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The Ford Econoline is not long for this world.
The best selling, full-size body-on-frame box will be replaced in 2013 by Ford's European-designed unibody Transit van. The front, rear or all-wheel-drive cargo carrier is currently available overseas with a selection of turbodiesel engines and a four-cylinder gasoline motor, but there’s not a V8 in the bunch. No word on what will power it when it goes on sale here, but Ford promises a 25 percent increase in fuel economy, which is why it’s making the switch.
Dodge replaced its traditional Ram van a few years back with the Mercedes-Benz supplied Sprinter, which is similar in many ways to the Transit, but lost it in the DaimlerChrysler divorce. It is now available in the U.S. as either a Mercedes-Benz or Freightliner.
General Motors is still in the old-school truck/van game with the Chevy Express and GMC Savana, and Nissan is trying to get into the action with its Titan pickup-based NV lineup, which mixes American-style brawn with European high-roof style.
Despite their 1970’s airbrushed and shag carpeted heyday, full size vans never rode the SUV wave into the American family’s driveway, and have remained primarily commercial vehicles to this day. Still, with hundreds of thousands sold each year there are plenty of customers out there.
If you are one of them, tell us: