Design //

It’s a Man’s Life in the 2017 Ford Transit-350 Extended Cargo Van

Can a man drive coast to coast in 72 hours, living, eating and sleeping in a 2017 Ford Transit-350 Extended Cargo Van?

John Scott Lewinskiby John Scott Lewinski

The challenge was to review a Ford Transit Van. It’s supposed to be difficult because it’s not necessarily a consumer product. It’s a massively popular fleet or utility vehicle for professional use. You’ll find Ford Transits in every corner of the world keeping deliveries rolling or transporting folks wherever they need to go.

So, when this reporter needed to transport some items in storage from Los Angeles to New York, he decided to review the 2017 Ford Transit-350 Extended Cargo Van en route. However, I added the extra wrinkle of agreeing to drive, eat and sleep in the van in order to cross the country in three days’ time.

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While the Transit is naturally a large machine as one of the last true vans still rolling out of factories, the red machine that headed my way had the extended roof. The extra space gives the truck a sort of Tardis effect, if I can revert to nerd vernacular for a moment. The van seems bigger on the inside as an entire contents of a full 5′ x 10″ storage space failed to fill even half of the Transit’s cargo area.

That extra height and space was a good thing because this traveler needed to make a bed in the back if I was going to duck two nights of hotel rates by sleeping “en truck.” Coincidentally, the additional height made eating more of a challenge. If this big machine cruised into the wrong drive-thru window out on the highway, the red paint on that roof could end up peeled away. I parked and walked in for whatever limited cuisine I found along the I-80.

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Ford’s designers and engineers deserve credit for putting together a sizable van that drives as smoothly — as easily — as an automobile. The driver still needs to be aware of the Transit’s beefier dimensions while turning and maneuvering in traffic, but steering and accelerating is as effective and comfortable as in any vehicle half the van’s size.

The standard onboard 3.7 liter V6 is more than enough to push the Transit along at smooth highway speeds. There’s a patrolman somewhere in Nebraska that can attest to that after writing me a cross-country ticket for doing 65 in a 55.

As for any drama on making my 3,000+ trip, I obviously made it one piece as I sit here typing this brief account. The cab’s driver’s seat ergonomics were comfortable enough that my backside was still speaking to me after a total of 63 hours either behind the wheel or crashing in the van’s hold. While I wouldn’t vote thumbs up for the wintery overnights in the back of a Transit, I can recommend the 2017 Ford Transit-350 Extended Cargo Van for heavy duty moving work.