Editor’s Note: SPECIAL THANKS TO FIVE STAR FORD IN CARROLLTON, TX & EXPLORER VANS FOR MAKING THIS REVIEW POSSIBLE.
This is a bit of an unusual review this week as I take a look at the 2019 Ford Transit van with a full Explorer custom conversion package. Explorer is one of the largest van converters in America.
This is the Transit 150, a half-ton version, but you can get it a ¾ ton as well.
Under the hood is one of my favorite engines, the 3.5-liter V6 Ecoboost that puts out 310-horses, but 400-pound feet of torque. Also available is a 3.7 V6 or a 3.2-liter Powerstroke diesel. All engines are mated to a 6-speed automatic.
When you open the dual side doors to look inside, you see a beautiful interior with long side skylights up high and a power rear sunroof above the rear seat passengers.
This is a raised roof version, which gives it a very open and airy feeling. Even claustrophobic people would feel good riding in it. A person over about 5’5” can’t stand up straight in it, but if you do want to move around, the extra height makes it much easier.
The configuration of the Explorer van is two captain chairs in the front, four captain chairs in the middle, then a bench seat in the rear that power-folds into a bed. You can put nine people in here for traveling, but I think eight would be more comfortable.
The two front captain chairs in the passenger area will turn around so everyone can see each other. Or, you can leave them all facing forward if you want to watch the 29” Samsung color TV that is wired for video games or it has a Blue Ray Wi-Fi and HDMI component for streaming your favorite programs.
All the captain chairs have fold down armrests, are super-comfortable, and they recline and slide. They are slightly bolstered and heavily stitched. I would liken each of them to a top-notch home recliner with headrests and skirting.
If you want to sleep in your Explorer van, it comes complete with sliding window shades for privacy, and there are all kinds of indirect lighting as well as reading lights.
From the driver’s chair, you see mostly the dash done by Ford before Explorer got ahold of it, but there are a few black glossy accents. You see a tachometer on the left and speedometer on the right. In the center is the driver info center, which is operated from the steering wheel.
A large gear shifter is to the right of the steering wheel and center dash is the Ford Sync 3 system with navigation, apps, Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi hotspot, settings, and voice activation.
There is a floor mounted center console between the two front seats and you’ll find cup holders everywhere. The two front factory windows are unusual, for the driver and passenger, about half of each window is stationary and will not move, and the other portion is electric.
Notable features include front and rear air conditioning, heated front seats with power lumbar, a power inverter for your video games, a vacuum cleaner, and a fantastic sound system with speakers everywhere.
The exterior is a cross between something the CIA would drive and an expensive limo. It does command a lot of looks from people. For my personal taste, I would like to see larger tires and wheels, they seem small for a van this size.
Ride and Drive
The shocker for me was the way it drives and handles. I expected it to be cumbersome to drive and loud inside. This van is neither. In fact, it is easier to drive than most full-sized SUVs and the turning radius is comparable to most sedans. Total height is 8-feet so it will fit in many garages and it will tow 6000 pounds. Before you plan to put it in the garage, check the length, it’s quite long.
What You’ll Pay
The EPA doesn’t rate this van, but in mixed driving I am averaging 14 miles per gallon. Total MSRP of the van with the Explorer package is just a few dollars over $75,000, much less than some of the upper line full-sized SUVs.
Clearly this vehicle is not for everybody, but for traveling, I can’t imagine anything more luxurious, roomy, and enjoyable. I also find it to be an outstanding value!
2019 Ford Transit 150 w/Explorer Conversion Review
- What I liked most: Fantastic driving qualities, value, luxurious interior.
- What I would change: Love to see bigger tires and some hot wheels.
- MSRP: Total with options & conversion Package: $75,008.
- Fuel Economy: Not rated, but averaging 14+ MPG combined.
- Official Color: Shadow Black.
- Odometer reading when tested: 80 miles.
- Weight: N/A.
- Final Assembly Location: Chassis: Kansas City Conversion: Warsaw, IN.
- Spare Tire: Full-sized spare.
- Length-Width-Height: 237.6” long/97.4” wide/96” high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 25.5 gallons with the filler inside the driver’s door.
- Towing Capacity: 6000 pounds.
- 2019 Transit Explorer in a few words: The ultimate travel vehicle or tailgate party bus!
- Warranty: 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty with roadside assistance, 5-year/60,000 mile power train warranty.
- Manufacturer’s website: www.ford.com & www.explorervans.com
- Up Next: 2019 Mercedes-Benz C300 Cabriolet.