The North American market is still missing some amazing cars. Ford chose not to bring the previous-generation Ranger Raptor to the US, something the company will correct with the new model. US consumers may also soon enjoy the upgraded Transit van if a series of new spy shots show Ford’s decision to bring it here. Our photographer captured the test van in Michigan.
The van is called the Transit Trail, and is only available in Europe for now. While vans have yet to regain their place in the family vehicle lineup, they are popular with outdoor enthusiasts and campers. Camper vans and other convertibles are quite popular, and the Transit Trail may be Ford’s attempt to capitalize on that trend.
In Europe, Ford is offering the Transit Trail with a diesel engine, which will not be made in the US version. A pair of tailpipe tailpipes, which are absent on European diesel models, suggest that this van will have a different powertrain. However, it is not clear what it is. The US transit uses a 3.5-liter or 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine, but don’t let the Raptor-inspired and valiant FORD grille fool you into thinking something more powerful will end there. We expect the engine options to remain unchanged.
What will change, apart from a tougher grille, are the small things. The Transit Trail has mostly received visual upgrades, but Ford also offers a “smart” all-wheel-drive system that can send up to 50 percent of power to the front wheels. One hundred percent of the power usually hits the rear. Ford also provided the van with a new limited-slip differential and a customized traction control system.
There’s no indication whether Ford will launch the Transit Trail in the US, but seeing a road in Michigan is a good sign. Vans are not as popular as they used to be, but it seems that more people understand and appreciate their uses. The beefy version of the Transit Trail will make for an attractive camper van conversion.