Ford's Cargo Van Gets an Extreme Makeover

You see them at convention centers, airports, hotels, resorts and spas. Your mechanic, cable guy and even your favorite band will probably pull up in one. Even America's celebrities get carted around in them on movie sets; and, if you're unfortunate enough, it'll be your police wagon on your way to jail.

Of course, we're talking about the Ford E-Series (formerly called the Econoline/Club Wagon). The E-Series, which is by far the best-selling full-size cargo van, is due for a complete overhaul. When the new model goes on sale here later this year, it will adopt a much more international look and get a new name: behold the 2014 Ford Transit.

The Ford Transit has been on sale in Europe for nearly 50 years and is offered in several body lengths and body styles, including the compact Transit Connect. The Transit we'll be getting in the U.S. is the heavy-duty full-size model offered in Europe. There's also the Tourneo Custom, which isn't coming here.

The Transit still will be rear-wheel drive but now features a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 and a diesel option. That's a big step down in power compared to the two V-8s and the V-10 in the current E-Series. It'll be interesting to see if the new models are as capable and versatile as the old vans.

On the flipside, it certainly looks more elegant and modern than the E-Series, and the new Transit is said to be 25% more efficient. No word yet if it will be available in a passenger version like the current E-Series. So far, all the photos we've seen show the cargo model.

The next-generation Transit will be built at Ford's Kansas City, Mo., plant, which is a part of a $1.1 billion investment to build the full-size van plus the next-gen F-150 at the assembly plant. The current E-Series is built in Ohio. The new model will go on sale sometime in fall 2013.

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