(Editor’s Note: Welcome to NAPA Knows New Cars with the 2020 Ford Transit 250 Cargo Van AWD. This is not your normal new car review. This series focuses more on the nuts & bolts of the vehicle that are not usually covered by other outlets. The intention is to inform, not endorse. Ultimately the decision to buy a vehicle should be based on an individual’s needs and situation.)
Picking the right tool for the job is a key part of NAPA Know How. You wouldn’t use a sports car to deliver a crate engine or a set of tires. Or try to operate a plumbing business out of the back of a midsize sedan. When you need to move things around or get the job done with all your supplies, there is no substitute for a cargo van. But modern cargo vans are a far cry from the lumbering beasts of burden that many people picture in their mind. Vehicles like the 2020 Ford Transit use modern technology, designs, and materials to create a breed of cargo van that is light years ahead of their predecessors.
Driving the 2020 Ford Transit 250 Cargo Van is surprisingly easy. Climbing into the driver’s seat takes a little bit of a hop, but that little bit of extra height gives a commanding view of the road from the driver’s seat. The driving experience is more akin to a lifted minivan than a classic moving truck. Gone is the wallowing handling of the old E-series vans. Even when loaded with cargo the van felt stable on the highway and around town.
Maneuvering the 2020 Ford Transit 250 Cargo Van in and around the city was much easier thanks to the multiple cameras and sensors around the vehicle. The standard backup camera is high mounted and gives an excellent wide angle view behind the vehicle. This was great when backing out of parking spots as it was possible to see cars traveling the parking lot lanes that would have been otherwise invisible via the door mirrors. The front view camera allowed for extremely close maneuvering in tight spots when coupled with the parking assist sensors. The perimeter vehicle sensors warned of hard to spot columns and fences
The test vehicle came equipped with AWD, which was especially helpful while moving a load of furniture up a rather steep driveway. Previous trips using a standard 2WD moving truck required a running start to climb the ski-jump-like driveway with success. But the Transit climbed the steep grade with zero drama, wheel slip, or heavy application of throttle.
An impressive list of driver safety technology is also standard. Called Ford Co-Pilot360™ this suite of safety features includes:
- Pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking
- Lane keeping system
- Auto high-beam headlamps
- Rear view camera with trailer hitch assist
These features add an extra layer of safety without being obtrusive during normal driving.
In cargo van spec the Transit seats two: a driver and a passenger. There is ample space between both front seats to allow access to the rear of the van without exiting the vehicle. Headroom is plentiful along with elbow room. Clever storage cubbies, pockets, and trays are seemingly everywhere making the most of the space up front. An especially clever storage tray is located on top of the dashboard itself, complete with 12v and USB charging ports.
Rear cargo space is the main goal of this vehicle and it is plentiful with 357.1 cu. ft. of hauling space. The flat rear floor is nearly 12 feet long and 54″ wide between the wheelhouse for ample uninterrupted cargo space. Access to the cargo area is easy via the large sliding side door or the dual rear doors. Rear cargo area height for the medium roof Transit is an impressive 72″, which means most adults can walk around comfortably inside without ducking.
Towing capacity varies widely based on engine options, drivetrain, wheelbase, axle ratio, and roof height. As tested the AWD EcoBoost powered Transit 148″ wheelbase medium roof cargo van can tow up to 5,500 pounds (3.31:1 rear axle ratio) or 6,800 pounds (3.73:1 rear axle ratio). A heavy-duty trailer tow package is available which includes trailer wiring provisions, both 4-pin and 7-pin trailer connectors, a frame mounted receiver hitch, and tow/haul driving mode. A tow/haul mode package is also available which includes the trailer wiring provisions, Trailer Sway Control, tow/haul driving mode, and the 4-pin/7-pin trailer connectors. Unfortunately the review vehicle was not equipped with a towing package, so real-world towing impressions are unavailable at this time.
The 3.5L V6 engine is mounted longitudinally tucked under the windshield. There is no “doghouse” engine access hatch as some may remember from many older types of vans. Engine access is tight due to the EcoBoost intake piping, but not as cramped as one would expect. The engine air filter is tucked behind the passenger side headlight and can be changed with a screwdriver with just minor disassembly of the surrounding components. The battery is located underneath the driver’s seat (regardless of single or dual battery option). Battery access only requires sliding the driver’s seat forward and removing the battery covers. For emergency situations requiring a jump start, a battery jump box connection is located under the hood behind the driver’s side headlight.
The engine oil filter is located underneath the engine at the front with plenty of space to maneuver hands or an oil filter wrench. The engine holds six quarts of 5W-30 weight synthetic blend motor oil. Access to the two serpentine belts is easiest from the underside of the engine.
The 10-speed automatic transmission uses 13.1 quarts of MERCON® ULV Automatic Transmission Fluid XT-12-QULV or equivalent. Transmission fluid level cannot be checked, as there is no transmission fluid dipstick. The 9.75″ solid rear axle holds three quarts of synthetic lubricant.
2020 Ford Transit Cargo Van Specifications:
- Engine Type: EcoBoost twin-turbo V6
- Engine Displacement: 3.5 liters
- Engine Horsepower: 310 hp
- Engine Torque: 400 lb-ft
- Transmission: Ten-speed automatic transmission 10R80
- Rear Axle Ratios Available: 3.31:1, 3.73:1
Fuel Economy (estimated based on similar T150 wagon):
- 4×2: 15 city / 19 hwy / 17 combined mpg
- AWD: 14 city /19 hwy / 16 combined mpg
- Length: 235.5”
- Width: 97.4”
- Height: 101.3”
- Weight: 5,318 lbs. (4×2) or 5,550 lbs. (AWD)
- 3.31 :1axle ratio: 5,200
- 3.73:1 axle ratio: 6,500
- 16″ steel
- 16″ aluminum
- Front: 12.1″ Diameter Disc
- Rear: 12.1″ Diameter Disc
- Passenger Seating Capacity: 2
- Cargo Volume: 357.1 cu. ft.
- Cargo Length Front (at Floor): 143.7″
- Cargo Length Front (at Belt): 133.6″
- Cargo Length Between Wheelhouse: 54.8″
- Cargo Height Maximum: 72″
- 2020 Ford Transit Cargo Long Wheelbase Medium Roof EcoBoost 4×2 – $38,430
- 2020 Ford Transit Cargo Long Wheelbase Medium Roof EcoBoost AWD – $43,125
Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on owning a 2020 Ford Transit Cargo Van AWD, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
With an automotive writing career spanning over two decades, Brian has a passion for sharing the automotive lifestyle. An avid DIYer he can usually be found working on one of this many project cars. His current collection includes a 1969 Olds Delta 88 convertible and a slant-6 powered 1975 Plymouth Duster.