Ford is now making this SUV just for those who want to live the #vanlife | Rare Techy
The 2023 Ford Transit Trail starts at $65,975, plus $1,795 in delivery fees.
It adds off-road capability and easy customization to the regular Transit thanks to pre-drilled areas for custom upgrades.
Vanlife is living in a van full or part time, traveling the country and enjoying the sights. This is a choice that more Americans make, and it focuses on vans. But companies that build vans haven’t done much to cater to the vanlife crowd.
intends to change that. For the 2023 model year, the automaker will produce an off-road-oriented version of its Transit cargo van, with a modified interior for easier customization. Meet the 2023 Ford Transit Trail.
Vanlifers are a growing market
According to a 2019 report from the US Census Bureau, about 140,000 Americans live full-time in vans, recreational vehicles or boats. This indicator increased by 38% in just three years.
Vanlifers don’t tend to drive vans with conventional seats. Instead, they buy commercial vehicles, modify the vehicles themselves, or pay aftermarket shops to do it. Frequent interior changes include beds, tiny kitchens, and storage in every corner. Common mechanical mods include lift kits and all-terrain tires to help them get a van that’s designed for urban routes to conquer country roads and trails.
Related: These are the best places to go if you want to live the #VanLife
Ford offers the 2023 Transit Trail in three configurations – mid-top, high-top and extended-length high-top.
All use the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine rated at 310 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, mated to the 10-speed automatic transmission already available on the 2023 Transit.
What will change on the public transport route? Standard all-wheel drive (AWD) with five selectable drive modes, including Normal, Eco, Mud/Ruts, Tow/Haul and Slippery. The Transit Trail also rides on new rubber – 30.5-inch Goodyear GT,
Wrangler Workhorse off-road tires. It’s 3.5 inches taller than the standard Transit, which greatly improves ground clearance.
These changes should make the Transit Trail a much more capable off-road vehicle than the unenhanced Transit cargo van. A 25-gallon fuel tank is standard, but buyers can upgrade to a 31-gallon model for longer trips in the bush.
The black grille includes standard marker lights and a black plastic body wrap around the wheel arches that should hide the brush scratches. The Transit Trail doesn’t have skid plates to protect the undercarriage—don’t be too careless about these trails—but it does have a “skid plate-style front bumper,” says Ford.
Be sure to read: 7 Questions to Ask Before Starting Your Van Life
Ready to rebuild
Inside, Ford limited the upgrades to the theory that vanlifers want flexibility.
The Transit Trail has overhead storage and driver and passenger seats that can be rotated backwards.
Otherwise, it’s up to you to customize the cabin to make it more homey. To make customization easier, Ford has placed drill-through panels where cabinets, shelves, beds, and other modifications are likely to go.
The optional Upfitter package adds more additional outlets and an exterior lighting strip. It also includes high-capacity upfitter switches, a larger center console, an extra fuse panel with a high-spec interface connector, two AGM batteries and a revised vehicle wiring harness.
An optional roof fan provides cooling in the… uh… living room?
Ford launches supplier network
If you’re not looking to customize your van yourself, Ford has put together its Ford Pro Network of installers and installers certified to do the work. Find a store near you at fordupfits.com.
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The Transit Trail is something we don’t see very often – it’s a completely new type of vehicle from a major manufacturer. We’d love to tell you what it compares to, but vans like the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter or Ram ProMaster don’t offer prepackaged van packages. Vanlifers routinely deal with them anyway. But Ford can do something by giving them a platform for creativity.
This story originally ran KBB.com.