Ford unveiled its “next generation” 2008 E-Series commercial van line — including cargo vans, cutaways and passenger wagons — at The Work Truck Show of the National Truck Equipment Assn. in Indianapolis last month.

The latest E-Series are distinguished by their Super Duty-inspired front end that both makes a bold visual statement and improves engine performance with increased airflow, said Joe Castelli, director of commercial truck marketing. The new design involves all new sheetmetal from the A-pillars forward, including hood, fenders, radiator support, grille and bumpers.

Castelli said the '08 E-Series also boasts numerous chassis and suspension upgrades that “increase capability and improve ride and handling.” He pointed out that the E-Series is the only vehicle in its segment to offer a standard V-8. The E-150 and E-250 cargo vans come with a 4.6-liter Triton V-8 and new for '08, the E-450 now comes with a 5.4-liter V-8.

Other key features include:

  • Revised steering system and front and rear suspensions “improve driving dynamics and braking performance to help drivers navigate urban streets.”

  • New, segment-exclusive E-Guard double-lock design for side and rear doors that “adds cargo security straight from the factory.”

  • Engine-only traction control system.

  • Tire-pressure monitoring system standard on all single rear wheel models.

  • PTO provision optional on 6.8-liter cutaways and strip chassis with 158- and 176-in. wheelbases.

  • Additional E-350 SRW Cutaway model has optional mid-ship fuel tank for more usable rear GVWR.

The chassis and suspension improvements resulted in boosting the maximum GVWR from 14,050 to 14,500 lb., which Castelli termed “class leading.” In addition, the maximum front gross axle weight rating has increased from 4,600 lb. to 5,000 lb.

“E-Series buyers have largely moved commercial in the couple of decades,” noted Cristi Brown, E-Series marketing manager. “Today, 95% of our sales are to commercial or fleet users with about half of those being cargo vans. We've tailored E-Series cargo vans to provide the kind of options these customers look for and to deliver them affordably.”

Brown said Ford is offering three no-charge ship-through cargo upfit packages aimed at commercial buyers. These are designed to save money and time by allowing the van to be delivered to a dealer fully equipped.

The three cargo van upfit packages are:

  • EconoCargo system protects cargo with durable panels of high-density polyethylene; insulated interior retains heat and cold more efficiently.

  • Masterack work-bin system for securing tools and parts includes fully installed steel shelves, drawers and cabinets and full-width safety partition.

  • QuietFlex racks and bins system is made of composite material to provide “a quieter, more flexible storage solution.”
    www.fordvehicles.com