2012 Ford E-Series Performance

$10,209 - $13,550

2012 Ford E-Series Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Ford E-Series was new.


Performance: 7.1

No reviewer calls the Ford E-Series fun to drive, but its performance is adequate for the class. Though reviewers advise skipping the underpowered base 4.6-liter V8 engine, the optional larger V8 and V10 engines offer excellent power for towing and hauling. Handling is not one of the E-Series strong points, but this is the case with most work vans.

  • "You don't hear much about the dynamic handling abilities of a full-size van but, if you're curious, the 2012 E-Series van is actually quite easy to live with. Although not as well-heeled as a full-size SUV like the Ford Expedition, the 2012 Ford E-Series is a far cry from vans of yesteryear.” -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Like rivals, these vans are clumsy to park, a chore on twisty roads, and easily buffeted by highway crosswinds.” -- Consumer Guide

Acceleration and Power

The Ford E-Series offers three engines throughout its lineup. 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 is probably not going to be adequate for buyers who need to do any hauling or towing. Test drivers prefer the available 5.4-liter V8, which makes 255 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, saying that it’s a good compromise between the fuel economy of the base engine and the towing power of the larger engine. 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.

The Ford E-Series isn’t available with a V6 or diesel engine. That means that it’s not as economical at the pump as other vans. The base Ford E-150 with the 4.6-liter V8 gets 13/17 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA, and the E-350 with the 6.8-liter V10 gets 10/13 mpg. To check the exact fuel economy of a particular model, see the full list of 2012 Ford E-Series specs.

  • "Avoid the underpowered 4.6-liter V8. The 5.4-liter V8 is the best all-around choice. The V10 is best for towing, but is otherwise more engine than most customers will likely need.” -- Consumer Guide
  • “The base 4.6-liter V8 seems ill-suited for such a utilitarian and brawny hauler as the 2012 Ford E-Series. We find it just barely sufficient for motivating light loads, and acceleration is lethargic at best. Either of the more powerful engines will likely satisfy most drivers.” -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

Most reviewers say that the Ford E-Series is not a joy to drive, but that's true of work vans. Compared with other work vans, 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 have optional all-wheel drive like the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana.

  • "Class-average but acceptable, though 4th- and 5th-row riders in extended-length models are over the rear axle and feel almost every bump.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "The big van drives just about how you'd expect. The turning circle is enormous and any change in direction is accompanied by a sizable amount of body roll. Those used to a carlike ride will probably find the 2012 Ford E-Series Cargo a bit crude but forgivable, given its considerable utility.” -- Edmunds
  • "From the driver's seat, the E-Series delivers a modicum of feedback through its oversized steering wheel, but sudden lane changes and corners rounded too quickly require a bit more attention be paid to the task at hand. The E-Series' ride remains relatively controlled even when the vehicle is fully loaded, although it can get rather bouncy.” -- Kelley Blue Book

Hauling and Towing

With a maximum towing capacity of 10,000 pounds, the Ford E-Series can tow the same amount as its toughest competitors, the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana. The E-350 Super Duty can haul up to 4,060 pounds inside its cargo hold.

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