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Well I promised you guys a report on the first ride & drive event I attended today, the 11th. We had 2.5 hrs. available for the experience.

They had roughly 18 vehicles there, all wheelbases, roof heights and several chassis cabs that had upfitter's displays with reps sitting right there. About 12 or so nationally known work equipment upfitters have set up plants within 10 miles of the assembly plant in Claycomo, MO. for quick turnover.

7 of the vehicles there were vans that were available for the ride & drive. 1 low roof 150, 3 250's of varying roof heights and wheelbases, and 3 350's, 2 of which were dualies. The 150 was the only one with the 3.7 which I did not drive. The rest were a mix of EcoBoost & diesel. I drove 2 3.5's and 2 diesels. For a direct comparison, I drove our 2013 Sprinter class B RV van over there, which I'm very glad I did. It's the 24', tall roof version which weighs right at 9400 lbs.
All the vans except the 150 had at least 3500 lb. cargo loads in them, very well strapped in I might add.

And let me qualify this review stating that of all the vans I looked at, none had less than 8700 miles on them, and looked like they had been driven and used somewhat.

First impressions from outside the vans. This van just looks right to me. Proportions, dimensions, styling. It doesn't look European to me at all, even the high roof. Of course this is a subjective opinion. The doors, all of them shut with authority, no rattles, didn't have to slam them, and the slider feels like it's on ball bearings, which is a completely different feel and effort than the Sprinter. I tried 4 different ones and all were the same. All the sheet metal fit well, and seams were even with consistent gaps on all doors and hood. (I used to fit fenders & doors at the GM plant I started working at in 1968). According to some posters over on the ProMaster forum, this is a glaring fault on some of them.

Interior impressions. 2 things jumped out at me when I first sat in the cockpit. It was a very comfortable seating position. Seats are slightly wider than our Sprinter, dash is the perfect height, instruments very legible and in view. The other item that jumped out was the fact that the shifter is very high on the dash. The top level of the shift knob was at my right shoulder height. No big deal, just different. I picked it's position up right away with no issues. Tow/haul button just to the left of the shifter base, and manual shift button on left side of the shifter knob to be worked with the thumb. The climate control buttons & knobs are right there under the radio stack and are very easy & simple to work. There will be 3 different dash/radio combos depending on options which will change the center stack layout a bit on each. (different screen sizes etc)
I did have a small issue with the space between the seat edge and the front cupholder assembly. It's a bit tight, so expect a slight squeeze there. The spacing between the seats is definitely tighter than the Sprinter mostly I think because the seats are a bit wider on the Transit.
There are cupholders and cubbies galore. Billfold & cell phone cubbies on the dash and door panels. Storage bins x2 on each door, upper & lower. The dash is mostly hard plastics as is the whole door panel. Much more modern layout & design than the Sprinter. Better thought out for North American tastes I would say.

The drive: First thing I noticed was it felt like a large car not a big truck. The accelerator pedal pushes forward rather than down like the Sprinter. Again more car like. Pedals were perfectly positioned for me, even without fooling much with the seating adjustment. (all we had were power seats on all of the drivers) Very quiet engine noises from both the V6 & 5 cyl.

The power: 2 words. HAUL ASS! The 6 spd is geared fairly low in the first 2 gears, hence great acceleration at least up to the 50 mph we could get them up to. The EcoBoost(s) was/were especially quick when you remember how much weight they were pulling in a 350 dually with as much as a 3500 lb payload. The diesel wasn't but a hairs breath behind I would say up to 40 mph, then the 3.5 would pull away.
The diesel has that 5 cyl idle sound like the early Sprinters but much quieter. No hesitation or bogging on acceleration (hear me here Mercedes?) and no excess or harsh noise. Actually I mentioned to one of the engineers that this diesel drives like a gas engine, again unlike the Sprinter.
It was stressed in our initial info seminar that this Puma 3.2 diesel is a 3rd generation model of an engine that has been in service for many years in all corners of the world in much tougher conditions than they will ever see in North America.

In a very informational pre-drive seminar, it was also stressed that Ford engineered this vehicle to have the lowest regular maintenance costs for replacement parts of any van in North America. They showed a parts cost chart comparing the GM vans, Sprinter and the Transit. The GM and Transits were not very far apart in costs per mile, and as expected, the Sprinter was WAY higher. Another thing they showed was a chart of the USA with markers for Mercedes commercial and Ford commercial dealers. Again, no comparison there.
The engineers did also say that more configurations and options are in the pipeline for future intro, but didn't or wouldn't give details.

Well I hope my write helps some of you guys with your choices and gave you an idea of what's coming out.

Any questions about the details I'll try to answer as best as I can
 

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Nice job:) I have a 04 2500 sprinter, please compare the torque between 1500 and 2000 rpms and use the Eco boost as a comparision


how do the two handle


and finally what are the rpms at the same speed, another words which is has the lower RPM, mine is 2500 @ 70 mph




Thanks in advance
bbird
 

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Discussion Starter #4
bbird, as far as handling? I hung around a bit at the end and got into a conversation with an engineer for about 5 minutes. Finally he said, "I'm getting bored standing here in the sun, lets go for a ride. Lets take the EcoBoost 350 non dually". It was a mid roof.

From there it was balls to the wall. As fast as possible through the course, which included S curves back to back, 120 degree corners both directions and a roundabout. Now considering this van had a minimum of a 3500 lb load in back, it handled VERY well. Brakes were excellent too.

A far as the rpm question, I was too busy to notice the rpm at a certain speed. We only had about a 250' straight section to get up to about 50 mph in, if we wanted to. The EcoBoost will run rings around any van out there at any speed with that low geared 6 spd, with the diesel a close second.

VanMan, you will be impressed..
 

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Discussion Starter #6
VanMan, I did notice that the 350 non dually I drove and rode in had considerably larger tires in width than the duallys and the 150. Didn't notice the 250.

All tires were either Kumho or Hankooks that I noticed
 

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Maybe this has been answered before, but does the rear a/c protrude above the roof on those units with dual a//c?
 

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bobojay
Thanks for the report.

Did you happen to notice if any had dual batteries, and if they did, where exactly were they located?

Below the floor in front of the drivers seat, under the floor directly beneath the drivers seat, or in a container above the floor directly under seat?

Thanks

Semper Fi
 

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Discussion Starter #9
bobojay
Thanks for the report.

Did you happen to notice if any had dual batteries, and if they did, where exactly were they located?

Below the floor in front of the drivers seat, under the floor directly beneath the drivers seat, or in a container above the floor directly under seat?

Thanks

Semper Fi
All the diesels have dual batteries. I can't say for sure because I didn't think to ask or look, but I believe they are both under the driver's seat pedestal.
Some of the other option packages also come with dual batteries...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Maybe this has been answered before, but does the rear a/c protrude above the roof on those units with dual a//c?
Didn't notice, but they did stress that all the multi seat wagons come with the rear air as standard at a lower cost vs a $7k option on the Sprinter.

Where this van blows the Sprinter away is maintenance and component costs
 

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Bobojay,
Thanks.
If any others of you are going to one of these events, could you do me a favor and check how the batteries (dual) are positioned?

Need to know how much modifying will need to be done to bolt a "transfer seat" down to the floor, so I can get back and forth from wheelchair.
Thanks.

Semper Fi
 

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The dual AC on te wagon is not a roof mounted AC for the rear! I checked before ordering mine because I ordered the wagon with rear AC and didn't want that thing on the roof either.
 

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Your report.... the online reviews coming out.... man, I had a feeling this van was going to be a winner and it sure looks like it's gonna turn out that way.

People everywhere are asking "but is it as good as my sprinter?"

We may well find ourselves asking if the SPRINTER is as good as the (cheaper) Ford!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Your report.... the online reviews coming out.... man, I had a feeling this van was going to be a winner and it sure looks like it's gonna turn out that way.

People everywhere are asking "but is it as good as my sprinter?"

We may well find ourselves asking if the SPRINTER is as good as the (cheaper) Ford!
Well I can attest to the fact after having driven both that the Transit is a much more comfortable, for me at least, and more North American feeling drive. I felt right at home immediately.
The diesel was just as quiet, had way more off the line, up to 40 mph power, (the 6 spds gearing helps here), didn't bog like the Sprinter does, and was smoother shifting.
The 3.5 EB was just out of this world.....

Now if Ford can keep the reliability up, this can't help but be a winner. I wouldn't even consider a Sprinter now after having driven this
 

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The duel batteries on a diesel were mounted under the drivers seat. I would assume the duel batteries for a gas engine would also be mounted in the same location.
Orton,
Under the floor of the front seat or under the seat pedestal (above the floor)?
Semper Fi
 

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Orton,
Under the floor of the front seat or under the seat pedestal (above the floor)?
Semper Fi
Above floor inside the drivers seat pedestal. When I looked at the training van at the local dealer I could not find the batteries so had to ask. Did not see them but was told the location. The training van was a passenger diesel van so it probably had the HD duel batteries. Would expect regular battery would be located in same place.

The passenger seat pedestal was also full of what looked like air conditioning stuff. Maybe for rear air option? I hope it is normally empty because I want to use that space for my hot water tank. Discard stock pedestal and replace it with a SS tank with swivel on top.
 
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