2020 Ford Transit 350 AWD: Review

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceWhat Is It?
When it comes to hauling people and their gear, things don’t get much bigger than the extended-length, high-roof Ford Transit — the next size up would likely be a bus. Transit is the best-selling van in America, outselling the most popular minivans by a considerable margin. Available in cargo or passenger configurations, the 2020 Ford Transit 350 offers one of the most spacious and versatile interiors in a surprisingly easy-to-drive vehicle.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceTest Vehicle
Ford provided a 2020 Ford Transit 350 HD High Roof Extended Length XLT AWD version painted in Magnetic Metallic — the largest van in the Ford lineup. Features include seating for 14, power sliding door, running boards, leather trim, a premium audio system with SYNC3 and navigation, HID headlights and the EcoBoost V6 engine. Total MSRP lists at $60,875. Competitors to the Ford Transit include the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Chevrolet Express, GMC Savanna, Dodge Ram ProMaster and Nissan NV.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceStyling
When imagining a vehicle to haul 14 passengers and immense amounts of cargo, designers would be hard-pressed not to create a large box — and ultimately that’s what the 2020 Ford Transit 350 resembles. Granted, the Transit has fresh styling for the 2020 model year, including a new grille and HID headlights with a signature LED surround that give the big van a modern look. The 16-inch wheels seem especially diminutive given the van’s huge proportions, despite dual rear wheels providing a stronger overall look.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSpacious Interior
Spacious is an understatement when it comes to the Transit’s interior. Our test vehicle was the high-roof model with the extended-length body, which offers room for five rows of seats (including the front seats), plenty of cargo space and vast amounts of floor space. And with 77 inches of interior height in the 2020 Ford Transit 350, most adults will not need to lower their heads when walking down the aisle.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceUp Front
The Ford Transit provides plenty of storage space up in front. The center console has several cubbies with multiple cupholders, and additional storage and cupholders can be found on the outside ends of the dashboard. The top of the dashboard contains additional storage with a USB port and 12-volt power supply. Additional storage locations above the front seats are within arms’ reach.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceLatest Tech
Although a 4-inch display is standard on the 2020 Ford Transit 350, our tester Transit arrived with the upgraded 8-inch color touchscreen display running SYNC3 — the latest version of Ford’s infotainment and telematics system. The Ford system is easy to read and navigate, and it features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay for additional functionality. The Transit 350 also has a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot that supports up to 10 devices.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceEasy Entry
Integrated running boards provide an easy step into both front doors of the 2020 Ford Transit 350, as well as through the extremely large side entrance. The test Transit was equipped with a power sliding side door for easy ingress and egress.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRear Seats
Every seat in every row of the 2020 Ford Transit 350 van offers decent legroom. The tall ceiling and big windows eliminate feelings of claustrophobia, even for those relegated to the rearmost row. A USB port and cupholder can be found at every row, and seats recline a few degrees for a bit more comfort. Air vents throughout the van ensure that everyone keeps cool — or warm, depending on the season.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceEmergency Exit
There may not be lights for guidance, but in case of emergency the closest exit may be behind you. In all our years testing vehicles, the 2020 Ford Transit 350 is the first one we’ve driven with a designated emergency exit.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceCargo Space
The rear doors of the 2020 Ford Transit 350 are incredibly large and can be opened a full 180 degrees. With more than 100 cubic feet of cargo space behind the fifth row, the van has plenty of room to accommodate luggage and/or gear for almost any adventure.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceUnder the Hood
Powering the 2020 Ford Transit 350 in our possession for testing was the 3.5-liter EcoBoost turbocharged V6 engine producing a plentiful 310 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. Power gets sent to the full-time all-wheel-drive system via a new 10-speed automatic transmission. The EPA doesn’t require vehicles of this size to report fuel economy; however, during our test drives we didn’t see much more than 12 mpg on the trip computer.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceHauling
Carrying multiple passengers is the main reason for piloting the Ford Transit Passenger Van, but it still needs to haul the gear associated with those passengers. According to Ford, the Transit 350 can tow up to 4,300 pounds or haul a bit more than 2,000 pounds.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOn the Road
Sliding behind the wheel of a vehicle 22 feet long and 8 feet wide (with mirrors) can be a bit intimidating, although it quickly becomes apparent that the 2020 Ford Transit 350 has the smooth demeanor of a very drivable vehicle. The driver sits up high with a large windshield providing a commanding view ahead, while huge rearview mirrors help with monitoring and maneuvering. We’ve never appreciated a blind-spot warning system as much as we did while driving the Transit 350.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceDecent Power
The EcoBoost engine in the 2020 Ford Transit 350 provides plenty of power, and the big van feels surprisingly quick and responsive. Shifts are smooth and quiet for nice, even power delivery. Cruising on the freeway at 80 mph feels stable — not a given for something so tall. However, the ride does get a bit bouncy on rough pavement. The bounce would be less of an issue if the Transit were loaded with people and/or cargo.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceParking Difficulty
Although employing the 2020 Ford Transit 350 as a daily driver would certainly be possible, parking and maneuvering would be big challenges. Multiple camera views certainly help, but ultimately the Transit doesn’t fit into a typical parking space one might find at a grocery store or pay lot. Parking would likely need to be at the back of such a lot. One plus though — the tall Transit is always easy to spot.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 8.5
Clearly a vehicle as large as the Ford Transit 350 gets built for specific purposes such business use, so it won’t be for everyone. But for those who need to consistently carry many passengers and lots of cargo, the Transit certainly gets the job done. With a huge interior, comfortable seating, impressive capability and the added traction of all-wheel drive, the Transit could be the ultimate vehicle for vast nuclear families — or those who decide to start a side job as a shuttle driver.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Transit 350 HD
Massive rear cargo doors.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Transit 350 HD
Easy step into the driver’s seat.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Transit 350 HD
Storage above front seats.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Transit 350 HD
Addtional storage with USB and 12-volt power integrated atop the dashboard.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Transit 350 HD
110-volt outlet located between front seats.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Transit 350 HD
Plenty of space.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Transit 350 HD
Decent legroom for each row.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Transit 350 HD
Seats can be reclined.

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