passenger vans some 13 years ago, the days of the traditionally box-like and oh-so-unwieldy truck-based full-size cargo van have been numbered. Ford, among others, saw this coming and introduced its pint-size toting-dedicated Transit Connect for the 2010 model year, and now with the Transit Cargo (and its Transit Passenger wagon sibling, which is covered in a separate overview), the automaker offers a sensibly modern alternative to the venerable and possibly doomed E-Series.

Expected to carry over essentially unchanged for 2016, the 2-seat, rear-wheel-drive-only (RWD) Transit Cargo will return with 3 gross-vehicle-weight-designated trim levels: the half-ton 150, the three-quarter-ton 250, and the 1-ton 350, as well as 3 roof heights, 2 wheelbases, and 3 body lengths. Depending on the trim level chosen, you can get a low-roof, medium-roof, or high-roof variation with interior heights pegged at 4.4 feet, 5.6 feet, and 6.4 feet, respectively. Additionally, though delivered with a standard rear passenger-side sliding door, the 2016 Transit Cargo 250 and 350 will remain eligible for an available second sliding rear door on the driver’s side, leading to a 4-door sub-trim for each said heavyweight. Heck, there’s even a Transit Cargo 350 HD edition that sports dual rear wheels and can handle up to 4,650 pounds of payload.

The pair of wheelbases available are measured at 130 inches (10.8 feet) and 148 inches (12.3 feet), while overall lengths work out to 219.9 inches (18.3 feet), 237.6 inches (19.8 feet), and, in the 350 Extended Length (EL) variant, 266.1 inches (22.2 feet). Good luck trying to find a parking place for that behemoth!

Cargo capacity, meantime, is a major plus for the Transit Cargo. Expect, therefore, toting acreage ranging from 247 cubic feet to 487 cubic feet behind this workaholic’s seats, depending on roof height and body length.

Meanwhile, the standard powerplant returning to all Transit Cargo variants is a 3.7-liter FFV V6 that again mates with a 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission for 275 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Mileage numbers are expected to return at 14 mpg city/19 highway/16 combined. Towing capacity, meantime, maxes out at 6,600 pounds, depending on the trim level and equipment installed.

All 2016 Transit Cargo variants can also be fitted with an available 310-hp 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 mill that again comes under the command of the 6-speed shiftable automatic, to the tune of 400 lb-ft of torque. Mileage numbers, meanwhile, mirror the base V6. Look for total towing capacity to max out at 7,000 pounds with this force-fed V6, again with the proper equipment.

Both the 2016 Transit Cargo 250 and 350 trim levels, furthermore, remain eligible for an available 3.2-liter turbodiesel inline 5-cylinder (I5) powerplant that combines once again with the 6-speed shiftable automatic for 185 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. Again, expect 7,000 pounds of towing capacity from this forced-air oil-burner, but fuel-efficiency figures are as yet unavailable.

Since the 2016 Transit Cargo, in all versions, is intended as a work van, standard appearance features and creature comforts remain rather low-key. On the outside, expect the return of 16-inch steel wheels and, on 250 and 350 versions, a sliding rear passenger-side cargo door. Inside, look for all trim levels to sport vinyl upholstery, telescoping tilt-wheel steering, air conditioning, and an AM/FM stereo with 2 speakers and an auxiliary audio input.

Those who want a bit more bling in their working-class hero can select from a bunch of available extras in either package or standalone form, including extended outside mirrors, cruise control, and various window configurations. Also available to all trim levels are such extra-cost add-ons as the aforementioned added rear driver’s-side sliding cargo door, a rear-view camera, rear parking sensors, remote start, and Crew Chief telematics (vehicle tracking, mileage, and maintenance information), as well as Sync or MyFord Touch infotainment, including a GPS navigation system with 6.5-inch touchscreen. Additionally, a heavy-duty towing package is also offered to all trim levels packing a turbocharged engine.

Finally, standard safety equipment for the 2016 Transit Cargo lineup includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, side-mounted airbags, a post-collision safety system, and Ford’s touted MyKey programmable speed and audio governing. Optional safety equipment, meantime, includes lane-keeping assistance and a trio of remote antitheft alarm systems.

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of this heavy-duty cargo carrier, as far as owners are concerned, is the lack of a V8 engine offering. All do concede, however, that power, even in the normally aspirated base V6 form, is at least adequate.

No word on when the 2016 Transit Cargo will start hitting dealer showrooms, but look for challengers to include, besides the well-wrought Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo, Nissan’s pickup-based NV Cargo and Ram’s slightly smaller ProMaster Van.


Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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