Ford unveiled its 2009 E-Series full-size van and the Transit Connect compact van -- its newest commercial vehicle offering -- at The Work Truck Show in Atlanta.
Rob Stevens, chief engineer for commercial vehicles, said E-Series improvements include a redesigned instrument panel and console, door trim panels with more storage, built-in auxiliary switches users can customize, wider-opening rear doors, more comfortable seats, and a "first-in-class" factory-installed navigation system. A new message center features standard vehicle maintenance information as well as miles-to-empty and fuel economy numbers. The message center is standard on vans equipped with the 6.0-liter Power Stroke V-8 turbodiesel engine and includes an engine-hour meter that keeps a running total of engine use, even during idling.
A new door system makes it easier to move the rear doors to their full-open position. A detent allows the doors to be held open at 95 degrees. When needed, they can be opened to 172 degrees with a simple push, allowing full access to the rear cargo area.
There are more fueling options. E-Series full-size cargo vans equipped with 4.6-liter and 5.4-liter engines are capable of running on E85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline), pure gasoline or any blend in between. All E-Series engines are designed to meet 2010 emissions standards.
Ford added safety equipment, including new optional, dash-mounted front-passenger air bag cutoff switch on vans and cutaways; standard AdvanceTrac with RSC (Roll Stability Control) on all wagons and recreational vans and optional on commercial vans with gasoline engines; and an optional factory-installed integrated trailer brake controller that allows direct operation of the trailer's electronic brakes by squeezing the control module on the instrument panel with more confidence than typical aftermarket systems.
E-Series vans can be ordered with any of the four Ford WorkSolutions "smart" technology features, including an in-dash computer developed with Magneti Marelli and powered by Microsoft Auto that provides full high-speed Internet access via the Sprint Mobile broadband network and navigation by Garmin. It's the first broadband-capable in-dash computer in production and features available wireless accessories including a mouse and printer. System allows customers to print invoices and access documents stored on their home or office computer networks right on the job site.
Stevens said the Transit Connect is a compact van purpose-built for small business owners seeking a fuel-efficient alternative to full-size vans. It is designed, engineered and manufactured by Ford of Europe. According to Stevens, its standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission will deliver estimated fuel economy of 19 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. Cargo capacity is 143 cu ft and it can handle loads up to 6.5 ft in length and 4.7 ft in width.
The compact van boasts a flat load floor, dual sliding side cargo doors and rear doors that open 180 degrees, as well as front doors with large openings to make entering and exiting the vehicle for delivery drivers.