A CRVL forum member PM’ed me some questions about both platforms they were test driving. Here is my answer; correct and critique where warranted:
> > > The guy at the dealership said that front wheel drive vehicles wear out their tires faster ... > > > > > I didn't ask him why that is ... > > > > > >
In the long term you will end up buying the same amount of tires with FWD and RWD, but the wear patterns are different in the short term.
In RWD vehicles the tires in the set wear more evenly with the rears wearing slightly faster due to slippage during accelleration. All four tires are commonly replaced together, or maybe just the rears sometimes depending on how hard one accellerates.
In FWD vehicles the rear tires wear very little and the front tires wear faster; the fronts are both driving and steering the vehicle. So in most cases you will be replacing the front tires only and maybe the rears every 2 or 3 times.
> > > > > > > He also said the Transit was a smoother ride.... > > > >
It’s not a big difference, but the unloaded Transit’s suspension is a little softer. The PM’s suspension settles down under load (ie, stuff in it). When I carried my 500lb motorcycle home in the PM the ride was much more civilized.
Road noise on both empty vans will be rather annoying until you insulate it. Some folks use sound deadener material too, but foam board insulation makes a huge difference. The rear tire wells are a source of much of the noise.
Both vans are very good for vandwelling builds, and folks are happy with both. If you stand 5’9” or less you can probably help bring down the price on the Transit by going mid roof (72”) instead of high roof (81”).
Transit advantages: higher 81” roof option available. Ecoboost (high performance) engine available.
The PM living area is about 10% more than the Transit high roof and about 45% (!) more than the mid-roof.
Transit recently had a recall on a driveline part, a “giubo”. It’s pronounced “jew-bo” although “gweebo” is often heard. This recall is not a knock on Transit quality (all van designs have issues) but if you are negotiating the sale price you could act terrified of it: ”OMG the driveshaft could fall out going down the highway and kill me!!!!!!” <– it won’t, just make the salesworm squirm a bit :-)