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Are Ford Transit Vans Very Reliable?

When it comes to a great cargo van or passenger van, the Ford Transit is the most popular choice in America. The Ford Transit is a versatile commercial van for both work and van life. But is it reliable?

The AWD drive option allows this full-size cargo van to drive through snow
AWD provides enhanced traction on icy, snowy or muddy roads | Ford Media

Hearing horror stories from lemon owners on forums about dead battery issues and other Ford Transit problems can make any buyer balk. However, though these stories do hold truth and may share insight into the Transit van and its history with reliability, there are other sources from which we can learn about reliability as well. Expert sources such as Consumer Reports, RepairPal, and Edmunds can also help us gather information about van reliability.

Consumer Reports: Ford Transit reliability

Consumer Reports doesn’t post verdicts for the Ford Transit reliability, but we can see customer satisfaction scores. Owner satisfaction for the Transit is a great way to judge whether or not a vehicle is reliable. The data comes from real owners of the passenger or cargo-carrying commercial vans, so the information can be telling in the “real world” sense.

Since at least 2015, the Ford Transit has not shown over a 3 out of 5 for owner satisfaction. That means, overall, that there isn’t a majority of owners that would buy a Ford Transit again. Many owners are not happy and may look elsewhere for their next full-size van purchase. This doesn’t reflect well on Ford Transit reliability.

Overview and specs

Replacing Ford’s previous full-size van, the Ford Transit improves on its predecessor in many ways that commercial van owners car about. There two wheelbase options, three different lengths, and three roof heights so that you can find the perfect Transit for your specific needs. According to CR, the Ford Transit Passenger van seats from 8-15 passengers.

Three engine choices have been upgraded to maximize fuel efficiency. A 275 horsepower 3.7 liter V6 engine is standard on Ford Transits. Except for the new 2020 models, which see a 3.5 liter V6 on the base model. 2015-2019 models, according to CR, get two other engine options as well. A 310 horsepower turbocharged 3.5 liter V6––which remains for the 2020 Transit––and a 185 horsepower 3.2 liter diesel engine. The former 6-speed transmission has been upgraded to a 10-speed for 2020.

The updated interior of the 2020 Ford Transit Passenger van
2020 Ford Transit Passenger interior | Ford Media

RELATED: 5 Reasons the Ford Transit Is Better Than the Mercedes Sprinter

Tech and features

According to CR, the Ford Transit T-150, T-250, and T-350 got tech upgrades in 2016. A standard rearview camera entered production. Additionally, an updated infotainment system. For 2020, the Transit also sees available AWD, an updated driver-assist suite, and a larger display see with smartphone connectivity.

Ford Transit reliability

A look at RepairPal shows us more about whether or not Transits are reliable. Though the reliability rating for the Ford Transit T-150 is “average,” the problems are also shown as “not severe.” The average cost per year it takes for repairs and maintenance on a Ford cargo van costs over $900.

But, RepairPal reports the other popular van the Mercedes Sprinter to incur well over a thousand dollars per year across the model years. And many of the problems for the Ford Transit will be cheaper and more accessible to repair due to Ford parts availability and shop locations.

RELATED: Dodge ProMaster vs. Mercedes Sprinter: Which Is the Better Van?

How reliable is this full-size van?

Not even the 2020 Ford Transit is a flawless van. Itt’s not boasting 5 out of 5 reliability ratings in any model year. But overall it appears to perform generally well for many owners.

It is the leading full-size van in America. Though it doesn’t have the perfect reliability record, it will usually be easier and less expensive to repair than its Mercedes competitor. The Transit was also named the number one most reliable commercial van by Trucks.com.