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Replacement for Ford E-Series van revealed

The Econoline is (almost) dead. Long live the Transit.

Ford has unveiled the all-new European-style full-size van that will begin to replace the venerable E-Series in the United States starting next year.

The relatively sleek vehicle is built on a unibody chassis for improved fuel efficiency and ride comfort compared to the truck-based E-Series, but promises to deliver the same level of cargo carrying ability.

Available with a choice of three different roof heights, the rear-wheel-drive Transit will launch in the US with the same 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine that’s currently offered in the F-150 pickup, as well as a diesel option that has not yet been specified.

Cargo and Passenger versions of the E-series will be sold alongside the Transit through 2014 as production ramps up at the Kansas City facility where the new van will be manufactured.

A new version of the compact Transit Connect is also on the way, now featuring a stylish new design similar to that found Ford’s latest cars.

Although the automaker had previously announced plans to build the Transit Connect in Kansas City, as well, the new model will continue to be imported from the factory in Turkey that produces the current version.

Powertrain specifications for the Transit Connect have yet to be announced.