It’s all too common to spot a decked-out panel van at the parking area of a trailhead west of the Mississippi. Once only considered a humble work vehicle, some people – even entire upfitting companies – will put well into six figures for a totally customizable, livable, go-anywhere overland vehicle using a van as a platform to do so. Suddenly living in a van down by the river is chic, and what’s down is up, but it’s taken OEMs a long time to catch on to the trend. Too long, if you ask us. But Ford Motor Company is at least getting in touch with #VanLife, and evidence of that has been the Ford Transit Trail seen testing on public roads.
We knew the Ford Transit Trail was coming to the USA thanks to a trademark discovered by MC&T for the Transit Trail name here in the States. As a result, we’ll likely see a US-Spec Ford Transit Trail debut this year. But now we can gander at the all-wheel-drive van, thanks to recent photos from one spotted road testing by Motor1.
Ford Transit Trail Spied: Details
In the images, we can see the underpinnings of the all-wheel-drive system of this model, in addition to an adjusted ride height and all-terrain Goodyear Wrangler tires. An AWD badge is also visible on the rear door, mounted just above an EcoBoost badge. The test van isn’t a test mule, which is evident since it’s not hiding beneath camouflage. Instead, what we’re seeing looks like a production-ready machine, and it even has a sticker on the windshield.
What’s noticeable about this van is that it’s not entirely the same as the European model. Obviously, the steering wheel is on the opposite side of the vehicle. But this van wears a different grille that does away with Europe’s bold “FORD” lettering in favor of a traditional oval badge. It features Transit styling in the US, and it also has larger cladding over the wheel wells. Marker lights in the grille and on the sides are new features and have likely been added since this is a larger Transit 250 model. A Transit 250 badge is visible on the back door. The European spec version is based on a smaller Transit 150, but it makes sense for VanLifers to opt for a larger van to fit more necessities.
The existing RWD Transit is already used by many in camper upfits, but up until the imminent arrival of the Ford Transit Trail, US customers generally opt for the Mercedes Sprinter for more aggressive Overlanding vans. Of course, that’s due to its AWD capability, meaning this is a brilliant move from the Blue Oval. In addition, some RV companies report billions of dollars in backlogged orders, so Ford will undoubtedly get a big slice out of the lucrative camper van market with the Transit Trail on the 250 chassis.