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Ford turbocharges replacement for Econoline van

  • transitvan.jpg

     (Ford)

  • tourneoinside.jpg

     (Ford)

  • tourneo660.jpg

     (Ford)

The Econoline van may be nearing the end of the road, but the “Eco” part of its name will live on.

Ford is replacing its full-size van next year with an all-new version of its overseas cousin, the Ford Transit. The unibody Transit is expected to be much more fuel efficient than the truck-frame Econoline (now formally known as the E-Series,) thanks in part to its lower weight, but also because of the engine under its snub-nose hood.

Ford has announced that the launch engine for the rear-wheel-drive Transit will be the same 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 that is currently the top choice among F-150 pickup buyers. More powerful than the largest V8 currently available in the Econoline, the EcoBoost Transit promises a 25 percent gain in efficiency. More engine choices are sure to follow.

Read: 2011 Ford F-150 EcoBoost

Further details on the Transit have not yet been revealed, and Ford says that the line drawing of a high-roof van released with the EcoBoost news is for illustrative use only. However, a concept recently revealed in Europe may offer a glimpse at your next U-Haul rental.

The Tourneo Custom Concept adopts the family face and interior styling seen on the Ford Focus and Fiesta compacts, with rising character lines that give it an almost wedge-shaped and very European look. It’s not known if U.S. versions will get a unique design when they go into production at the company’s Kansas City Assembly plant next year, but Ford’s popular compact van, the Transit Connect, is a carbon copy of the ones sold around the globe.