The 2020 Ford Transit arrives with new features and capabilities that are sure to keep it the best-selling van in America – was the message in a virtual briefing with Ford last week.
Ray Eyles, Chief Engineer for Ford Transit in North America, conducted the briefing reminding us that Ford has been America’s van leader for 40 years and expects to extend that lead going forward. For 2020 Ford has improved its best-selling Transit family with smart new technology, advanced driver-assist features and enhanced capability for an even wider range of customers to use their vans to carry kids, deliver cargo or (new) seek out adventuring opportunity both on and off the beaten track.
Notable upgrades include an available all-wheel-drive system, all-new 3.5-liter PFDi V6 gasoline engine with port fuel and direct injection, new 10-speed automatic transmission, plus new interiors and seating options, smart new technology and advanced driver-assist features including an optional power sliding side door.
Transit has a new interior with a modern dashboard and features designed to improve comfort and practicality, such as durable new fabrics on the seating surfaces, plus myriad cupholders and compartments for storing gear and gadgets. Grab handles are improved, vents are updated to better direct heated and cooled air, and overall ergonomics are enhanced to make using everything a bit easier.
The 2020 Ford Transit offers the most vehicle configurations in its class to help customers choose just the right van for any job. In addition to cargo van, passenger van, chassis cab and cutaway, a new crew van is added to the lineup. It can carry five people in two rows of seating with room for gear behind.
As Eyles laid out for us all of the new and better features of the 2020 Transit, he added that ‘Adventuring’ was the new hot growth market for Transit in America.
That got our attention. After all, we are in recreation rich Texas.
Eyles, aptly pointed out that many of the new features and upgrades that make the Transit a better value – as a cargo and/or passenger van – also make Transit an excellent adventuring platform.
So, let’s take a look.
Adventuring – New Growth Area
The new 2020 Transit vehicle family lends itself ideally for adventuring not only directly to the consumer from a dealer showroom, but also as a flexible and capable platform for RV manufacturers to create adventure focused camper vans (Class B) and larger motor homes (Class C) for the consumer.
The 2020 Transit – in its conventional configuration and now with new all-wheel drive is – from the showroom floor – a versatile vehicle for taking the family and friends around town or into the outback for all manner of recreation.
But there is more.
A RV manufacturer can customize a conventional Transit van unit into a modern camper van (Class B) with a wide variety of specific features and amenities.
The Transit chassis cutaway provides the RV manufacturer a very flexible platform to create larger (Class C) camping vehicles with added features and functions beyond the camper van.
Transit Class B Camper Vans and Class C Motorhomes
As we noted, the new 2020 Ford Transit is an ideal vehicle platform for recreational vehicle manufacturers to build Class B (van conversion) and Class C (chassis cutaway) motor homes.
In particular, two manufacturers (Coachmen RV and Leisure Travel Vans) have selected the 2020 Ford Transit as their platform vehicle for 2021 Class B camper vans and Class C motorhomes.
We reviewed their offerings of two 2021 recreational vehicles (Coachmen Class B BEYOND and Leisure Travel Class C WONDER) based on the 2020 Transit 350 HD platform.
Class B BEYOND RV from Coachmen RV Class C WONDER RV from Leisure Travel Vans
In both cases, their Transit-based vehicles feature the 310 horsepower 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine delivering 400 lb.-ft. torque and mated to a new Ford 10-speed electronically controlled transmission.
In each case, the vehicles offer the Ford Intelligent All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system for the first time in an RV.
The AWD in the 2020 Transit features a new chassis design by Ford that accommodates the AWD system without having to raise the chassis or vehicle floor. As a result, the manufacturer has maximum space to optimize living space in the motor home while maintaining an easy ‘step-in’ height.
The system is always on and able to deliver up to 100 percent of torque to the front wheels – if needed. Using the driver selectable drive modes, the driver is able to engage challenging terrain at any speed to maximize the all-wheel drive performance front, rear or both.
Particularly notable is the new Swivel Seating design which enables both driver and passenger front seats to turn into the cabin as additional seating in the cabin.
Other features mentioned were the Auto High-Beam HID headlights w/LED Signature Surround, fog lights, extended range fuel tank, electric power-assisted steering and four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes.
Mentions also include the wide range of Ford Co-Pilot360 technologies – standard or available – plus FordPass Connect and 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity for up to 10-users.
Driver convenience and safety features are also singled out. They include the 8-inch Sync3 Display w/Navigation, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Information System w/Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Trailer Coverage, Lane-Keeping, Side Sensing, Side-Wind Stabilization and Front and Rear Split-View Camera.
Oh yes, the Class B and Class C motorhomes – properly equipped – can tow up to 5,000 pounds. Just right for that small recreational vehicle or other adventure gear on a utility trailer.
More about BEYOND and WONDER
2021 Coachmen RV – Class B – BEYOND
Coachmen RV is using the Transit 350 HD van as the base for their Class B 2021 BEYOND model. The 22-foot Beyond is offered in three floor plan designs. Features include 2.8KW generator, 13.5K BTU AC/Heater, Sumo Springs Suspension Kit, (2) 110W Solar charging panels, side awning, wood cabinets, side screen door, 2-burner cook top, refrigerator, 22-inch LED TV, WiFi Ranger connectivity and more.
Learn more about BEYOND: https://www.coachmenrv.com/class-b-motorhomes/beyond
2021 Leisure Travel – Class C – WONDER
Wonder also offers three floor plan models with Murphy Bed, Rear Twin Bed or an innovative Front Twin Bed layout (see above). Other features include Cashmere cabinetry, Dual 12V Lithium Coach Batteries, LED Ceiling Lights, Pull-Out Pantry, and 4.0 KW generator with Auto Start and more.
“With all the new advanced technology, powerful EcoBoost engine, and of course all-wheel-drive, we are really impressed with the new Transit,” commented Ryan Elias, General Manager at Leisure Travel Vans. “We think that these new options, amongst other new features, will open doors to a new demographic, which we’re really excited about.”
In fact, they are so excited, they produced a You Tube video about the new Transit and WONDER combination. See it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXh0Bn1idtY
Learn more about the 2020 Ford Transit here:
2020 Transit Passenger Van: https://www.ford.com/trucks/transit-passenger-van-wagon/
2020 Transit Cargo Van: https://www.ford.com/commercial-trucks/transit-cargo-van/.