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Is Ford building an off-road Transit van?

2021-08-23

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When it comes to the Ford Transit, the first image you have in mind is probably a white van with some company name and logo on the side of it and not a rugged off-roader jacked up with a beauty tire. However, the recent addition of the AWD system in the Ford Transit lineup made many new things possible, and I think it was just a question of time before somebody thought about creating an off-roader out of it. It makes way more sense than you can imagine.

 

Last year, Ford unveiled a Trail version for its Transit van, and it was imposing. This beast was fitted with a limited-slip differential and received new programming for its all-wheel-drive system, making it better where there's no road. Ford even installed a back grill with the big letter instead of the regular grill with the oval logo, which kind of looks like what's on the F-150 Raptor. Well, I'm not saying Ford will build a Raptor Transit, but the look it gave to its van is pretty convincing.

 

Who's going to buy this?

 

You'd be surprised to see how many people might need something like the Ford Transit Trail, especially here in Canada, where road condition is rarely perfect. This special package could serve as a good base for a campervan, and I'm sure many businesses would be more than happy to trade their pick-up trucks for a more spacious and more helpful van. Anyways, you can be very creative when doing something useful out of a van since it's pretty much a blank canvas for entrepreneurs. The Trail version gives it extra utility with its off-road capabilities.

 

Now for the bad news, this superb vehicle is not available here in North America, but some rumors say it might be soon. Nothing has been confirmed by the American manufactured up to this point, but there's a huge market here for a van with off-road capabilities. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is very popular in this segment, and I'm sure Ford executives are not so please by the idea of their competitors selling this kind of vehicle on their market without them trying to.

 

The Ford Transit has come a long way since its first introduction in North America in the past decade. Ford finally decided to sell the Transit here was a significant relief since it was replacing the horrific E Series before known as the Econoline. If you've never driven one of those, imagine yourself taking the steering wheel of a washing machine, and that's probably the best description I can get out of it. Even in its most basic form, the Transit was a significant upgrade for businesses and entrepreneurs with its more comfortable drive and modern look. Also, it came in a lot of configurations which made it very popular. Also, I have to admit it is a lot of fun to drive when equipped with the 3.5L Ecoboost V6. Indeed, it is far from being a Ford GT, but the fact it's sharing the same engine base as the exotic sports car is pretty funny to know.

 

After many years of success, the Ford Transit became more expensive and didn't offer a lot more, but there was a massive demand for the 4x4 version and electric version. I used to work at a Ford dealer as a fleet manager, so I know a lot about this, and I did a lot of research. Some customer was willing to pay 20 000$ and even more to get 4x4 or electric conversion. It took Ford a couple of years to reach, but it didn't make things halfway by adding AWD and a hybrid version to the Transit lineup when the American manufacturer did it.

 

I still think the Ford Transit is one of the best commercial vehicles you can get today, but a Trail version would be appreciated on our market. It doesn't need to be a Raptor or even a Tremor version; if Ford could offer an FX4 package or something like that, it would be more than enough.

 

Jean-Sébastien Poudrier

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