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2016 Ford Transit: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader April 2016

The 2016 Ford Transit full-size van is a European import made in Kansas City, Missouri. Allow us to explain: Like the Fiesta and Focus before it, the Transit has been a common fixture on European roads, developed by Ford's divisions across the Atlantic. The result is that the Transit has been shaped by countless miles of service in practically every imaginable scenario in which a van has to earn its keep. That shape involves sleek styling, unibody construction (as opposed to body on frame) and decent fuel economy.

As ever with this class, customizability is king, so there are three body lengths to choose from, along with two wheelbases and three roof heights. The version on sale in the United States offers great engines, including Ford's robust EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 and a hardworking 5-cylinder turbodiesel that's easy on fuel. Don't buy a new van without checking out the Transit.

What's New for 2016?

A rearview camera joins the list of standard equipment, along with a trailer hitch assist feature. The options list now includes dual sliding side doors and the new, more user-friendly SYNC 3 infotainment system replacing MyFord Touch (which was never that popular).

Equipping the van for specific tasks (known as upfitting) often requires upgrading the electrical system. With this in mind, Ford offers a single absorbent glass mat battery and auxiliary fuse panels as options.

What We Like

Civilized driving experience; highly customizable; capable engines with fuel-efficient turbodiesel option; modern look and feel

What We Don't

Price can escalate quickly

How Much?

$32,155-$42,885

Fuel Economy

The base engine is a 3.7-liter V6 generating 275 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. In regular-wheelbase versions with low or medium roofs, fuel consumption is estimated at 14 miles per gallon in the city, 19 mpg on the highway and 16 mpg combined. A flex-fuel variant is adapted to run E85 ethanol, and there are options for liquid propane gas and compressed natural gas.

A more muscular 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 makes 310 hp and 400 lb-ft thanks to a turbocharger, yet the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) puts consumption as identical to the naturally aspirated 3.7 V6.

A 5-cylinder 3.2-liter Power Stroke turbocharged diesel engine develops 185 hp and a hefty 350 lb-ft of torque. There are no EPA mileage ratings on this unit (not required for Transit variants with a gross vehicle weight rating of over 8,600 pounds), but it should keep the company accountant happy.

Each engine is linked to a 6-speed automatic transmission. All Transits sold in the United States employ rear-wheel drive; we don't get the front-drive version that's offered across the pond. If that's an issue, perhaps the smaller front-drive Transit Connect could be worth a look.

Standard Features & Options

The 2016 Ford Transit is available as a regular panel van or in wagon forms with seating for eight to 15 occupants.

It comes with a 129.9-inch or 147.6-in wheelbase. The latter can also offer an extended body length. Then there's the choice of a low roof (83.6 inches) or medium-height roof (100.8 inches); the two longer versions offer medium or high (110.1 inches) roofs. With the high roof, a 6-footer can easily stand up inside. In the largest version, total cargo volume is 487.3 cu ft. Maximum payload is 4,650 pounds, and maximum towing capacity is 7,500 pounds.

Those numbers on the back doors -- 150, 250, 350 and 350HD -- signify gross vehicle weights of 8,600, 9,000, 9,500 and 9,950 pounds, respectively. For the heaviest loads (350HD), a dual rear-wheel setup is used.

The Transit van ($32,155) starts with 16-in steel wheels, power mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, power windows and locks, front air conditioning, vinyl upholstery, lashing hooks in the cargo area and a 2-speaker AM/FM stereo with an auxiliary input.

Sliding passenger-side doors are standard on medium- and high-roofed versions; dual sliding doors are optional. The Transit can be ordered as a cutaway or chassis cab.

There are also numerous options such as extended side mirrors, 16-in alloy wheels, cruise control, power front seats, leather upholstery, rear parking sensors, a keyless entry pad, lane-departure warning, remote starting, Bluetooth, rear air conditioning and Crew Chief commercial telematics.

The cargo area can come with a spray-in liner and LED illumination. A choice of rear-axle ratios is also on the options list, along with SYNC voice controls and the SYNC 3 infotainment system with navigation, a USB port, HD Radio and satellite radio, plus a 6.5-in touchscreen and steering-wheel-mounted controls.

Safety

The Ford Transit comes standard with 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and stability control with rollover-prevention technology, plus driver and front passenger airbags, side-curtain airbags and thorax airbags.

Rear parking sensors and lane-departure warning are optional.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the Transit four stars out of five for front-impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection.

Behind the Wheel

The Transit is easy to drive, with a precise feel to the steering (the steering wheel looks like it ought to be in an upscale sedan) and brakes, plus a ride quality that will keep worker fatigue at bay. The cabin is remarkably quiet, even in larger versions where more noise is expected. The diesel engine is similarly subdued and clatter-free.

The dual rear-wheel setup is only 4 inches wider than the front, so drivers won't have that much trouble gauging the van's width during tight maneuvers, making use of the relatively compact 39.2-feet turning circle. They'll also like the large (folding) side mirrors, which offer concave lower sections that bring a useful view of the Transit's tail, as well as vehicles in other lanes.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter -- Despite that 3-pointed star, the Sprinter is not crazy-expensive. The Automotive Lease Guide also says the Sprinter has the highest resale value in its class.

2016 Nissan NV -- Nissan's full-size NV is both contemporary and affordable, with a muscular V8 available. There's no diesel option, though.

2016 RAM ProMaster -- The FIAT-derived ProMaster is another Euro-style van. See if the oddly angled steering wheel is to your liking.

Autotrader's Advice

If there are many miles to be covered with plenty of poundage on board, the diesel engine should be an excellent choice.

Find a Ford Transit for sale

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Used 2016 Ford Transit 150 XLT
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Ford Transit: New Car Review - Autotrader