Jones Ford Buckeye Compares 2004 Ford Econoline VS 2004 Chevrolet Astro Near Surprise, AZ

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2004 Ford Econoline

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2004 Chevrolet Astro

Safety Comparison

To maximize occupant safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Ford Econoline have pretensioners to eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Chevrolet Astro Cargo Van doesn’t offer pretensioners.

Both the Econoline and the Astro Cargo Van have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts and four wheel antilock brakes.

The Ford Econoline weighs 432 to 1618 pounds more than the Chevrolet Astro Cargo Van. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new cars. In this test, results indicate that the Ford Econoline is safer than the Astro Cargo Van:


Astro Cargo Van



4 Stars

3 Stars

Chest forces

56 g’s

65 g’s

Leg injuries (L/R)

920 / 654

1979 / 1060

More stars indicate a better overall result. Lower numbers indicate better individual test results.

The Astro Cargo Van’s 65 driver’s chest forces index is 8.33% higher than the threshold that indicates possible serious injuries or death.

Warranty Comparison

The Econoline’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Astro Cargo Van’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

Reliability Comparison

In the Ford Econoline, the optional 6.0 turbo V8 diesel has a gear driven camshaft to prevent engine damage from a broken camshaft belt or chain. Gears don’t exert side forces against the camshaft that can wear the cam bearings. The engine in the Chevrolet all use chain driven camshafts.

The Econoline with gas engines has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Astro Cargo Van doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the van’s engine.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Econoline has a standard 130 amp alternator. The Astro Cargo Van’s 105 amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Econoline has a standard 650 amp battery (1375 standard). The Astro Cargo Van’s 600 amp battery isn’t as powerful.

Engine Comparison

The E-150’s standard 4.6 SOHC V8 produces 35 more horsepower (225 vs. 190) and 36 lbs.-ft. more torque (286 vs. 250) than the Astro Cargo Van’s 4.3 V6. The Econoline’s optional 5.4 SOHC V8 produces 65 more horsepower (255 vs. 190) and 100 lbs.-ft. more torque (350 vs. 250) than the Astro Cargo Van’s 4.3 V6. The E-350’s optional 6.8 SOHC V10 produces 115 more horsepower (305 vs. 190) and 170 lbs.-ft. more torque (420 vs. 250) than the Astro Cargo Van’s 4.3 V6.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

The Econoline has 8 gallons more fuel capacity than the Astro Cargo Van (35 vs. 27 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the Econoline’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Astro Cargo Van:



Astro Cargo Van

Front Rotors

12.8 inches

13.03 inches

12.01 inches

Rear Rotors

13.1 inches

12.9 inches

13 inches

The Econoline’s brakes have 27% more swept area (the area covered by the brake pads) than the Astro Cargo Van (569.4 vs. 450.1 square inches), so the Econoline has more braking power available.

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Econoline has larger standard tires than the Astro Cargo Van (225/75R16 vs. 215/70R16).

The Ford Econoline 250/350’s wheels have 8 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Chevrolet Astro Cargo Van only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

The Econoline has a standard full size spare tire. A full size spare isn’t available on the Astro Cargo Van.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The front suspension of the Econoline uses coil springs for better ride, handling and control than the Astro Cargo Van AWD, which uses torsion bars in front. Coil springs compress more progressively and offer more suspension travel for a smoother ride with less bottoming out.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Econoline’s wheelbase is 2 feet, 2.8 inches longer than on the Astro Cargo Van (138 vs. 111.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Econoline is 4.3 inches wider in the front and 1.9 inches wider in the rear than on the Astro Cargo Van.

The Econoline’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (52.2% to 47.8%) than the Astro Cargo Van’s (59% to 41%). This gives the Econoline more stable handling and braking.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Econoline has 3.3 inches more front headroom, .7 inches more front hip room and 4.4 inches more front shoulder room than the Astro Cargo Van.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The E-150 has a much larger cargo area than the Astro Cargo Van (256.5 vs. 170.4 cubic feet).

The Econoline’s cargo area is larger than the Astro Cargo Van’s in every dimension:


E-250 Super

Astro Cargo Van





Max Width




Min Width








Ergonomics Comparison

The Econoline’s optional steering wheel mounted cruise control is close at hand. The Astro Cargo Van’s optional cruise control is on an over-crowded turn signal stalk.

Economic Advantages Comparison

The Econoline will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that the Econoline will retain 42.83% to 47.73% of its original price after five years, while the Astro Cargo Van only retains 40.33% to 40.58%.

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