Spied: Ford's American-Market Transit Cargo Van

#Ford, #Ford

Ford has repeatedly shown off its new Transit Custom front-wheel-drive cargo van that will go on sale in Europe, but these spy photos are our first look at the American-market, rear-wheel-drive Transit that should debut by the end of this year. In keeping with its utilitarian purpose, this heavy duty Ford Transit is bigger and boxier than its lighter-duty European siblings.

To help distinguish the pair, Ford deems the Euro-market Transit Custom a "light duty" cargo van, while the American model is a "heavy duty" model (think F-150 compared to an F-550). The American Transit also will be sold around the world, but there is zero chance of the European Transit Custom coming stateside. On our shores, the Transit replaces the E-Series/Econoline models, which will be phased out over the next few years.

Compared to the crossover-like Transit Custom, this Transit is much more upright and square, similar in overall appearance to other cargo vans like the Nissan NV and the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. The long, flat body sides and tall roof might not be especially attractive, but they will permit plenty of space for hauling large objects. The stubby nose has giant headlights, just like the European vans, but it appears that the fascia is flat with a large grille opening. We expect the American Ford Transit will look more like the F-150 pickup truck; the European vans have curving front ends more reminiscent of Ford cars and crossovers.

Ford has previously revealed that the new Transit will offer the company's popular twin-turbo, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, as well as a new-to-America diesel engine. In Europe, the Transit Custom is available with a 2.2-liter turbo-diesel I-4, but it's still unknown whether that mill could be federalized or whether it would be powerful enough for the large American van.Europeans also get six-speed manual transmissions, but clutch-phobic America will probably only get traditional automatics. Regardless, Ford says the Transit will be 25 percent more fuel-efficient and at least 300 pounds lighter than the E-Series.

As for the cabin, we're expecting the modern and car-like interior shown in the Transit Custom to make its way into the American Transit. Expect a host of tech gadgets that have never before been offered in Ford cargo vans: Bluetooth, the Sync voice recognition software, a backup camera, and lane-departure warning. The prototype spied here has a hitchreceiver, which unsurprisingly suggests the Transit will be able to tow.

The Ford Transit is expected to go into production in Kansas City, Missouri, later this year. That means we should see it make its official production debut this fall.

Tony keffer
Ford Transits are having trouble with transmissions at 70,000 miles....whats up with that Ford?
Evan McCausland
This is actually designed to compete size-wise with the Sprinter, which the Transit Connect and Transit/Tourneo Custom are not. A mid-size van is an interesting idea, but if you were expecting Ford to replace one of its best-selling commercial models with something smaller...
Evan McCausland
Thanks. We originally said this particular model will be sold here as well as in Europe. As for the "all-new" part -- Ford says it is, but we won't know for sure until they let us crawl around it with our magnifying glasses.
Hambone
You guys need a history lesson... the full size Transit has been around for a long time. Ask anyone in the UK. This is not an entirely new product and the "euro" crowd will get the full size too. The Transit Custom is set to compete with the MB Vito and Viano vans in Europe while the Transit CURRENTLY competes with the Sprinter (and others).
Punter
"Debut by the end of this year" Are you sure? Should I call the dealer and order one?
orlando
very nice, can't wait to see it in person, very nice line's, sure look ford stuff.
Nurse ben
What a dissapointment, just another big ugly van. I'd buy the Tourneo Custom in a hot second, but if the Transit pictured is the best Ford can do, I'd just assume buy another Sprinter. Hopefully the Transit Connect will grow a little, both in power and size, then we'd have nice mid sized van for those of us who haul things other than pallets.

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