Diesel engine technology has long been favored by the U.S. rail and trucking systems for its excellent towing capacity and strong mileage. But until recently, diesel has been largely shunned by consumers. Perhaps it has something to do with the stinky, billowing purple clouds emitted from Oldsmobiles and Benzs of the past, but that line of thinking will soon pass. Yes, in light of today’s near $5 gallon gas and stringent new mileage standards, automobile manufacturers are increasingly opting to give American consumers diesel power.
Ford is now in that line, with the unveiling today that the blue oval’s next commercial van, the E-Series replacement, the 2014 Transit Cargo and Transit Passenger Van, will have a diesel-powered engine option. It’s an idea that is long past due and will be much appreciated by the countless church groups, indie bands, and airport shuttle companies that crave more than the current offering’s 14 mpg highway.
In addition to shedding more than 300 pounds to improve fuel economy, the new Transit Vans will offer the same 3.5-liter V-6 with EcoBoost that is found in Ford’s popular F-150. In that configuration, the F-150 rates 22 mpg highway and actually betters V-8 engine performance. Both the V-6 and the so far un-detailed diesel engine promise to offer 25-percent better fuel mileage than the outgoing E-Series Van, which, depending on configuration, rated between 14- and 16-mpg highway. That puts the new Transit Van at around 18-20 mpg highway with increased capacity, a stunning achievement.
“With fleet operators facing skyrocketing fuel prices and constant pressure to reduce costs, Ford continues to expand its range,” said Kevin Koswick, director, North American Fleet, Lease and Remarketing Operations for Ford. “By offering multiple options to help solve these challenges, Ford is giving fleet customers true power of choice in finding solutions that best meet their specific needs.”
Automotive.com’s take: Your move, Chevy and Nissan.