Ford Transit Custom Running Costs, MPG, Economy, Reliability, Safety

The Ford Transit gasoline engine

The Ford Transit has two gasoline engine options for both the previous model years and the newly-updated 2020 Transit van. According to Ford, the 2019 transit van employed either the standard 3.7 liter V6 or a 3.5 liter EcoBoost engine, which “delivers best-in-class maximum gas torque.” The 2019 transit engines pair with a 6-speed automatic transmission. These engines have an overall EPA rating of 15 and 16 mpg respectively.

AWD provides enhanced traction on icy, snowy or mu
AWD provides enhanced traction on icy, snowy or muddy roads | Ford Media

For 2020, the Ford Transit keeps that 3.5 liter twin-turbo EcoBoost. Also, a new 3.5 liter gas engine with updated technology for maximizing fuel efficiency without sacrificing power. EPA ratings for the 2020 Transit show 17 mpg overall in the gasoline engines. The improvement largely due to a new 10 speed transmission that boosts the economy of both gas and diesel engines.


Toms Takeaways

I'll be frank, there were a couple of surprises in this list – namely, the Fiat Ducato grabbing the number 3 spot & the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter just scraping the number 5 spot. So, let's just take a moment to look at what they were & why they were such a surprise for me.

  • First of all, the Ducato's engine is 0.2 litres larger than the Sprinter's, which made me feel like it was going to be less efficient despite the Sprinter's engine being more powerful.

  • Secondly, isn't it impressive that the Fiat Ducato can carry over 1600kg?! The platform it's built on is clearly as hard as nails.

  • Thirdly, that automatic transmission vans are now MORE efficient than their manual equivalents just shows you how advanced today's auto gearboxes are & why you might want to snap up a van with one fitted.

To finish up, I'd offer this advice to anyone using this list as part of their research into choosing a large panel van. There are loads to choose from, so make your choice on the things that matter to you & your business needs. If you have to drive long distances, fuel economy will play a bigger part in your decision-making process than someone who operates locally. Either way, you'll find the large van sector is packed with choice. Happy hunting.

A Savvy-Shifting Transmission

No matter what, the transmissions do well to deterYou can pair your Ford Transit Connect with one of two intelligent transmissions. The first choice is a 6-speed automatic, while the second is an 8-speed automatic, each coming with SelectShift® capabilities.

No matter what, the transmissions do well to determine your driving movements and adjust gears to help keep your experience behind the wheel smooth and efficient. From downshifting as you travel down a steep slope to upshifting as you merge onto the highway, all the controls are astute and predictive.

Ford Van Options That Affect Fuel Mileage

Ford Transits come in a number of different configurations from the factory.

The largest impacts come from engine choice (fuel efficiency), roof height (aerodynamics), and body length (weight), and gearing (engine speed).

Ford Transit Engines

Transits have come with a variety of engines over the years. In 2021, they were offered with the 275hp 3.5L PFDI gas engine and the 310hp 3.5L EcoBoost gas engine. These engines have the same displacement at 3.5 liters, but the EcoBoost also features a turbo and more horsepower and torque. Over the years, the practicality of the extra power of the EcoBoost has been a good reason for the upgrade, and is more enjoyable if you're the one driving the van.

Expect the EcoBoost to have slightly worse mileage due to changes in driving habits from the increased power.

Ford Transit Roof Heights

The largest impact roof heights will have on fuel mileage are that more height is less aerodynamic. This is a pretty big deal – even just adding a roof rack to a regular car can cost an mpg or two. Roof height will also add a little weight to a Transit van build.

Is this a reason to avoid roof height?

Not at all.

Having the ability to carry more tools or inventory is great, but the ability to stand in your van is probably one of the biggest benefits to a taller-roofed Transit. A typical tradesperson will appreciate not needing to kneel or hunch over to grab a tool or part.

Ford Transit Body Length

The longer a Transit is, the heavier it is. A little extra body can add up to a couple hundred pounds on a Transit, although this isn't necessarily a big deal on a trades van.

More important things to consider are the amount of cargo space that you require, how a the long rear overhang on a Long-EL will affect your driving, and whether a longer body will affect you in driving and parking situations.

Transit Gearing

Axle gearing is essentially invisible – you can't see it and you probably need to ask the dealer what ratio your Transit has. There are manual ways to figure out gearing on a used vehicle if you really want to know.

Axle gears are the ring and pinion gears that redirect your driveshaft's output by 90 degrees to the axle shafts that drive your wheels. The small pinion gear spins a larger ring gear; the ring gear teeth:pinion gear teeth is the gear ratio. Axle gear ratios in Transits changes depending on the engine and cargo volume that you choose.

Higher gearing is numerically lower (like 3.31:1) and will give you better fuel mileage. Lower gearing is numerically higher (like 4.10:1) and will give you worse mileage but be more snappy and responsive. You don't really have control over gearing, you'll get what you get with your model.

Putting It All Together

One of the most noticeable things about going from a Regular length, Low roof, 3.5L PFDI-engine Transit cargo van to a Long-EL length, High Roof, 3.5L version is the weight difference: 630 lbs! This is according to Ford's published specs which are a little generic – there's no differentiation between a Transit 150 and a Transit 350, but the difference is there.

The options for the larger van above contribute to a whopping 11.2% of the weight gain from a base cargo van model.

While this is important for mileage, you might be better off paying attention to what that does to your payload capacity and whether you need a heavier duty model.

Infotainment and Connectivity

The base Transit is equipped with features such as a four-speaker sound system, Bluetooth phone and music streaming, and a 4.0-inch multi-function display. All models come with a Wi-Fi hotspot that allows your passengers to enjoy easy connectivity. The options list includes an 8.0-inch display screen, integrated navigation, Sirius XM satellite radio, and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay smartphone integration.

Estimated Annual Fuel Cost of Cargo Vans

?Green = Compact Cargo Vans, ?Orange = Diesel Carg

?Green = Compact Cargo Vans, ?Orange = Diesel Cargo Vans, ?Blue = Standard Gasoline Cargo Vans

MPG alone doesn’t tell the full picture of the economics of owning and operating cargo vans. Here, we compare the annual fuel cost of cargo vans with the following assumption: 15,000 annual miles driven and 50/50 city & highway usage.

The formula used is (Annual miles driven x Gas Price) / Combined Fuel Economy

Model Annual fuel cost
Ford Transit Connect $1,282
Nissan NV200 $1,308
RAM Promaster City $1,363
Mercedes-Benz Metris $1,486
Ford Transit (Diesel) $1,657
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (Diesel) $1,736
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (Gasoline) $1,801
GMC Savana $1,912
Ford Transit (Gasoline) $1,924
RAM Promaster (Gasoline) $1,982
Nissan NV $2,180

1. Vauxhall Movano / Renault Master – 48.5MPG*

I think we can all agree that this is a superb res

I think we can all agree that this is a superb result for the Vauxhall Movano with the big 2.3-litre diesel engine in the 150PS guise. Interestingly, the Renault Master – which platform shares with the Movano – is only slightly beaten by the Movano & totally capable of offering users a formidable 47.9MPG. The Movano, however, is the star of the show, achieving almost 50mpg (unladen). At the 150PS output, the diesel engine also offers drivers an excellent 385nm of torque, which means big payloads are very possible. Overall, either the Movano or Master will provide a great combination for someone needing an efficient load carrier that offers real ROI in fuel savings.

Aerodynamic Body Construction

When it comes to designing a smarter passenger wagon, it really comes down to the design of this vehicle’s body. The Ford Transit Connect has been built with clever details that help to maximize airflow around the frame of the vehicle.

Just take a look at the sloping hood and contoured sidesthis vehicle is able to allow air to simply roll over, as it shrugs wind off its back.

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

The Transit provides adequate warranty protection. Still, you’ll get longer coverage with the Nissan NV and its five-year/100,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty.

  • Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
  • No complimentary scheduled maintenance


VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door van PRICE AS TESTED: $45,670 (base price: $38,900) ENGINE TYPE: twin-turbocharged and intercooled 24-valve DOHC V-6, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection Displacement: 213 cu in, 3497 cc Power: 310 hp @ 5500 rpm Torque: 400 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with manual shifting mode DIMENSIONS: Wheelbase: 147.6 in Length: 235.5 in Width: 81.3 in Height: 100.7 in Passenger volume: 84 cu ft Cargo volume: 357 cu ft Curb weight: 5423 lb C/D TEST RESULTS: Zero to 60 mph: 6.8 sec Zero to 90 mph: 15.3 sec Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 7.1 sec Top gear, 30-50 mph: 3.8 sec Top gear, 50-70 mph: 4.8 sec Standing ¼-mile: 15.3 @ 90 mph Top speed (governor limited): 97 mph Braking, 70-0 mph: 171 ft Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad*: 0.60 g FUEL ECONOMY: C/D observed: 14 mpg C/D observed 75-mph highway driving: 17 mpg C/D observed highway range: 420 mi *stability-control-inhibited

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