9 Best & Worst Ford Transit Cargo Van Years (Facts & Stats)

With roots dating back as far as the 1950s, the iconic Ford Transit is designed to help you get the job done.

Modern versions come with plenty of standard driver assists, pleasurable driving dynamics and a surprisingly quiet cabin.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at its best and worst years…

2023 Ford Transit Trail

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Ford Transit Cargo Van Are:

The best Ford Transit model years are 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, and 2018. The worst model years of the Transit are 2017, 2016, and 2015. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Ford Transit Cargo Van?

Listed below are the Transit model years that deserve to be viewed as the best of the best.

2023 Ford Transit Cargo Van

The 2023 Ford Transit is a great pick thanks to its strong and efficient engines, wide range of configurations and impressive handling.

A big update for this year was the introduction of the Ford Transit Trail which comes stocked with a turbocharged V-6 engine.

It’s aimed at van-life enthusiasts and is essentially a factory-built camper van shell that’s ready to be fitted with a living space.

These models have a rough-and-ready exterior styling, lifted suspension with better ground clearance and all-terrain tires.

  • Edmunds: NA
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Car and Driver: 9 / 10

2022 Ford Transit Cargo Van

The 2022 Ford Transit is a solid choice for small business owners and campers alike thanks to its variety of body styles, great value and versatility.

The 2022 Transit remains mostly unchanged from 2021 and is essentially a carryover year.

The model is still offered in numerous configurations, a couple of powertrain variants, and a 10-speed automatic transmission that comes in rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. 

  • Edmunds: 4.0 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: NA
  • Car and Driver: 9 / 10

2022 Transit, Edmunds review:

“The seats are teeeeeny, teeny, tiny and the seatbelt click-in mechanism is recessed into the seat, so be prepared for a very poky and uncomfortable ride. The air conditioning is below sub-par. And it is not just one van I’ve ridden in. It does have a smooth-ish ride and there’s enough cupholders!”

2021 Ford Transit Cargo Van

The 2021 Transit is another great choice for those looking for a full-size van.

There were a few notable upgrades for the 2021 Transit worth mentioning.

The model’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) was increased to 11,000 pounds for both the rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive which essentially means a larger maximum payload. 

In addition, an electronic parking brake is now standardized for all single rear-wheel-drive versions. 

Finally, three new body colors were introduced – Abyss Gray, Avalanche, and Carbonized Gray. 

  • Edmunds: 2.0 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: NA
  • Car and Driver: 9 / 10

2021 Transit, Edmunds review:

“Ok, I needed a new work truck for my painting and remodeling business, I have always owned ford cargo vans before, the higher roof had my interest as for me getting older and it’s just easier to get materials in and out while still able to stand…”

2021 Ford Transit

2020 Ford Transit Cargo Van

The 2020 Transit received a lot of major upgrades. First and foremost, this is the year when the all-wheel-drive version was introduced.

Additionally, there were a handful of exterior updates such as a power-sliding door.

The model’s powertrain was also upgraded, along with the introduction of several driver-assistance features such as forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking.

There were also a few interior updates worth noting, such as conveniently positioned grab handles and vents.

A crew van variant is also added to the line-up, which can carry five people in two rows of seating. This model is designed for people who have more passengers on a regular basis.

  • Edmunds: 3.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: NA
  • Car and Driver: 9 / 10

2020 Transit, Edmunds review:

“We had test-driven several competitors’ vehicles, and by far, the Ford Transit Cargo Van was the smoothest, comfiest, and in our opinion, safest vehicle for us to purchase for the purpose of converting into a Class B Camper.”

2019 Ford Transit Cargo Van

If you need a van with big capacity, endless configurability and a modern line of fuel-efficient engines, there’s likely a 2019 Ford Transit with your name on it.

For 2019 there were new color choices, increased seating choices for the passenger vans and wider-opening rear doors on long-wheelbase models.

Reinforced laminated side glass is offered on some models and Ford’s rear recovery eye hook became standard across the range.

  • Edmunds: NA
  • Kelley Blue Book: 3.7 / 5.0
  • Car and Driver: 8 / 10

2019 Transit, Kelley Blue Book review:

“It came down to a Nissan and FORD- Then I remembered what makes this country great. Being an American and supporting America means to buy American. But that’s just me. When I first bought this van, it ran like a 6 cyl. Handled like a van, and gave gas mileage like a van. Now, after 2 1/2 years, it runs like a v-8, extra 100 miles to the tank and handles NOT AT ALL LIKE A VAN. If I take it easy on the gas, I’ll get over 430 miles- if not, 350 miles I’ve driven others just like it- but none have held up like mine- I know it is *special* but all things I own are. I’m sorry to let it go but it’s time for an upgrade. I once out it to the test and carried over 4,000 pounds. No problem there. This van is a beast!”

2018 Ford Transit Cargo Van

The 2018 Ford Transit scored an impressive 10/10 from Car and Driver and was praised for being a spacious, flexible and technologically advanced van.

For 2018 the Transit has a locking glove box and LED cargo lamp as standard, as well as a rear-exit door handle for convenient entry and exit.

In addition, a new forged alloy dual-wheel package is made available for both the cargo vans and passenger models.

For the medium-roof and high-roof variants, a standard rearview camera is introduced, which is mounted on the license plate.

There are also new d-pillar assist handles, an optional power-folding heated mirror set (with turn signals), and extended-length running boards to enjoy.

Finally, a new package with a stone-gray exterior body color and charcoal leather-trimmed seats were available as an add-on.

  • Edmunds: NA
  • Kelley Blue Book: 3.7 / 5.0
  • Car and Driver: 10 / 10

2018 Transit, Kelley Blue Book review:

“I bought the Transit 250 high roof cargo van, 148″ wheel base, medium length. I absolutely LOVE it in every way. I use it as a daily driver. Mileage is about 17-21 mpg, more on long highway trips. Also, I sit and idle a lot, which I am sure brings down the avg mpg. Having a high roof is a game changer !!!! I bought this for camping, but I use it as a mobile office most of the time. I can sit by the lake and work, even on rainy days, and be very comfortable. I love being able to pull over anytime I want and take a nap. I have a bed and a recliner in the back, as well as a refrigerator. Plenty of storage space. And I’m here to tell you . . . being able to have your bathroom with you wherever you go is PRICELESS…”

2018 Ford Transit

Consumer Scores For Best Ford Transit Cargo Van Years

Below is a table that presents all the consumer ratings of the best Transit model years from reputable vehicle websites:

Model YearEdmunds 
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
Car and Driver
2023 Ford Transit Cargo VanNANA9 / 10
2022 Ford Transit Cargo Van4.0 / 5.0NA9 / 10
2021 Ford Transit Cargo Van2.0 / 5.0NA9 / 10
2020 Ford Transit Cargo Van3.3 / 5.0NA9 / 10
2019 Ford Transit Cargo VanNA3.7 / 5.08 / 10
2018 Ford Transit Cargo VanNA3.7 / 5.010 / 10

Related: 12 Best & Worst Ford Transit Connect Years (With Facts & Stats)

What Are The Worst Years For The Ford Transit Cargo Van?

The Transit models have had their fair share of problems and complaints, the models listed below you should be cautious of.

2017 Ford Transit Cargo Van

The 2017 Ford Transit isn’t a clunker by any stretch of the imagination however it did have a number of drivetrain complaints that would cause the van to vibrate.

Here’s one owner’s account:

“I started feeling the van shaking, it feels like it came from the back, and causes the steering wheel to shake. I brought it to Ford and it was the Torque converter clutch that’s failing. I did a little research and this seems to be a common problem with these Transits. It’s so common that they are on back order, or you need to rebuild the converter.”

There were also problems with the windshield cracking easily, trailer lights issues and engine problems.

The 2017 Transit had a total of 16 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 92 technical service bulletins at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Hole in piston
  • Catalytic converter failure
  • Loss of power 
  • Vehicle vibrates

2016 Ford Transit Cargo Van

The 2016 Transit had issues with the powertrain, much like the 2017 model.

Here’s one owner’s experience:

“Flexible coupling connecting to driveshaft damaged while driving at speed of 70 mph. Loud boom underneath of driver seat. Vehicle starts to make noise like your exhaust system failed. It also shakes when going from 0 to 40 mph then it goes away. Lucky it did not fall apart. This recall must be taken seriously by Ford and enforce it to be fixed asap to all vehicles with such issue.”

Owners also complained about the side sliding door hinges breaking and having to be replaced several times, for some owners this meant the door would open while driving down the highway.

The 2016 Transit had a total of 16 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 111 technical service bulletins at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Premature brake wear
  • Engine lost power 
  • Throttle body failure
  • Sliding door hinges break easily

2015 Ford Transit Cargo Van

The 2015 Ford Transit was all-new for 2015, and like most new vehicles, it came with its share of teething issues. Unsurprisingly, it is the most problematic model on our worst list.

Its biggest problem, like the 2016 and 2017 years, was related to its drivetrain.

The problems were caused by defective driveshaft couplings that were prone to crack, creating driveline noise and vibration.

Subsequently, Ford issued a huge recall of Transit vans as this issue increased the likelihood of a serious crash.

The 2015 Transit also amassed numerous engine complaints for various unrelated reasons.

The 2015 Transit had a total of 19 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 115 technical service bulletins at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Air conditioning does not cool below 70 degrees
  • High pressure fuel pump failure 
  • Wheel bearing wear and tear
2015 Ford Transit

Related: Ford Transit Tune-Up & Maintenance Costs (Complete Guide)

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Listed below are the complaints and TSBs for each model year of the Transit.

Model YearComplaints
Technical Service Bulletins Recalls
2023 Ford Transit Cargo VanNANANA
2022 Ford Transit Cargo VanNA47
2021 Ford Transit Cargo VanNA91
2020 Ford Transit Cargo VanNA246
2019 Ford Transit Cargo Van0477
2018 Ford Transit Cargo Van57113
2017 Ford Transit Cargo Van119217
2016 Ford Transit Cargo Van161118
2015 Ford Transit Cargo Van1911526

What Problems Do Ford Transit Cargo Vans Have?

  • Premature brake wear
  • Air conditioning does not cool below 70 degrees
  • Hole in piston
  • High pressure fuel pump failure
  • Wheel bearing wear and tear
  • Engine lost power
  • Throttle body failure
  • Catalytic converter failure
  • Loss of power

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Ford Transit Cargo Van?

The Transit is one of the most recognizable full-size cargo vans in the market today.

Take a look at how it fares against its direct competitors in terms of fuel economy and pricing.

Make & ModelMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Ford Transit Cargo Van$41,955 – $58,160City: 21 /Highway: 25
Mercedes Benz Sprinter Cargo Van$38,300 – $68,520City: NA /Highway: NA
Chevrolet Express Cargo Van$37,200 – $40,900City: 11 /Highway: 15
GMC Savana Cargo Van$37,200 – $40,900City: 11 /Highway: 16
RAM ProMaster Cargo Van$39,490 – $48,900City: 21 /Highway: 28
Nissan NV2500 Cargo Van$30,640 – $39,560City: 24 /Highway: 26

Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com, fueleconomy.gov

Related: How Long Do Ram ProMasters Last? (Complete Guide)











  • Ian Sawyer

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