Quite honestly, I have always hated vans! We were looking to purchase a Tahoe! After a great deal of consideration and test driving and budget comparisons, we decided that we simply could not afford this vehicle.
We looked at the options and decided that a mini-van was what we wanted. I researched and found that these cost about the same as a full sized van in our area. Being budget minded, we thought more vehicle for the same price. This will work! Reading the reviews of the three full sized vans, I was pretty sure I would purchase the Chevy. Dodge was said to be poorly built and the Ford 'hadn't changed since the 1970's.'
Since this was to be my 'bus,' I did all the test driving. I drove them all. The Dodge handled and felt like a bus, the Chevy just did not deliver the acceleration or handling that I wanted and I hated that huge 'eye-brow' rear light!
The Ford was impressive from the get-go. It looked good. Large mirrors for optimum visibility. Seating available for 5 to 20. Six different engines from 6 to 12 cylinders, also available in a diesel. Very good 'off the floor warranty.' When I drove it, there was no doubt in my mind, this was it! It handled extremely well! My only problem was that I had never driven anything this big. I had to learn how to drive it. The reviews had not said that they hadn't changed it because they had it right in the 1970's!
We decided that it would be nice to have a bunch of 'bells and whistles' so we looked into the Conversion Vans. Having decided what we wanted, I started to scour the net for a good deal! And I found one.
We purchased a 1999 Ford Econoline E-150 Conversion Van. We opted for the low-top because safety reviews of the high-tops were not as good as they were for the low-tops. All the seats are leather, there are 4 Captains and 1 bench. It's carpeted front to rear. Dual second generation Air bags and 4-wheel anti-lock brakes. The 4.6 L 8 delivers all the power I could ever need. 7-way power drivers seat, Dual A/C's, 1 up front and 1 in the rear. Tinted windows all around. A TV, VCP (VCR) and 2 stereo systems. Switchable galley and reading lights. Lots and lots of ROOM! All this and more for under $30,000.00.
To say the least, I don't hate vans anymore! I would recommend the Econoline to anyone looking for a large vehicle to move family and friends around in. It converts very easily to a cargo hauler with two people. All the rear seats are removable!
There are only a few things that I don't like about it. Fuel economy went right out the window, but I knew that it would. The rear-view mirror isn't big enough, I ended up purchasing a larger one at a local auto parts store. The side mirrors are good, but I purchased two convex mirrors to improve visibility, there are blind spots right along side the van. If you smoke, the ashtrays are rather small. The Ford parts of the vehicle has been very sound. The Conversion parts have not held up as well as I would have liked. We have had the van for just over a year and the VCP (VCR) is broken. Quite a few of the knobs on the rear stereo are gone (due to three very active children). One of the interior side covers came lose and two of the blinds are broken. All these are easily fixed, but if you look into a Conversion vehicle, really check out the Conversion companies work!