Ford Transit Cargo - Owner Review at 5000 Miles
After three months and 5,000 miles of ownership, here are my thoughts on my 2016 Ford Transit 150 Cargo Van.
Vital Statistics. 130” wheelbase, Medium Roof, 3.5L GTDI Eco Boost, 3.31 axle, Interior Upgrade, Dual AGM batteries, Up-fitter Switches, Remote Start, side and rear door privacy glass. Vehicle intended for use as a daily driver and converted touring Camper.
The one-piece key fob is ok, but the optional door keypad is brilliant and well worth the $100 option. The main doors open wide and entry is easy enough for such a high vehicle after a bit of practice. The seats are very supportive and comfortable for me. I never feel a need to adjust them. I drove for several consecutive full days across the continent with no ill effects on my back. Leg room and pedal placement are neutral for my 5’8” size. The steering wheel location is okay, but I have found myself trying to adjust it lower than it will go.
I have no problems with the placement of dials or controls, and find most of them intuitive and easy to use. I particularly like the simple rotary HVAC controls, and that the clock/temp is visible to the pax. I prefer this cruise control system to my 2010 F150, but miss the use of color (green) on the display when cruise is activated. Same applies for the phone activation buttons, red for end-call and green for make-call would be welcome improvements. The point is kind of moot though, because the dismal SYNC voice recognition renders the Bluetooth phone connectivity unusable for me.
The monochrome MFD is decent after a short learning curve, but not outstanding. One can get lost in the depth of sub-menus. Fit and finish throughout the van is generally good and rewarding to my eye. Paint finish is excellent inside and out.
The big greenhouse glass effect is a treat when touring, and the sun visor is massive. I will need to rig a second side-shade for long trips though, as the AZ sun is invasive through all that glass. All-round visibility, esp with optional side and rear door windows, is very good for a large van.
When backing up, I at first found too many mirrors to look at. I now orient the driver's-side big mirror to see more rear-lane, and use the lower convex mirror to cover the blind spots. I rarely use the center rear-view mirror, as it is unreliable due to the necessary rear door structure. I use the backup cam for fine tuning, or for my co-driver to keep an eye on whilst I back up with the mirrors. The small backup cam screen size is okay for aligning the rear bumper exactly to a desired point. Now that I have adapted, I like the mirrors/cam setup.
The 3.5 EB does not seem as quiet at idle as some other reviewers have reported. I often detect a low frequency drone from the exhaust system. Throttle response is perfect for my taste, and it’s hard to overstate how effortlessly this engine motivates the big van. It is worth noting that, as powerful as it is, it is also very easy to drive the EB at a leisurely pace, as the engine and drive train work effortlessly together. The brakes, though requiring more effort than my F150, stop smoothly and straight as an arrow. The gear selector is well placed for me, and has a good feel, although it ends up in low gear instead of drive too many times to be considered well sorted. Some future tweaking might be needed by the ergo-engineers.
The van cruises effortlessly and is a relaxing experience when touring on remote winding roads. Although the van fundamentally handles very well, my van had unusual steering-pull characteristics that took considerable service intervention to correct. I am not aware that this is a common problem. My van also still has an annoying low-frequency drone at around the mid-teen RPM zone, and again, I do not know if that is characteristic, or peculiar only to mine. Service calls to address it have been unsuccessful. These issues, and the manufacturer’s inability to address them effectively, have detracted from an otherwise excellent driving experience.
For the purposes of converting to a camper, the payload is generous, and the attachment points and options for a build are plentiful. The optional HD alternator, dual AGM batteries, and upfitter switch combination provides plenty of 12v upgradeability for a conversion. The optional black side panel covers and black rubber floor coverings are good enough to keep if your conversion plans are not too elaborate. Access room from the front seats through to the rear is barely adequate, and a future redesign should easily correct this oversight.
As good as this vehicle is at many things, it is not yet perfected. I have followed closely the observations of many other Transit owners, and there seems to be a handful of new vehicle issues or dissatisfiers that seem to keep cropping up. Here are some complaints I have read about elsewhere, and can verify from my own personal vehicle ownership.
1) The engine air-filters on many Transits, including my 2016, are somehow being contaminated by water. I have had one filter replaced under warranty. Research on this topic using Google is simple.
2) The rear doors have no inside pull-handle to close them from the inside. The doors also need a more accessible upper exit latch handle. Most owners are forced to fabricate their own. My fix was to loop a strap through available door panel holes. Tacky.
3) The Hankook tires are not always well liked by owners. I have had considerable trouble with all of mine, have had two replacements, and continue to experience tire-based vibration.
4) More clearance room is needed at the lower center console to allow freedom of movement for the driver to pivot around to access the interior.
5) The optional side-door running board is of inadequate width, and will likely cause ankle injuries for some owners.
6) The large driver and passenger doors can catch a lot of wind that can swing them beyond their design limit, with nasty and expensive consequences. I have seen this damage first hand and it is disheartening to see on a new van.
7) Nice alloy wheels get an unsightly coating of black dust from the rear brake pads unlike anything I have seen before on my last two F150s. The dust is so pervasive it stains my driveway.
8) The side slider door could benefit from a secondary interior and exterior handle to assist smaller adults in applying the force necessary to open/close them. I attached a $2.97 Wall-Mart garage door handle to the inside of my slider with brilliant results.
9) Ford Service personnel may not yet know this vehicle well, and may have to learn on yours. Although many engine and drivetrain components are common to NA Fords, its European genes, uni-body construction, and steering adjustments are unfamiliar to Ford truck mechanics. This has been a major factor in the lingering mechanical issues on my new vehicle.
10) EDIT: I had to add one more, the vibrating overhead shelf! This rates as one of the most prevalent. I fixed it early in my ownership by dismantling the shelf light unit, and adding foam padding blocks. The shelf still vibrates wildly, but no longer rattles as much
The Ford Transit Cargo van has the potential to be great. In some respects it already is. Its positive attributes certainly outweigh the negatives that are starting to show up in owner discussions. I would have no difficulty recommending this van to a friend, but would wish them better luck-of-the-draw than me in the one they get.
MY TROUBLED TRANSIT - 2016 T150, MR, RWB, 3.5EB. Delivered 11/15 with major steering, tire, & alignment defects. Had 6+ front-end and Sub-Frame alignments. 6 defective tires replaced. Also Steering Rack, 2 Axle Seals, Diff Gasket, Rear Brakes and Rotors, PS Pump, Wet Air Filter, Hi stop-light. Crankcase P Sensor failed at 23,500 kms. To Date, 39 days at Ford Service. See "New Van Didn't Get Far"
Last edited by jonsobi; 03-04-2016 at 07:19:PM.