2011 Ford Econoline E350 Super Duty Wagon 5.4L V8 from North America
Wish I'd met the E350 sooner
Ordinary maintenance items only, including: windshield wipers, fluid refills, battery, and tires.
I drive this van with a group that I volunteer with, so forgive me if my knowledge seems to have holes or isn't very detailed. I am not the main person responsible for the upkeep on the van, but I can tell you it has never left us stranded, so right there I'm a fan (and you should be, too!). This particular model is a 2011 12-passenger wagon (two seats up front, a bench for three, another bench for three, and another bench for four in the very back), E350. 5.4L gas motor.
The Econoline is used primarily for transporting teenagers and camping gear across Pennsylvania and the eastern US coast on highways. We take great care of it, and it still shines like new.
I gave the van a 10 in performance. I honestly think that's fair. No, it's not a Lamborghini. I would've given a Lamborghini an 11 on performance. For what the E350 is, though, performance is beyond exceptional. It's fantastic! It's wonderful to drive this van for four hours. Compared to some Chevy Expresses I've driven, the Ford feels faster, more responsive, more angry, and more capable. I haven't driven any Sprinters yet, but it's on my bucket list. From reading online, I'm not missing much by not having lost my Sprinter virginity. Blink and you go from 0 to 80 in the Econoline. 85 MPH is the absolute fastest I am willing to drive the van, but I have full confidence it could see 110+ without any governors (not that you'd ever want to go that fast in a 12-passenger van, but the capability is certainly there). Maybe I'll give it a shot some day when I have nothing better to do.
Comfort is not bad at all, so don't be discouraged by a score of 8. I originally scored comfort a 7, but I upgraded it to 8 because I really like how rough the E350 rides. I enjoy a rough ride - I'd rather drive across country in the E350 than in my old 2010 Camry. The Camry is too smooth. I'd hate to try riding in a Mercedes with those soft seats. The seats of the E350 are not quite rock hard; I imagine after six years and 43,000 miles they've actually softened up quite a bit. The front seats are angled well, and I like the high backs because they give great support and reduce the complexity provided by head rests. I wish they had manually adjustable lumbar support, but it's a van. Come on. The seat belts could go one inch higher, and there is good (but not great) leg room for the shotgun sitters. The seats themselves sit nice and high off the interior floor of the van. I see why the door arm rests are made of plastic; if I'd procured the van, I would have been happy to pay $1 or $2 extra for fabric on those front doors and having the added but unnecessary hassle of cleaning them.
The back seat comfort might be a 3/10. I really want to take a moment and make that distinction. Only the window seats have arm rests (as well as the one most immediately behind the front passenger). The end caps on that last row have to play patty cake with the rear wheels. The bench seats have next to no lumbar, and the cushion under your toosh is one step better than sitting on a pile of laundry, probably due to the seat frame itself.
Handling isn't bad once you get the hang of it. Don't expect this to handle as crisply as your Toyota Camry, Saturn SW1, or your Dodge Grand Caravan. The E350 turns more tightly than you would expect. You learn how fast you can take the highway curves only by trial and error. I know that from experience. As long as you're not an ignoramus doing 85 in a 50, I guarantee you'll be manuevering this rig like a NASCAR driver in no time. Don't be afraid to back this bad girl up - it's really about the same length as a full-size crew cab truck. If driving a van this size scares you, then I guess you shouldn't be driving a van this size.
The controls are laid out logically, but most of my personal cars have been Fords. This makes me one of the "cool" van drivers because I don't look like a doofus trying to change the radio station in front of the kids. I'm the only driver in our group that can change radio stations and hold a Thermos without swerving. All the other drivers - you got to pick only two.
The back seats are a royal pain (literally) to take out. Installing them isn't so bad. But, they're heavy, odd, bulky, solid, protrusive, lack grab handles, and oddly shaped. You need two hunky men and some dollar store TV dinners to get the momentum to lug those seats around (we aren't allowed beer in our organization). I really wish the seat backs folded down. There are also inconvenient rails left behind when the seats are all out. Haven't tried removing the front passenger seat yet. I'm sure you could if you tried, but we're all afraid that once you remove the front passenger seat, you'll never be able to put it back. We haven't tried it yet, partly because of that and partly because we don't want to mistakenly misplace that seat itself somewhere.
Highway gas mileage in 80 degree weather, doing between 75 and 85 MPH works out to an impressive 12.65 MPG. I didn't expect it to be nearly as fuel efficient as it is. I was expecting six or seven MPG, so I'm absolutely thrilled with 12.65 MPG. The trip computer is pretty accurate. Never tested the city MPG. Probably hovers between six and seven MPG depending on what shoes you're wearing and how much you're exercising the air conditioning that day. So, if you have any nerdy friends who drive Priuses, Teslas, Leafs, and Bolts, they more than compensate for the fuel economy figures the E350 offers. I particularly love to blow the doors off little old lady Prius people, old, senile Buick drivers and the rice burner teenagers when I'm on the highway in the E350.
One thing lacking: there is no mode to have the defrost on at the same time as putting air through the cabin. So, when you're driving through the jungle or the rain forest or the swamp in your E350 and it's really hot and humid out, you pick between having a clear windshield and not having to smell your own sweat aroma. Not both. Pick one. As one of the kids said when I killed the defrost and put on the max A/C one humid evening, "oh, God! It feels like Christmas!"
I think that's about it. Very happy with the van. Kind of wish I had one of these to drive daily for the power fact alone. Thanks for reading my review. Good luck on your E350 search (if you've made it this far, I'm assuming you're strongly considering buying a Ford E350 van).
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 26th June, 2018