NEW FOR 2008:
– All-new front-end design inspired by Ford F-Series Super Duty provides increased engine airflow
– Revised steering system and front and rear suspensions
– Increased load-carrying capacity
– All-new seats in passenger wagons with three-point safety restraints for centre position occupants
– XLT Premium Package replaces Chateau Package
– AdvanceTrac stability control with Roll Stability Control standard on E-350 passenger wagons with 5.4-litre V8; engine-only traction control system available on all other models
For 2008, the E-Series commercial van gets a major makeover, including new front-end styling, chassis and suspension upgrades, available traction control and advanced E-Guard Cargo Protection System for added door-lock security.
Chassis improvements include all-new front suspension geometry and larger sway bars, new valve technology on the rear shock absorbers, better on-centre feel and reduced steering effort, and an all-new braking system with larger rotors and calipers.
The new XLT Premium Package includes first- and second-row leather captain’s chairs, power driver’s seat, remote keyless entry, leather-wrapped steering wheel, privacy glass, two-tone exterior paint, forged aluminum wheels, overhead console and running boards.
The E-Series is available as a passenger wagon, and for commercial use as a cargo van and as a cutaway or stripped chassis. Wagon models are the E-150, in regular length, and E-350 in regular and extended-length models, offering seating options for 7, 8, 12 or 15 passengers, plus a new 11-passenger optional seating configuration for the extended-length XL and XLT.
The E-150 wagon comes with a choice of 4.6-litre V8 or 5.4-litre V8, both with four-speed automatic transmissions. The regular-length E-350 uses the 5.4-litre V8, or 6.0-litre V8 diesel with five-speed automatic transmission. The extended-length E-350 comes only with the 5.4-litre V8. Cargo and cutaway vans also offer a 6.8-litre V10 gasoline engine that is unavailable on passenger wagons.
Features on the E-150 XL include 16-inch steel wheels, front air conditioning, eight-passenger seating, front bucket seats, cloth upholstery, engine block heater, engine oil cooler, tire pressure monitoring system, engine immobilizer, AM/FM stereo, black-painted bumpers, power windows and locks, tilt steering wheel and cloth visors.
The E-150 XLT adds front captain’s chairs, high-capacity front and rear air conditioning, CD stereo, chrome bumpers, cruise control, full-length carpet, floor mats, and power mirrors.
The E-350 XL and XLT models are similarly equipped, but regular-length models add 12-passenger seating, and extended-length models add 15-passenger seating.
First marketed in 1961, the E-Series tended not to change very much over the years. The 2008’s facelift is a welcome addition, especially in the face of serious competition from the redesigned Dodge Sprinter, as well as the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana. While still meant more for commercial than consumer use, it remains a solid choice for those who need towing capability with lots of interior space, or consistently have to move a larger number of people than will fit inside a minivan.