Transit AWD vs Express AWD vs Transit Quigley: which one for me?

kudzu

New member
Can anyone offer ideas or suggestions to help me compare my current Express AWD to the new Transit AWD? Are there any situations where a Transit AWD would be preferable to a Quigley conversion? Pros and cons to these options? FYI, we're in the Southeast with occasional trips out West and plans for increased traveling in the next couple years. The van is used to tow a little Aliner or small motorcycle trailer. We also have bicycles, recumbent trike, folding kayak, modular kayaks, small paddleboard and shove all that into the van on certain trips. Basically the van gets us to the adventure but I don't think of it as an actual adventure vehicle.

My current van is a 2009 Chevy Express AWD. It's served me well so far, but it hasn't been my favorite vehicle and our needs are changing. Am now researching vans again with hopes of getting a mid height Transit sometime next year. The plan was to replace the Express AWD with the upcoming Transit AWD, but someone has pointed out to me that the cost of that is comparable to a low mileage used Transit and a Quigley 4x4 conversion. That's an interesting option but I'm not sure I'd really make use of the 4wd very often. The AWD on my Express has been handy a number of times, like driving on road in snow, but we are rarely in a situation where 4WD is truly necessary. And I guess I've liked AWD instead since it's an automatic thing rather than me having to choose whether to engage 4wd and what level to choose. With 4wd I'd need to learn when & how to use it. (Of course, the learning could be a fun adventure in & of itself.) We've skipped some adventures because I didn't have 4wd. Maybe I'd actually make use of it.
 

DCGibbs

Observer
Quigley is a 2 speed Transfer case, from what I've heard - The Transit AWD is single speed, no LOW. Upgrading from your 2009 gives you either the Ecoboost Gas -or- Turbo Diesel... Both have plentiful power.
 

Christian P.

Expedition Leader
Staff member
The plan was to replace the Express AWD with the upcoming Transit AWD, but someone has pointed out to me that the cost of that is comparable to a low mileage used Transit and a Quigley 4x4 conversion.
In my modest opinion this is not a very educated comparaison. First, verify that Quigley actually do 4x4 conversion on used Transit (I am not sure they do). Second, you get an older Transit van when the new model is coming out. Second, you don't get any financing and/or less warranty options.

The Quigley conversion is around $14500 when you factor all in. The AWD option should be in the $5000 range.

If you are looking for high clearance and offroad performance, a van is not where you want to start anyway.

So from what you describe, a Transit AWD would be your best choice.
 

b. rock

Active member
......

If you are looking for high clearance and offroad performance, a van is not where you want to start anyway.

.....
Hey! Don't you shatter my E-350's hopes and dreams.

OP, sounds to me like 4x4 with low range really isn't a good fit from the little bit you've shared. AWD would be the way to go, and the 10 spd has a pretty low 1st gear anyway. You mentioned that the Express hasn't been your favorite vehicle though, what are you looking to change/improve?
 

Scotty D

Active member
I am in a similar boat all the way down to the 09 awd express.
I however have loved my express and have pushed it to its limits. with its short wheelbase and larger tires I dont think the AWD ford will be as capable at all.
Even with the quigley its just a much bigger van.
However I would like more space and my express has over 200k on the clock.
I am guessing that the quigley gets much worse gas mileage than the AWD transit as well but have no confirmation.
 

Desert Dan

Explorer
The Quigley Transit uses the same engine and trans but has a real transfer case so the mileage should be similar to the AWD Transit.
 

AbleGuy

[Back] Roads Scholar
It’s sad to read that, for some of you the choice seems to be:

Get a truly competent 4wd rig that gets shitty gas mileage but can do the trails you want to go on, and then don’t get out and go anywhere because gas is so expensive,
Or...
Get a gas efficient vehicle that doesn’t otherwise meet your off road needs and can’t take you off-roading to the places you want to explore, and then don’t go anywhere because you can’t take it where you want.

I think folks agonize too much about gas prices.

I stopped thinking about that issue when I got a truly great, fully self contained 4wd camper that got about 12 mpg but was easy to drive and could mostly take me anywhere where I wanted to go. I don’t regret that decision. We’ve paid as much as $4.99 a gallon for unleaded (screw you California) to go out and explore the west, but we’ve also had many incredible adventures that I’ll fondly remember when I’m too old to get out on the road any more and am sitting on the porch of the old folk’s home in my rocking chair.

In the long run, try cutting back on other non-essential expenses, buy the rig that will really get you out and into the places you want to go, create the special memories that will follow, and try to quit obsessing so much about gas prices.
 
Last edited:

luthj

Engineer In Residence
I get frustrated when an OP mentions they want/need AWD 4WD for rare usage, but "wheelers" jump in with suggestions implying that AWD lower clearance vehicles are inferior, or a waste of time. I know its often well intentioned, but not everyone has a need for that stuff!

The OP specifically mentioned they don't use 4WD often. They don't do "trails", wheeling, or adventure driving.

Basically the van gets us to the adventure but I don't think of it as an actual adventure vehicle.
So lets stop the "true" 4x4 comments right here please. We should focus on fuel economy, reliability, cost, and comfort. For those needs a transit with factory AWD is probably the best fit.
 
Last edited:

TeleSteve

Adventurer
I think the two biggest adavntages you will get by upgrading to a Transit (AWD or Quigley) is the ability to have more headroom with a medium or high roof, a longer van with extended versions, and the ability to carry more weight with a 3/4 or 1 ton van. You will likely get a little better gas mileage and loose a little ground clearance.
I currently have a AWD Express, and I am glad to see the AWD Transit hitting the market. When my Express is worn out it will likely be its replacement unless something better becomes available.
 

goin camping

Explorer
A Quigly would be money wasted for where you say you go.

You don't like your Express.

I'm going to go with...

The Transit AWD with a bit higher roof would cover all your bases. Choose the best engine for you and don't look back.
 

kudzu

New member
Thank you for all the feedback. It is truly appreciated. It doesn't sound like the Quigley would necessarily be a mistake, but I'm again leaning towards waiting for the Transit AWD.

Christian, thank you for your comment on the warranty. Not sure how I was dumb enough not to consider that part. The Quigley idea came from a salesperson with VanDoIt. They are associated with an auto dealership. They're taking off lease vans & doing custom conversions, including the Quigley 4x4. They offer financing, plus take trade ins. Am leaning towards them because the interior outfitting system seems best suited to my needs. Though the all-in-one of purchase, conversion, trade-in and financing is a big bonus. The overall cost of Quigley on a 2018 or 2019 is competitive, a little less than a 2020 AWD. There would be more depreciation on a new Transit as opposed to buying a low mileage, used vehicle. However, for my purposes, I'm not convinced the Quigley is the best overall value. A 2019 with Quigley would be available sooner than the AWD, but I'm not in a rush. Waiting isn't a problem.

I am in a similar boat all the way down to the 09 awd express.
I however have loved my express and have pushed it to its limits. with its short wheelbase and larger tires I dont think the AWD ford will be as capable at all.
Even with the quigley its just a much bigger van. ...
Well, I actually like the idea of a shorter van. It adds to the Transits appeal for me. Until I got my Express, the Transit Connect is the largest vehicle I'd ever had. And a 2.6 L was the largest engine. A full-size van was a huge adjustment. We've made use of the space in the Express, no doubt about that. There's a reason I'm not going back to a little van. But I certainly don't want anything longer, even if by inches. Now more height, that's what I really want. The Transit Connect had more interior height than the Express.

... We should focus on fuel economy, reliability, cost, and comfort. ...
These are in fact very important to me.

... You mentioned that the Express hasn't been your favorite vehicle though, what are you looking to change/improve?
Will tell you why I don't love it, but despite everything I am about to write, I do actually like my Express. It has served us well. There are just enough frustrations that I don't feel very attached to it. The paint sucks. Stupid Chevy has had the problem for decades and either they don't care or are too stupid to solve the issue. (Yes, I'm bitter. lol ) Rear seats aren't comfortable for passengers. Tons of plastic parts are breaking. Air bag lights are on. Interior lights sometimes work & sometimes don't. One side door needs to be slammed to get it closed all the way. Fan for rear AC has to be on high for fan to work. It's just a long, ongoing list of these sorts of things that need repair or replacement. Some of it is unique to my van, but the rest just echoes the problems of my parents' & sister's GM products. Really, the Express was the only GM product I'd ever considered. I don't regret the purchase. Just feel it is time to move on.

ETA: I realize there are folks who have had better experiences with GM products and some have had bad experiences with Ford.
 
Last edited:

dman93

Adventurer
Another factor: a guy I know recently got a Quigley Transit. I believe he said lead time was 10 months. I don’t know what the wait will be for the new AWD van, but probably less, if you’re in a hurry.
 

AbleGuy

[Back] Roads Scholar
Thank you for all the feedback. It is truly appreciated. It doesn't sound like the Quigley would necessarily be a mistake, but I'm again leaning towards waiting for the Transit AWD.

Will tell you why I don't love it, but despite everything I am about to write, I do actually like my Express. It has served us well. There are just enough frustrations that I don't feel very attached to it. The paint sucks. Stupid Chevy has had the problem for decades and either they don't care or are too stupid to solve the issue. (Yes, I'm bitter. lol ) Rear seats aren't comfortable for passengers. Tons of plastic parts are breaking. Air bag lights are on. Interior lights sometimes work & sometimes don't. One side door needs to be slammed to get it closed all the way. Fan for rear AC has to be on high for fan to work. It's just a long, ongoing list of these sorts of things that need repair or replacement. Some of it is unique to my van, but the rest just echoes the problems of my parents' & sister's GM products. Really, the Express was the only GM product I'd ever considered. I don't regret the purchase. Just feel it is time to move on.

ETA: I realize there are folks who have had better experiences with GM products and some have had bad experiences with Ford.

Do you mind telling me the total mileage on your Express, pls?

I’m looking at a slightly camperized 2014 AWD express for an out of state friend. It has 165 k miles on it. How much more might he expect to get before major engine/tranny problems start up?

Mucho thx

(BTW, I’m familiar with the Express sh+tty paint problems....I used to have an ‘02 that I only put @ 88k on, and the hood looked like someone had poured acid over the paint....paint was all bubbled and peeling)
 
Last edited:
Top