Great driving characteristics for a giant passenger van. Ford really nailed it for the driver. Passengers in the rear of this van may have beverages all over themselves and the van at freeway speeds. The peppy engine and solid transmission make driving this van a pleasure. Driving this van I compared it to the Mercedes version of a people hauler and panel van. Overall Mercedes has nothing to worry about but, if you would rather spend 10,000 less and get an almost Mercedes then this might be your van.
Inside the van I found most of the base level trim to be acceptable with the exception of the rear overhead vents which I immediately destroyed and had to explain this to my sales person. These small oversights can destroy anyone's impression a vehicle.
Entry and exit: Any of Fords lines up of oversized high step vans will be an issue for anyone that can't hop up or climb. Whereas a minivan has slightly raised seats from your hips these vans are really up there. The front seats require use of the handle for entry and exit much like a full sized truck. Elderly, mobility impaired, and middle aged with torn lateral meniscus will have issues. Children will love this van although parents might not. The cavernous rear of the passenger van will be impossible to find them or gather them up. There is an option to get an electric step added to the van for somewhat easier access.
Loading luggage in this thing was not easy either but, much easier than the old cargo vans. Good shoulders and strong backs are required for anyone under 6 ' but once the goods are in there is plenty of space for everything.
I drove this van in San Francisco for a week and was amazed at how deftly it handled the traffic, hills and avoided cyclists and pedestrians. This really is a city van with gigantic proportions.
Noise: It is a bit loud up front. Engine noise during acceleration is pretty loud. This is one of my pet peeves with American automakers. I think the pilot group for consumers they chose had a penchant for loud engines and this must be a feature rather than an issue.
Highway handling: I'm not sure how ford did it but, on the highway this thing feels super solid. The rear suspension needs an air improvement but that could be done aftermarket or upgraded versions of this van. If you are going to buy this van make sure you ride in the rear while on your cities bumpiest roads at freeway speeds. You make lose your lunch.
I could easily see buying this van in the stripped down builders version. Ford has a few versions of this van that are specifically made for building out campers. This would be a great option at a budget price. With the builders configuration there are special connectors for easy acces to power etc and two batteries. Privacy glass is also available with this configuration.
Backing this thing up is now easier because it has a rear view camera. Even the ful size van I drove with the long wheelbase fit into a parking ramp with ease. The right turning radius makes it simple to tweet ina garage or tight spaces.
If I had to choose which engine I'd go for the 3.5 liter V6. It is pretty solid with decent mileage of 16 MPG overall. This is a beast.
Work van: This is the winner of the group. Order it with no seats and wow the space. 461.9 cubic feet in the high top. You won't be disappointed. Good solid doors. With the exception of the vents, solid build.