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1997 Ford E-150 Econoline Review
The best van gets even better.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The Ford E-series of vans has ruled the full-size van market for almost two decades, and the 1997 Ford E-150 Econoline shows that Ford has no plans to let its foot off the gas. The new model year sees a complete update of engines available in the E-150. The new engines are smaller and offer better fuel economy, yet they also put out more torque and horsepower. This performance upgrade gives the E-150 a stable engine platform at the top of its class.
Engines: 4.2-liter V-6, 4.6-liter V-8, 5.4-liter V-8
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Ford E-150 Econoline, Ford E-150 XL Club Wagon, Ford E-150 XLT Club Wagon, Ford E-150 Chateau Club Wagon
The 1997 Ford E-150 Econoline receives some major changes, with most of them happening under the hood. The engine lineup is all new, replacing the outdated Windsor line of engines with the new Triton line. The new engines prove more powerful yet provide better fuel economy. For example, the previous five-liter V-8 puts out 16 less horsepower while getting one less mpg than the new 4.6-liter V-8. The front end has been updated with a new grille and new lower front bumper trim. The interior has a new dash and console layout and redesigned seats.
The exterior of the 1997 Ford E-150 Econoline uses the basic van design. The front end has been changed over time and now has a mildly sloping hood that curves toward the updated front grille with an oval cut-out. The bottom of the front bumper has been raised slightly and adds a cut-out.
The inside of the 1997 Ford E-150 Econoline looks tough and simple. All seats have vinyl upholstery, with no cloth option. The dash and console receive an updated layout to be more ergonomic. The seats have also been redesigned to feel more comfortable and provide better support. The E-150 lacks creature comforts, which Ford makes up for with the optional models and packages such as the Chateau Club Wagon.
Performance & Handling
The new Essex V-6 and Triton V-8 engines available in the 1997 Ford E-150 Econoline show major performance upgrades. Across the board, they provide more torque and horsepower than the equivalent engines in the 1996 model. The engines allow the E-150 to haul or tow a good payload without suffering from lag. The acceleration capabilities are not all that great, but they make capable highway cruisers. Due to the sheer overall size of the E-150 and it sitting fairly high off the ground, it can be difficult to handle. It responds well to steering changes, but the suspension causes it to feel stiff around turns and it requires the driver to use caution.
The 1997 Ford E-150 Econoline comes with standard driver and passenger front airbags and rear-wheel anti-lock brakes. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes provide an available option. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration awards the 1997 E-150 four stars for passenger safety and three stars for driver safety.
EPA Fuel Economy
Ford E-150, 4.6-liter V-8: 14/18 mpg city/highway
Ford E-150, 5.4-liter V-8: 11/17 mpg city/highway
- Great engine choices
- Reliable and proven platform
- Good handling
You Won't Like
- Slightly bulky and tall
The best van gets even better.
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