Car video reviews:
2017 Ford E-450: The Last Ride of the American V10
Moving is never enjoyable, but this big box from the Blue Oval delivered enough excitement to change my perceptions of these beasts of burden. 

2017 Ford E-450: The Last Ride of the American V10

There is a V10 under there...somewhereHere is the blown out weather stripAin't she pretty?Terrible Aero- Guaranteed!Not too shabby!Warnings to ignore!The artwork makes me want to travelIf you can read this, you better be helping me!Tiny house, anyone?Where has all the chrome gone?
After a decade in the Tampa Bay area, it was time to set sail for a less insane part of the Sunshine State. With so many Americans moving south, it was easy to find decent quotes from the big three (Ryder, Penske, and U-haul) for those looking to move north. They all had plenty of 26’ (8 meter) box trucks, but I dislike diesel and my small apartment could fit inside with room to spare.

What you see here is a 15’ (4.5m) with 78,000 miles of abuse. Nevertheless, it proved to be a perfect choice for the weekend. This model bridges the gap between those looking to move a large office or a smaller 2-bedroom home. The aluminum and fiberglass box rides high over the dual rear wheels to offer a nearly flat floor that measures 92” (233 cm) wide x 86” (218 cm) tall.

While I was hoping to get the newer 6.2-liter Boss V8, this truck was built around the last American V10. Ford’s 6.8 began life as their modular V8, by adding two cylinders to the troublesome 5.4. But instead of the 3-valve timebomb, this 2-valve single overhead cam was introduced in 2014 offering 305 horsepower and 420 lb-ft (571 Nm). Firing at an angle of 72 degrees, it makes use of a massive balance shaft on the left head to cancel any 2nd-order harmonics.

It doesn’t like to rev past 4,700, and the tachometer doesn’t get there in a hurry. What it does, is offer the same torque from 1,500 to 4,500 rpm to a ZF 6-speed automatic. Ford programs the gearbox to start in tow/haul mode at startup, so that’s where this review gets moving. Slow speed maneuvering feels more like a normal pickup thanks to an independent front end, and the steering only needs 3 turns for the opposite lock. The only problem with the comfortable ride is that you forget to stay vigilant of low-hanging branches, as you need at least 11 feet (3.5 meters) of height clearance.

With a 4.56 differential ratio, the close ratio transmission offers impressive acceleration for something this large. It takes a few minutes for your right foot to learn the shift mapping, and that is important for the video game you will be playing. Ford’s fuel economy gauge is a horizontal LED between the tach and speedometer. Downshifting wipes out your running average, so the trick is to carefully use your right foot to dig into each gear and use your momentum to coast uphill. While it has the power to cruise at 80 mph, going 10 slower will offer 10.9 mpg without running the A/C.

Inside, you have a full-width bench seat with reclining backs. The center passenger will straddle the doghouse that covers the V10, and you will need a hand to operate the manual windows, locks, and terrible radio. Bring your own bluetooth, because after an hour the first real issue arrived. Each time someone passed me, a whistling noise got progressively louder from the A-pillar.

Stopping to stretch my legs, I found the door weather strip trying to escape. The extra storage space above the cab pulls a decent vacuum at speed, popping your ears and killing your sense of taste. Running the A/C or vent on high almost negates this, but the system is very noisy. Make sure your headphones are charged.

The only other grievances are small, in that the ancient halogen headlights are aimed when the box is empty. Brakes are very grabby at first, but you will need to add a bit more pressure for the last 10 mph.

All in all, this truck was confident and capable in every situation, and it will change your perceptions of a commercial truck. Well done, Ford!


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