Brighton Ford here in Colorado lent us this 2020 Ford Transit XLT 350HD van outfitted with a 3.5L EcoBoost V6, AWD, seating for 15 passengers and 16 cup holders to keep everyone hydrated. The engine is the same one found in the F-150 pickup, pumping out 310-hp and 400 lb-ft. torque at 2,500 RPM. That’s down from the F-150’s spec of 375 hp and up to 470 lb-ft. torque, but still impressive. Unlike the F-150, the Transit doesn’t use a 4×4 setup as found on the FX4. Instead, the Transit uses an AWD system similar to the one found on Ford’s new Explorer SUV. And despite the “350HD” badging, duallie rear axle, and 8,000-pound curb weight, the Ford drives nothing like a Super Duty pickup. It drives like, well, a premium van.
The dash of the Ford Transit is functional and basic. A powerful A/C system keeps everyone chilled, front-to-back. The SYNC infotainment screen accesses the vehicle’s Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth, Navigation, and a host of other options. One feature we liked was the drive-mode feature. It lets you optimize the van for fuel economy (Eco), slick and snowy roads (Slippery), off-road (Mud/Ruts), and towing (Tow/Haul).
Ford Transit: A Versatile Option for People-Moving or #VanLife
The high-roof, extended version of this Transit means that a six-foot, two-inch tall person can stand upright inside. A nearly 3,000 pound payload capacity means owners can run wild with seating and cargo organization, or in the case of the cargo version of this Transit, throw everything, including the kitchen sink, into a tricked out vanlife/overlanding dream rig.
The penalty for all that glorious payload is a less-than impressive tow rating of 3,300 pounds for this specific model. If that’s important, you can consider the cargo version of the rig with a 6,100-pound tow rating or look into the 2.0L turbo diesel and its 7,500-pound tow rating.
Pricing for this new AWD Transit AWD configuration starts at around $55,000. A fully-optioned passenger van like the XLT shown here crosses the $62,000 threshold with the EcoBoost V6. Sounds like a lot, but not when put up against Ford’s other massive people and cargo movers such as the Ford Expedition MAX, which starts at around $56,000. And the Expedition doesn’t feature the infinite possibilities to pull rows of seats, turn them around 180-degrees, or let your use-cases for the cavernous space run wild.