1997 Ford Econoline

Expert reviews

These reviews are written by independent automotive journalists providing an objective and reliable assessment to help you make a smart buying decision. 1997 Ford Econoline.

Reviewed By: Mitch McCullough
© 1997 NewCarTestDrive.com

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Ford makes the best-selling line of vans, accounting for nearly half the full-size van sales in the U.S. This success is due in part to a reputation for offering the best ride quality and lowest noise levels. Ford expects to strengthen its dominance with a new look and a new family of overhead cam engines, including the only V10 in the segment.

Large families appreciate the Club Wagon, while many businesses opt for the Econoline Van. Both groups want the quality, durability, roominess, passenger capacity, cargo space, towing capacity and design excellence that these vans can deliver. Their body-on-frame construction results in a rigid chassis that helps reduce noise and vibration.

A new front bumper and grille freshen the appearance of this year's models. Dual air bags and anti-lock brakes are standard in all models. A revised steering system reduces noise and vibration, while improving on-center feel. In the old days it seemed like there was a lag between the time the wheel was turned and the wheels reacted, but the Econoline Van offers solid stability on the interstate and competent handling in corners.

The front bucket seats are comfortable and supportive even on long trips. New trim and lumbar support is designed to improve comfort. A new wraparound instrument panel with flowing rounded lines, features easy-to-reach controls and an auxiliary power receptacle for accessories. New center consoles offer storage bins and cup holders.

The climate control system was revised with controls that are larger and easier to use. A larger air conditioning condenser helps cool the huge interior, while the new defroster system makes less noise and does a better job of clearing the windshield. Club Wagon Chateau models come with a soft, leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Club Wagons are available as $21,395 Regular and $24,280 Heavy Duty models with seating for seven, eight or 12 passengers. The $26,545 Super Wagon can carry 15 passengers. The $24,315 Club Wagon XLT, $27,125 Club Wagon Heavy Duty XLT and $27,940 Club Wagon Super XLT come with more amenities for increased comfort.

The Econoline Vans come in $19,370 E-150, $20,090 E-250 and $22,430 E-350 models, with up to 4,160 lbs. of payload capacity and 275.9 cu. ft. of cargo room in the roomier and slightly more expensive Super Cargo versions.

For 1997, Econoline and Club Wagon feature a new line of overhead-cam modular gasoline engines, which offer improved performance and fuel economy. A new split port induction 4.2-liter V6 comes standard in Econoline and Club Wagons under 8,500 lbs. gross vehicle weight (GVW) that delivers 200 hp at 4800 rpm and 250 lb.-ft. at 2800 rpm. An $840 optional 4.6-liter Triton V8 generates 215 hp at 4450 rpm and 290 lb.-ft. at 3250.

Vans with a GVW greater than 8500 lbs. come standard with a 5.4-liter Triton V8 that produces 235 hp at 4250 rpm and 335 lb.-ft. of torque at 3000 rpm. A $415 optional 6.8-liter V10 is available that generates 265 hp at 4250 rpm and 411 lb.-ft. of torque at 2750 rpm. A $4,630 optional 7.3-liter V8 Turbo Diesel is also available that produces 215 hp at 2700 rpm and 425 lb.-ft. of torque at 2000 rpm.

The 4.2- and 4.6-liter engines are linked to a standard four-speed automatic overdrive transmission, while the more powerful engines come with a heavy duty four-speed automatic with overdrive.

While we don't currently have any ford econoline vehicles in stock, we do have 50,093 other cars to choose from. at carmax.com

While we don't currently have any ford econoline vehicles in stock, we do have 50,093 other cars to choose from.