The 2014 Ford Transit differs significantly from the current E-Series, which has been America’s best-selling commercial van for 33 years. Engineers had a goal of developing a new commercial van focused on meeting the customer’s “latest and greatest needs in terms of fuel economy and overall efficiency of use,” Chris Brewer, Transit’s Chief Engineer, said during an interview with SAE Magazines.
Transit is offered in 129.9-in (3299-mm) or 147.6-in (3749-mm) wheelbases, three body lengths, and three roof heights.
The high roof is 110.2 in (2799 mm) and has interior cargo height of 81.5 in (2070 mm). Transit’s medium roof is 100.8 in (2560 mm) and has interior cargo height of 72.0 in (1829 mm). The low roof version is 83.2 in (2113 mm) and has interior cargo height of 55.8 in (1417 mm). Transit’s interior cargo volume ranges from approximately 250 ft3 (7.1 m3) to almost 500 ft3 (14.2 m3).
The E-Series via the E-150, E-250 Super Duty, and E-350 Super Duty has one wheelbase, one roof height, as well as regular and extended length configurations.
According to Tim Stoehr, Ford’s Commercial Truck Marketing Manager, the E-Series will likely have production overlap with Transit vans and wagons until mid-2014. But the heavy-duty E-Series chassis cab and cutaway body-on-frame vehicles will stay in production until “near the end of the decade.”
The North American-sold, rear-wheel-drive Transit will offer three engine choices: a flex-fuel (gasoline or E85 compatible) 3.7-L Ti-VCT V6; a gasoline 3.5-L EcoBoost V6, the same engine available in the Ford F-150 pickup truck; and the diesel-fueled 3.2-L Power Stroke five-cylinder. Transit’s 3.7-L V6 engine will be available with a compressed natural gas/liquid propane gas prep kit from an up-fitter.
Each Transit engine—yet to be North American rated—will mate to Ford’s 6R80 six-speed automatic transmission. The E-Series engine options are a 4.6-L V8, a 5.4-L V8, and a 6.8-L V10.
According to Jim Farley, Executive Vice President for Global Marketing, Sales and Service, “We expect to be best-in-class in fuel economy in every [Transit] version.”
The 3.2-L Power Stroke diesel engine, expected to be B20 biodiesel compatible, uses common-rail piezoelectric fuel injectors. Maximum fuel pressure is 26,100 psi (1800 bar). Each injector nozzle has eight spray holes for delivering up to five injections per combustion cycle. The engine’s variable-geometry Honeywell turbocharger has a maximum impeller speed of 197,800 rpm.
According to Pete Lyon, Ford’s Chief Calibration Engineer, the 3.2-L diesel engine’s emissions aftertreatment system is packaged differently than the 6.7-L Power Stroke diesel engine offered in the F-Series Super Duty trucks.
The 3.2-L engine has a diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) and diesel particulate filter (DPF) in one brick versus the 6.7-L Power Stroke engine having the DOC and the DPF as separate components. A selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system is also part of the emissions aftertreatment package.
“This is the 4th-generation of the Puma engine family that started in the mid-1990s. When we put it in the global Ranger [pickup truck] last year, we knew we were bringing it [to North America],” Lyon told SAE Magazines, noting that upfront planning meant only “minimal changes with the exception of the aftertreatment system.”
In Europe, certain versions of Transit will be available in front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive with a turbocharged 2.2-L Duratorq four-cylinder diesel as the lone engine choice.
In North America, Transit’s front suspension consists of subframe-mounted MacPherson struts with stabilizer bar, while the rear suspension is a solid-axle with leaf springs and heavy-duty, gas-charged shock absorbers.
The hydraulic-powered rack and pinion steering provides a curb-to-curb turning circle of 39.2 ft (11.9 m) for the medium-wheelbase and 43.7 ft (13.3 m) for the long-wheelbase version. The new Transit has a four wheel power disc antilock braking system, will be available with single- or dual-rear wheels, and will offer 180° or 270° opening rear cargo doors.
On the material front, the 2014 Transit uses more boron steel than any other Ford vehicle.
According to Brewer, “Boron steel is used in the front rails and in the longitudinal members that run underneath the floorpan fore and aft of the vehicle. We’re also using boron going up in the A-, B-, and D-pillars to help stabilize the body sides as it wraps into the roof.”
Brewer said that using boron steel helps elicit a rigid box, enabling better safety performance and a longer life “without soft failure modes like squeak or rattle.”
Boron also had a weight reduction role, as the new Transit is approximately 300 lb (136 kg) lighter than the E-Series vans.
The vehicle’s technology offerings include AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control, a 6.5-in touchscreen display for navigation, Sync technology with the MyFord Touch voice-activated communications and entertainment system, and Class IV trailer tow package with tow/haul mode.
Start of production for North American Transits begins in late 2013 at Ford’s Kansas City, MO, plant. The six-speed transmission will be assembled in Livonia, MI. North America’s two gasoline-fueled engines will be built in Cleveland, OH, while diesel engine assembly is in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.