2011 Ford E-Series Performance

$8,659 - $11,881

2011 Ford E-Series Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2011 Ford E-Series was new.


Performance: 7.0

No one would say that the Ford E-Series is fun to drive, but its performance is adequate for the class. Though reviewers advise skipping the base 4.6-liter V8 engine, the optional V8 and V10 engines offer excellent power for towing and hauling. Handling is a mixed bag. The press notes that body roll is a predominant feature, but that may not be an issue for buyers interested purely in the E-Series’ towing and hauling capabilities.

  • "Driving an E-Series van is somewhat like piloting a big SUV, only there is a bit more rear overhang." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Behind the wheel, the Econoline feels about how you'd expect. The turning circle is enormous and body roll in turns is akin to that of a commercial fishing boat riding out a squall. The ride is better than it used to be, though, and most shoppers in this segment will gladly accept the Econoline's forgettable handling characteristics in return for its impressive utility." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The Ford E-Series offers a wide range of engines. On the E-150, the base engine is a 4.6-liter V8 that makes 225 horsepower and 286 pound-feet of torque. Most reviewers say this engine isn't up to heavy loads and prefer the available 5.4-liter V8, which makes 255 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. The 5.4-liter engine is the standard engine on the E-350, though a 6.8-liter V10 that makes 305 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque is optional on the E-350. No diesel engine is available.

As with most big vans, fuel economy is not one of the E-Series' strong points. The EPA hasn't released fuel economy estimates, but reviewers complain about fuel economy in the low teens. If you don't need all the power that these engines provide for towing, you may want to consider the Ford Transit Connect. It costs less than the E-Series and gets much better fuel economy. It doesn't have the cargo space of the E-Series, but for a small business that needs light-duty hauling abilities, like a florist or caterer, the Transit Connect can save a lot on fuel.

  • "The 4.6-liter V8 is sufficient only for those who don't plan on hauling a lot of people or stuff -- or who don't mind lethargic acceleration while doing so. Either of the uplevel engines should suit most buyers just fine." -- Edmunds
  • "The E-Series offers a strong line of engine choices, with the base V8 delivering good power and torque for the standard-wheelbase models. Extended-length E-250 and E-350 models offer a choice of powerplants, including the Triton V10 and Power Stroke V8 turbo diesel." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Avoid the underpowered 4.6-liter V8. The 5.4-liter V8 is the best all-around choice. The V10 and turbodiesel V8 are best for towing, but are otherwise more engine than most will likely need." -- Consumer Guide

Handling and Braking

Most reviewers say that the Ford E-Series is not a joy to drive, but that's true of all vans in this class. Compared to the competition, reviewers say that the E-Series doesn't offer standout handing, though it is fairly composed. One shortcoming of the E-Series is that it does not offer all-wheel drive. The Chevy Express and GMC Savana do, but those passenger van models start out almost $500 more than the E-Series.

  • "Like rivals, these vans are clumsy to park, a chore on twisty roads, and easily buffeted by highway crosswinds. Wet-road traction is poor without some weight over the rear wheels. Stopping power is improved by the standard rear disc brakes but still not short or stable by minivan standards." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Big vans are ponderous vehicles, but these vans are as competent as any, with steering much improved over that of earlier generations." -- Car and Driver
  • "As for the handling, we doubt commercial van shoppers really care how quickly these behemoths can go around corners." -- Edmunds
  • "The steering is moderately dampened to give the driver some sense of the road, and the ride is fairly smooth when the vehicle is fully loaded." -- Kelley Blue Book

Hauling and Towing

The Ford E-Series accomplishes can tow slightly more than the Chevy Express and GMC Savana.  While the Express 1500 and Savana 1500 can only tow up to 6,000 and 6,200 pounds, respectively, the E-150 can handle 7,000 pounds. The E-350 super-duty can handle up to 10,000 pounds, provided it's properly equipped. In contrast, the 3500 vans from Chevy and GMC can only tow 9,700 pounds.

  • “Most minivans can do a full-sizer's job except when it comes to outright load space and towing capability." -- Consumer Guide

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