The Ford Ranger Raptor. The current Fiesta ST. The current Focus ST. The Ford Everest. The Falcon. What do all of these awesome vehicles have in common? They’re built by a US-based automaker, and they aren’t for sale in the US. That’s just the case for the new Ford Transit Trail, which appears to be a Raptor-inspired van. With the booming popularity of “#vanlife,” camping and overland adventuring, this seems like the perfect tool for the job, especially because it’s more than just an appearance package.
The new Ford Transit Trail and smaller Transit Custom Trail are distinguished by the Raptor inspired styling, specifically the front grille. Somehow, it really doesn’t look out of place. The vans also get SUV/truck-inspired styling with black plastic body cladding, unique 16 inch black wheels, and Trail decals all around. Inside, there’s new and extra durable materials designed for easy cleaning after an off-road adventure.
Best of all, it’s not just an appearance package. The smaller Transit Custom Trail (pictured in red) may only be available in front wheel drive, but it adds a Quaife mechanical limited slip diff. This greatly improves traction in low grip conditions by sending power to the wheel with the most grip. Ford says it also gives the Transit handling characteristics more similar to the performance oriented Focus and Fiesta ST. Way to rub it in, Ford.
Step up to the larger, regular Ford Transit Trail (pictured in blue) and you can option Ford’s Intelligent All Wheel Drive. While the Transit comes standard in rear wheel drive, the optional all wheel drive system can send up to 50 percent of torque to the front axle when slip is detected. You can even put it in an all wheel drive lock mode to get a equal 50:50 torque split. These aren’t built for rock crawling, but they are certainly more capable than the traditional van, especially if owners add some more off-road oriented tires.
Ford doesn’t sell the Transit Custom in the U.S. so we understand why it’s not coming here, but the larger Transit is mostly the same. There’s really no reason Ford shouldn’t test the waters and offer it here. We even think it would be quite popular.
Converting vans into adventure campers is becoming more and more common. Giving customers an option with greater off-road ability from the factory seems like it would have popularity in the growing segment. Customers would feel more confident venturing out into the wilderness with less need for additional costly modifications. Our only hope is that Ford eventually updates America’s Transit with this trim level.