At the beginning of August, my family headed off on our traditional excursion to Lake Tahoe. Given that we would be gone for a week, I was a bit worried about the amount of luggage we would have to take as well as be able to comfortably accommodate my family of five on the drive as well as throughout our week. And, I wanted the option to be able to potentially take additional passengers in addition to our five. I started looking at SUV and even mini-vans that might be able to handle all of my requirements. Most SUVs can seat anywhere from 5 to 7 passengers and mini-vans about the same. This was great, but when you add an additional row of seating, that comes at the expense of luggage space. Then I received the opportunity to test drive the perfect solution. I got my hands on the 2015 Ford Transit Wagon XLT…and my family and I loved it!
I didn’t take the 2015 Ford Transit Wagon on any extreme track tests, nor skid pads, nor 0-60 time trials. I wanted to look at it from a practicality standpoint from a family of 5+ people and day-to-day activities as well as on longer road trips. Before I go through a few of the highlights of the 2015 Ford Transit Wagon XLT, I think it makes sense to talk about the platform of the Ford Transit. You may have seen versions of these on the road, primarily used as business vans. It is highly-customizable depending on the use case. There is a choice for 3 roof-heights (low, medium and high), 3 lengths (regular, long and extended), 2 wheel bases, 3 engine types and the option of having it as a passenger or cargo van. For the cargo van option, you can get it outfitted with cabinets, divider, drawers and other options. Obviously, I had the passenger van option.
Let’s take a look at some of the features and capabilities of the 2015 Ford Transit Wagon XLT that I liked.
First, the Specs
The Transit that I tested had the following:
- Regular wheelbase
- Low roof height
- 3.7L Ti-VCT V6 Engine
- 3.73 Limited Slip Axle
- 6-speed SelectShift A/T
- Preferred equipment package (302A)
- Lane keeping alert
- Reverse parking assistance
- MyFord Touch (CD/HD/Sirius/Nav)
- Rear view camera
- Power inverter
- Fuel Economy: 14 City, 19 Highway, 16 Combined
These are just a few of the highlights of the specs/packages that I got to test out. So let’s dive into some of the features and niceties that my family and I encountered.
Seating Environment, Storage and More
The 2015 Ford Transit Wagon XLT that I test drove had the ability to comfortably seat 8 people: 2 front, 3 in slightly narrower middle row (compared to rear row) and 3 in the rear row. Each seat has over the shoulder seatbelts and the two rear rows had the ability to slightly recline the seats individually. The recline amount isn’t huge but gives a bit more comfort.
The two front seats have plenty of configurations to get comfortable seating. The seats don’t hug the torso like other more sporty seat designs but for the 3+ hour drive, they were more than comfortable.
The one odd thing about the seating in the front were the arm-rests. On the interior side of the front seats (e.g., the driver’s right and passenger’s left), there is a flip down armrest that works great and is comfortable. However, on the other side of the seats, there isn’t a flip down arm rest which means you have to use the one built into the door which is much lower and obviously isn’t customizable.
The other interesting thing about the design of the Ford Transit is the fact that only the front windows roll down in this vehicle. So while the rear windows were tinted in the model that I tested which provides some cooling, there was no way to open a window to relieve potentially car-sick rear passengers. Luckily, we didn’t encounter any car sickness of note.
But, if you need “fresh” air in the rear cabin, there are plenty of A/C vents and a dedicated rear climate control.
Also, there is an abundance of cup holders for water bottles, especially in the front. They are a bit scarce in the back and no real way for those passengers seated in the middle of the middle and rear rows to have easy access to the cup holders.
There are two ways to enter the rear cabin, and one is considered the “emergency exit.” The most normal way to get in is via two flip out doors on the right side of the vehicle. (There are no rear passenger doors on the left side of the vehicle, which is actually great for families – you can control the entering and exiting of your precious cargo from one side of the vehicle).
The emergency exit is essentially the rear flip open doors.
And that unveils another great thing about the 2015 Ford Transit Wagon XLT, the cargo space for luggage. As you can see from the pictures, there is a TON of space. In fact, the Wagon has the ability to add ANOTHER row of seats. Frankly, I prefer having the extra luggage space since the seating of 8 was more that sufficient.
And honestly, having ample storage space for all of your gear means that the rear seat passengers don’t have to have things stuffed next to them – a common problem with having lots of luggage in an SUV for example.
Driving the 2015 Ford Transit Wagon XLT is quite easy. It rides very high (but quite stable), as high as a pickup truck or a large SUV.
Visibility of the road is great actually, as the hood-line is very low-cut. You can see the road in front of you very easily.
The thing you have to remember is that the Transit is quite a wide vehicle. You will take up much of the lane and need to be careful, especially when changing lanes, parking, backing up and turning. Luckily Ford has put in many features to make these potential dangers a bit safer.
There is a lane departure feature that senses the lanes of the freeway and then subtly tells you if you are drifting out of the lane via a vibration in the steering wheel.
The side view mirrors are very large and have additional curved mirror to help you see even more, especially when turning. Just a quick piece of advice, when you are parking into a tight side-by-side spot, you may want to fold in the mirrors so that someone doesn’t clip them off.
And, there is a feature that the Transit couldn’t live without, a rear view camera. This makes backing out of a space, or backing up in general a heck of a lot easier and safer. There are even turn indicators that show you the direction the Transit will go when you back up.
For backing up, there are also sensors to help you park into tight spaces, with visual and audible warnings as you approach objects.
Acceleration is fine. The engine is powerful enough to get up hills, even fully loaded. The Transit is not a race car, but it is definitely powerful.
And Some other Stuff of Note
The model of the 2015 Ford Transit Wagon XLT that I tested had MyFord Touch and had the traditional four-quadrant touch screen to handle: Media (Audio), GPS/Navigation, Phone and General Settings. The screens were fairly easy to view, easy to navigate and understand and were responsive to the touch. Previous version had had complaints of being laggy but I didn’t notice this.
Another unique feature is the location and visibility (or lack there of) of the fuel cap. It is hidden from view by a panel that has to be opened when the driver’s door is open. The gas filler is cap-less.
The MSRP of the vehicle that I tested comes in around $38-39,000 which is in line with other large passenger vehicles. This includes about $4000 of options. But, the thing to remember is that the 2015 Ford Transit comes in a huge number of variations. I would recommend using the pricing configurator to figure out exactly the style and features that you want.
We received quite a few comments and looks as we drove the 2015 Ford Transit Wagon XLT, all of the positive. There are not many of the passenger versions on the road so it definitely got some attention. At one rest stop, I even had a 5 minute discussion with a lady who wanted more information about it and to see the inside. She takes care of large dogs and found that the mini van that she has simply is not big enough to handle all of her dogs. And, with the large cargo space in the back, she said there would be enough room for some of the larger crates needed to transport her canines.
Overall, my family and I really enjoyed our time in the 2015 Ford Transit Wagon XLT. It was extremely roomy for passengers and luggage, was comfortable for a longer drive, handled well and had more than enough power to not block cars on the uphill. The next time we have to go on a long trip, I would definitely be happy to do it in the Ford Transit. I can’t wait to see what the 2016 model brings to the road.
Disclosure Text: Apart from the multi-day loan of the 2015 Ford Transit Wagon XLT, I have not received any compensation for writing this content and I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein All opinions within this article are my own and are not subject to the editorial review from any 3rd party. More information can be found in my About page.
HTD says: If you are looking for a more than capable, large, comfortable and extremely utilitarian van for driving around groups of people or a large family, definitely take a look at the 2015 Ford Transit Wagon XLT.
This vehicle is VERY impressive as a cargo AND passenger hauler considering it isn’t a minivan, especially in 8-passenger form like this one is. While lacking just of few of the modern creature comforts expected in most passenger vehicles today, it is quite competent with most of that competition in almost every other way thanks to improved handling and fuel economy (compared to its Club Wagon predecessor). Maximum interior room, however, can NOT be beaten with anything else except a larger full-size van. Yet most people easily overlook this feature & instead buy the 1st SUV/crossover they see on the dealership lot anyway. For a much higher price (on certain models) you get MUCH less room than in an otherwise perfectly comparable van. Not really a good long-term investment unless you frequently go off-road, right?