Ford, Nissan Win 2015 Canadian Truck King Van Challenge

1 2015 Truck King Vans II

By Howard J. Elmer

We've been conducting the Canadian Truck King Challenge since 2006. We love doing down-and-dirty comparison tests of all kinds, and during the past few years the commercial van segment has undergone a metamorphosis that we believed had to be investigated more closely.

During this metamorphosis the traditional low-roof commercial box van (think Ford E-Series) has been replaced by Euro-van-looking offerings. Several years ago the rear-wheel-drive Mercedes-Benz Sprinter arrived on the scene with its distinctive narrow nose, high roof and diesel engine. That was followed by Ford's downsized, rear-wheel-drive Transit Connect and then the full-size Transit 150/250/350. Right on the wheels of these two new vans came a van from Ram Commercial. Badged as the Ram ProMaster, it started life as a Fiat. The ProMaster brought a diesel powertrain to the segment, as well as a gas engine, and a unique front-wheel-drive design. Ram is entering the midsize van segment this year with the ProMaster City.

Nissan designed and built the full-size NV 1500/2500/3500 vans in North America. Gas powered and with various roof heights, the NV also has a unique look but offers a more traditional boxy body. On the small-van stage Nissan now offers a front-wheel-drive van — the NV200.

For the 2015 Canadian Truck King Van Challenge, six judges evaluated these vans during a two-day period last fall. The judges were automotive journalists who spend a substantial portion of their working year evaluating pickups, vans and vehicles that do hard work for a living. Both full-size and small vans were driven empty and fully loaded over the same route (payload was 3,070 pounds for full-size vans and 1,040 pounds for small vans), and driven through congested urban areas to the replicate the downtown deliveries are required to do. In total, we racked up 994 miles during testing.

During the second day of testing we also ran a short route of parking lots, delivery lanes and back alleys to see how well the mirrors were set up, which van had the best visibility and how each maneuvered through tight quarters. Judges scored each van based on personal observations.

Finally, we used an objective third party to conduct our fuel-economy calculations during and after our drive routes. These results are as "real world" as it gets. The data collectors run constantly (meaning when the engine is running), and the results are a blend of the driving styles of all six judges, who rotated through each van We did this for the empty, loaded and low-speed delivery test segments.

In the end, the 2015 Ford Transit 250 won the full-size category, while the Nissan NV200 took the smaller segment by a hair's breadth. Of course, as with most exhaustive comparison tests like this, the real story is in the details.

3 2015 Truck King Vans group II

Note: For various reasons, we did not get all the vehicles we wanted for this comparison test. Missing were the full-size Nissan NV, a Ram EcoDiesel ProMaster, the all-new ProMaster City, and the old-school Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana.

Without further ado, the following are the commercial vans we tested.

Full-Size Competitors

2015 Ford Transit 250

The Transit was born and raised in Europe and Asia, but is now also being built in Kansas City, Mo. It's a typical front-engine, rear-wheel-drive configuration. Ford says the Transit will average 25 percent better fuel economy than the current E-Series, which has now ceased production. Variations include three body lengths, two wheelbases, three roof heights and body styles that include van, wagon, chassis cab and cutaway variations. All engines are paired with an automatic six-speed transmission.

2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500

This year Sprinter has an updated body that features a higher nose, larger grille louvers and new options like bi-xenon headlamps. Along with the body update the V-6 BlueTec diesel gets a new base engine partner — the turbo-diesel 2.1-liter four-cylinder. This engine is said to get a combined city/highway fuel rating of 26 mpg. We tested two 2500s so that we could sample both engines. Mercedes has also added five new assistance systems to the Sprinter to help drivers avoid accidents, and a four-wheel-drive option is now available on these vans.

2015 Ram ProMaster 2500

The new ProMaster covers consumers' needs with a variety of body styles and weight categories (1500, 2500, and 3500) in cargo van, chassis cab, cutaway and window versions. However, unlike the Mercedes and Ford this front-wheel-drive powertrain provides a lower, flat cargo floor. Our 2500 had the Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 gas engine; the optional EcoDiesel 3.0-liter four-cylinder was not available at the time of our testing. We would have liked to see how the Ram diesel stacked up against the Ford and Mercedes diesels.

4 2015 Truck King Vans Load II

Midsize Competitors

2015 Ford Transit Connect

This small van introduced in 2009 really started the trickle that has become a flood of new van products in Canada and the U.S. Late last year the Transit Connect got a nice makeover to take it into this model year. It now offers two new engines, a tow package, two wheelbases and new trims. Order it with second-row seating, a rearview camera, 6.5-inch touch-screen display with navigation and Sync with MyFord Touch. The 1.6-liter EcoBoost is EPA rated at 30 mpg combined. We tested an EcoBoost and a naturally aspirated engine.

2015 Nissan NV200

The NV200 competes with the Ford Transit Connect and Ram's coming ProMaster City. Unlike the others, it has already scored a market by being named the preferred taxi of New York City. Its small front-wheel-drive platform lends itself to fleets and individual business functions. Its low pricing is certainly an advantage.

For the full test data and judge's scoring, click here photos by Howard J. Elmer


2 2015 Truck King Van Comp Group II

5 2015 Truck King Van Comp Load II

12 2015 Truck King Van Comp test II

6 2015 Truck King Van Comp Ford II

11 2015 Truck King Van Comp MB II

8 2015 Truck King Van Comp NV200 II

7 2015 Truck King Van Ford II

9 2015 Truck King Van Comp Nissan II




Looks like a good test of what people use these vans for. I personally drag race my vans so a 0-60 time is very important:)

This test was clearly done in fall.
Canadian Truck King without a snow ? You must be kidding.

These are some cool vans, man.

Ford loses and GM wins again!

Nissan NV aka Chevy City Express beats the Ford Transit Connect. Now all of the FORD GIRLY MEN are going to get mad at me.

Maybe Ford would have won if they added a man step or a little boy step! LOL.

Congatulations to GM and the 2015 Chevy City Express. GM wins again and that's the bottom line because Stone Cold Bob said so.


When you own a small business, the road to success can be challenging. But with a reliable partner like the City Express small cargo van, you can be on the go 24/7, tackling a wide range of tasks such as delivering a baby shower cake, attending a house call to repair a broken window, or driving across town to cater a bridal shower. Whatever the task is, the 2015 City Express is built with the perfect form and functionality required to get your job done. With a range of conveniences including 122.7 cu. ft.† of cargo space, EPA-estimated 24 mpg city†, work-ready features, and a mobile office, the City Express is the small cargo van for businesses with everyday jobs.


MSRP from

Too bad the Diesel Ducato was not available , big difference over the Pentastar V6. Ford has introduced the Transit here, well with a 2.2 Diesel, not many people knows it exists, no advertising.
In the small Van segment the VW Caddy is the big winner here, quite few challengers, from Peugeot, Citroen, Opel and now the Fiat Doblo(Promaster City), except we get a 2 litre diesel with a 2,200lb payload. No Ford Transit Connect either. Ford Australia is not fans of the light commercial segment it seems.
No Nissan NV3500, but Renault Vans instead

How does cheby win again BOOB? Nissan builds there vans for them. What an ignorant comment you have made again. Your ignorance just amazes us all sometimes. Well, all the time.

I found the Canadian Truck King site is rather unfriendly.

Maybe the site could modernise with easier links to navigate to the information you seek.

Another issue I have is why is it so hard for Ford to give it's FE figures for the 3.2 diesel?

I have the 3.2 in my pickup and found it to be quite acceptable, especially when compared to the 2004 Kia Soreneto with the gasoline V6 in it. I'd suspect the difference between the 3.2 Transit even compared to the NA V6 Transit would have a similar percentage difference in FE.

My Kia used 50% more fuel under the same conditions/speeds as my 3.2 BT50. Yet the BT50 pulls better on the highway. It might not be as quick or on par with the V6 gasoline engine in 0-60 times. But for overtaking at highway speeds the diesel wins hands down.

For the Kia to have the same level of overtaking performance the engine had to slop into 3rd (5spd auto). This is where a diesel gains most in FE. A gasoline engine to maximise it's characteristics must chew a lot more fuel to achieve the same of similar results as a diesel.

There needs to be more real life FE figures given by the reviewers/testers. Because from my perspective the EPA FE figures are quite inaccurate. The EPA figurres only indicate which vehicle uses less fuel during the EPA testing and not what a person will return.

Every test/review should give the EPA FE figure and the figure the testers/reviewers returned.

Then again with the turbo engines becoming more popular these EPA figures are becoming more distorted in real life driving.

@Real Truck, Ha, don't cry like a Ford GIRLY MAN. Yes, GM sourced the van from Nissan. Just like with the Ford/GM TRANNIES that are coming, you enter PARTNERSHIPS. Why make your own when you can partner up?

Ford was DUMB enough to go it alone and lost. GM wins again and doesn't have to waste a lot of TIME to come up SHORT like Ford just did with the Transit Connect. Ford LOSES and GM wins again. Just wait for the FULL-SIZE Express and it will be nights out for Ford GIRLY MEN in the commercial van market. LOL.

Ford sold about 3 times as many vans as GM(gay man) in January. And they kept ALL the profits. Too bad GM doesn't have the technology to build their own vans. Oh, btw, they are trying to copy Ford and build their trucks from aluminum. How will that work out considering their steel bodied trucks are paper thin. I don't like company's who rob the American people, so never be a GM product in my driveway. Yes, I know, I'm fortunate not to have a pos to drive.

You said it all just right Toyota lol. I agree 100%!!

@Toyota lol,
Do you own Ford shares? Or do you have a financial or work commitment in relation to sales numbers of Fords?

If you don't does your comment really have much weight?

So, what is the significance of those number that you have highlighted with much exuberance?

Please explain why those numbers are so significant to you?

You must be another one of those school kids that passes comments on PUTC and the moderators don't manage.

So, what is so important to YOU regarding those sales numbers?

I bet you don't respond as you just made a dumba$$ worthless contribution that isn't even of debating interest.

Again, let me explain child, bigger or mostest doesn't necessarily translate into better. How many Bugatti's are sold?

The Ford/GM tranny is an invalid argument.

The Ford/GM trannies will be each be built separately by Ford and GM and co-designed by Ford/GM.

GM did not design the City Express/NV 200 nor did GM built. It's all designed/built by Nissan.

LMAO at BAFO comparing high performance car sales to cheap fleet vans.

We have heard that old stupid argument from you hacks before comparing "fast food" burgers to fast-casual/fine dining restaurants. Try comparing the same products. LOL.

Who cares! This is not!!! I hate vans! Drove a E250 passenger van for work for a year and half. Garbage! I hate vans but I know there use. I come on this site for pickup truck news not vans! So please "F" off on van news and info!!!!

What do they call a cargo van without any rear or side glass?

answer: A Coffin Van

Where is my comparison?


That's why I placed that as an example. To show people like yourself, the school kids the relevance of numbers sold.

It isn't just about numbers. You school kids are so fixated on bigger numbers with the view the larger the number the better.

I bet you still count presents at Christmas.

BAFO, DAFO, DA or whatever you call yourself, I was replying to a numb nutz Ford hater. You're quite the hypocrite though. Likely not intelligent enough to figure it out.

@Toyota lol,
Have a look at your comment. It's totally inaccurate and immature. Really.

Why don't you use Google and find out if was you are stating is the truth?

Why don't you comment and make a logical and adult contribution instead of your high school crap?

PUTC is a good site, if you school kids stop with your useless and worthless comments.

"Daddy drives a Ram" or "Daddy drives a F-150" or whatever.

Understand the reason behind decisions by manufacturers.

Why is it that GM is using Nissan's van for sharing?

Do you know? I bet you wouldn't have a clue. Google it.

I'll give you a hint, Google model sharing and how it impacts on low volume vehicles.

Use some commonsense and you school kids stop with your trash. It's worse than pollution.

I waiting for the moderators to clamp down on you kids. Hopefully they will start to delete most of the worthless comments.

BAFO why not use proper sentence structure so we can understand your useless drivel. I'd say if there are any school kids here, you must be one. Instead of asking people to google everything, why not try and prove something on your own for once. I know you can copy and paste. Btw, how does it concern you if someone talks down about a corporation? USA one at that.

@Toyota lol,
Just by your name it indicates how narrow you are.

As for the use of Google, it wasn't for me as I already know why Nissan is sharing it product with GM.

My comment is in relation to the very poor quality of your statement, which really has no bearing on anything.

So, tell me why Ford has sold more vans than GM?

Who are the companies targeting in this segment?

What marketing is Ford using that might give them better exposure to the market?

What impact does this change in vehicle lineup with GM selling a new product. Remember Ford has had Transit Connects for a while and GM is relatively new with this style of van.

As for my grammar, well it is what it is and I'm able to get a point across.

I don't mind if you kids want to comment, but look at what significance your comments have. Do you really think your comment is of value? Or are you just trowling your GM friend?

Make worthwhile contributions is all I'm asking, instead of your childish retorts.

But, you kids can't have that, can you? Making worthwhile contributions? Why? Because it will highlight what little knowledge and real life experience you have, so you resort to nonsense.

I obviously have more real life experience than yourself, you don't see me using copy/paste to try and prove my knowledge. If you really want to see how hypocritical you are, try and visualize that my comment was made to a known idiot, a rebuttal of his ignorant statements. You stuck your big nose in where you weren't called for or welcomed. I'd imagine everyone with half a brain can spot your vast lack of knowledge due to your putting question marks in half your sentences. I mean come on, if you don't know answers use your own suggestion, google it.

Toyota lol

don't worry about him, he does that to everybody where he has to be the smartest guy here all the time.
I don't read any of his posts anymore, its a total waste of time.
The biggest insult you can give him is to ignore him.

USPS...Your new delivery trucks have arrived.

Good article, glad our Canuck friends are on top of these developments.

Tom#3, agreed. Sometimes I allow myself to be pulled into peeing contests. Forums had an ignore feature. Not sure if this thing does.

@Tom#3 and Toyota lol,
You guys should talk, especially Tom, have a read of your nonsense.

You guys might not like my comments in general, but my comments overall can be assertive. As you have witnessed over the past 6 months or so I've very much toned down my comments and have a passive-aggressive approach.

You see kids, this started out several years ago.

People of the likes of HemiV8, zvirus, yourselves and a few others trash PUTC.

There was a guy who used to blog on here named Lou. He has gone the way of the Dodo. But, he also had an agenda as was shown by his constant supporting of another person who trashed PUTC. This guy went around using quite a few names.

Awlone, Leigh, etc.

Why don't you guys comment with some decent and worthwhile comments, instead of your adolescent comments.

All you are doing is making he site attractive for more school kids such as yourselves.

Look at your contributions. If you want to submit drivel, then get onto Facebook and talk to each other.

I have put forward a suggestion to PUTC regarding the moderation of the "childish" comments, ie, having them deleted if they are of no value.

Of no value doesn't mean "off thread". I really don't know why the "adults" who comment on PUTC have not attempted to contain you kids. I'm actually more surprised allow you guys to pass the comments you do of little or no value.

I've been a member of this site since 2000, read almost every post in the old forums and most on the blogs, I do know how anti American and low self esteem BAFO is. As a matter of fact, almost everyone but him does.

@Chase or Awlone, yidda, yidda, yidda,
I don't mind comments that are a little mature other than these "my brand is better than yours". This is what most of the comment of late have amounted to.

This has been ongoing now for a couple of years at PUTC.

A "hands on moderator" is needed to tone down and remove certain comments.

I don't believe anyone should be banned from the site, but when comments the calibre of the one made by Toyota lol is made it makes you wonder the depth at which you minds actually work.

It doesn't help when the "mature" age people come in with the high school level of intelligence either.

Do you really think the manufacturers read most of this stuff and take it in? No.

There are certain attributes of each and every manufacturer that makes a pickup more attractive to one person over another.

But the next model might lose some of those attributes, while another brand latches on to it.

I suppose when a site is basically run by kids what else can you expect.

Where are the test drivers opinions on how these vans performed?
I'm curious as to how the Ford diesel performed because the odds are in favour of it showing up in the F150.

It's very telling that the F350 truck with the scorpion diesel gets better fuel economy than either the T250 van or the transit connect with the EB 1.6.

Looks like another case of the wrong engine being used.

T250 needs Fords the 4.4 liter V6 diesel based on the scorpion motor and the Transit Connect needs a reworked (limited) 2.3 liter EB. So it can actually run around out of boost at light loads.

@mackintire agree. Ford's Van has a much lower GVWR, GCVWR, than the equivalent Sprinter. A bigger diesel would make a difference

Ryan, I just compared 2 base models and the Ford had higher payload and towing. Where did you get your numbers?

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