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By Jim Flammang
March 3, 2004
Vehicle Overview Ford’s full-size E-Series cargo-hauling Van and passenger-carrying Wagon received several revisions in 2003, including a new grille with an integral Ford emblem and a standard driver’s grab handle. Wagon models gained LATCH child-safety seat tethers and anchors.
For the 2004 model year, a 4.6-liter V-8 has replaced the 4.2-liter V-6 as the base engine. Rear disc brakes are now standard on all models. New 11- and 14-passenger configurations include a center aisle. A Chateau trim level replaces the former Chateau option package.
Formerly called the Econoline, the rear-wheel-drive E-150 comes in only one size and passenger versions are sold in XL, XLT and Chateau trim levels. Heavier-duty models — E-250 (three-quarter-ton) and E-350 Super Duty (one-ton) — are also available. (Skip to details on the: E-250 | E-350 Super Duty)
Exterior Available in only one length, the E-150 Van and Wagon have a 138-inch wheelbase and stretch to 211.9 inches long overall. Swing-out 60/40-split doors are installed on the right side, but a sliding cargo door is available as a no-cost option. Swing-out doors are the only choice at the rear. The Chateau edition features aluminum wheels and running boards.
Interior Aimed at commercial applications, the cargo-hauling Van is fitted with two bucket seats up front. Passenger models have seating for eight occupants on two front buckets and a pair of three-passenger bench seats. In the Chateau trim, captain’s chairs replace the center bench to provide seating for seven people. Cargo volume in the E-150 is 256.5 cubic feet. An optional cargo organizer may be installed behind the rear bench seat.
Under the Hood Two engines are available for the E-150. The base engine is now a 225-horsepower, 4.6-liter V-8. Stepping up a notch is a 255-hp, 5.4-liter V-8. Each drives a four-speed-automatic transmission.
When properly equipped, the E-150 Van can tow as much as 6,900 pounds, which is 400 pounds more than the equivalent E-150 passenger Wagon.
Safety All E-Series models have dual front airbags. Four-wheel antilock brakes and front seat belt pretensioners are standard. Side-impact airbags are not available.
E-250 Rated for heavier duty than the E-150, the E-250 Van has the same engine choices (with the addition of a compressed natural gas fuel option for the 5.4-liter V-8), but comes in both regular and extended lengths. Extended vans are 20 inches longer overall but have the same 138-inch wheelbase; maximum cargo volume is 309.4 cubic feet. The maximum gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) for the E-250 is 8,600 pounds, versus 7,000 pounds for the E-150. Passenger wagons are not available in this series. Back to top
E-350 Super Duty Moving up another notch, the E-350 Super Duty has different engine selections. During the 2004 model year, a 6.0-liter Power Stroke V-8 diesel rated at 235 hp and 440 pounds-feet of torque replaces the prior 7.3-liter diesel engine. Optional in the E-350, it mates with a five-speed TorqShift automatic transmission. The standard E-350 engine is a 5.4-liter V-8, but a 6.8-liter V-10 that generates 305 hp and 420 pounds-feet of torque may be installed. Ford also offers a natural-gas version of the 5.4-liter V-8. Available in regular or extended length, the E-350 Super Duty has a maximum GVWR of 9,500 pounds. Cutaway versions are also available. Back to top
Driving Impressions After a few minutes behind the wheel, it’s almost possible to forget the E-150’s truck origins. Engine drone is less noticeable than in Ford vans of the distant past. With relatively light steering, it maneuvers almost as easily as a smaller van. On the other hand, more effort is necessary in judging your position on the highway and while parking.
The 5.4-liter V-8 engine is strong enough to deliver satisfying and safe response. Ride quality is decent enough, but it’s not as well cushioned as most minivans. Compared to many smaller vans, the E-150 needs more steering correction on straightaways, but it’s reasonably stable. Drivers enjoy a commanding view and, despite the high stance, getting in and out isn’t too difficult.