No, I am not here with your Amazon package: That message is a key benefit of the optional Kapoor Red Metallic paint ($200) on this Ford Transit Crew Van, separating it from its ubiquitous blue counterparts. That sparkly ruby hue, stretched over vast swaths of full-size van real estate, also prompted an unsolicited “Oh wow Dada!” from my not-quite-two-year-old.
As a guy who likes vans, station wagons, cars with pickup beds and anything else that’s just outside the mainstream, I was also pretty jazzed, especially since this model featured all-wheel drive. (The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van is also available with all-wheel drive.)
Of course, while I have fantasies of driving an extra-capable van every day, slogging through winter slush, hauling bulky items on the weekends and perpetually avoiding Bethesda parking garages, most buyers of this van will be businesses. (So what business needs a van that can spin all four wheels while holding five people? The Weather Channel? A 365-day-a-year team of mobile dog groomers? Anyone operating up north? I’m just not sure.) The van is also available in cargo and passenger varieties, and with a higher or lower roof.
Driving anything big takes some getting used to and this is no exception. But with a 3.5 liter V6 and a 10-speed automatic, acceleration was surprisingly brisk, with the transmission ready and willing to find the right gear.
Also surprisingly, braking was confidence-inspiring. Cornering in anything with a high center of gravity is still an exercise to be taken seriously. An array of mirrors (one regular, one for the blind spot on each side) along with sensors and cameras help the driver navigate.
I averaged 15.9 mpg in mixed driving. Trips can get noisy inside, with that giant void behind the seats filling with bouncing sound waves. The van tended to wander a bit on the highway, and parking is tricky unless a contractor spot opens up at Home Depot.
The Crew arrangement means two seats up front, followed by a three-seat bench next to a single sliding door, and then all that cargo space. The second row is removable, with much effort. Bright LED lights in the cargo area are greatly appreciated, as are the easy-to-clean rubber floors below the seats.
Still, this is a fancy van. Standard features include rain-sensing wipers and a WiFi hotspot. A key safety feature — automatic emergency braking, which can reduce speeds of or entirely avoid rear-end collisions — is standard. Optional adaptive cruise control ($755) and blind-spot detection ($595) were also included.
The Transit Crew can range from 218 to 264 inches in length and from 82 to 110 inches in height. A Chevy Suburban, by comparison, is about 226 inches long and 76 inches tall.
With the options and delivery, this one came in at $49,585. It’s certainly not cheap, but that’s a price point that can easily be blown past in the pickup market. But this way, you don’t have a giant hood to look out over and your stuff stays locked up and dry – all in something that can get you and four others through the winter.
Oh wow indeed.