Marine & RVs

Do the 2021 Ford Transit’s New Packages Turn It Into a Mini RV?

It’s not just RVs that have exploded in popularity recently. Their smaller counterparts, camper vans, and the associated #vanlife trend have similarly grown within the public consciousness. Enough that a few manufacturers are starting to get in on the trend. RV maker Winnebago, for example, is turning Mercedes Sprinters into camper vans. Volkswagen’s been in the segment for decades. And now, Ford is giving the 2021 Transit cargo van a taste of the lifestyle.

The 2021 Ford Transit’s new #vanlife-related packages

2021 Ford Transit driving
2021 Ford Transit | Ford

Mechanically, the base Ford Transit is essentially unchanged for 2021, Motor1 reports. On the outside, it has a new grille and a few new color options. Inside, models with a GVWR under 9500 pounds have an aisle between the front seats for better cargo area access.

A white 2021 Ford Transit AWD with the Adventure Prep Package drives up a forest hill
2021 Ford Transit AWD with Adventure Prep Package rear | Ford

However, for 2021 the Ford Transit offers new equipment packages for those who want to live and explore with their vans. The first is the Adventure Prep Package for cargo and passenger Ford Transits. It bundles all-wheel drive, a limited-slip rear differential, a strengthened front axle, and Ford’s 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6, The Drive reports. This package also gives the van adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors, and privacy glass.

The 2021 Ford Transit's cargo area and interior seen from the open rear doors
2021 Ford Transit rear interior view | Ford

While the Adventure Prep Package is an overlanding nod, the RV and Motorhome Prep Packages are more about on-pavement touring. The latter is available on the Ford Transit chassis cab, Roadshow reports, and has a retuned 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 and adaptive cruise control.

The RV Prep Package, meanwhile, is for cargo models. It also adds adaptive cruise control as well as side-mounted sensors. The additional features include fog lights, a heavy-duty tow kit, swiveling front seats, and an 8-speaker audio system.

Are these packages enough to make the 2021 Ford Transit into an RV?

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While campers and RVs aren’t interchangeable, a camper van is an RV. And Ford Transits have served extensively as the basis for overlanding builds, conversion vans, and other RVs.

Blue 2020 Ford Transit Trail van driving through a construction site
2020 Ford Transit Trail | Ford

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However, just equipping your 2021 Ford Transit with one of these new packages won’t really make it a good RV. The Adventure Prep Package, for example, doesn’t give the van additional ground clearance as the Europe-only Trail trim does. And while cargo vans can and do make for good campers and RVs, the RV Prep Package alone isn’t enough.

But then, that’s exactly the point, Automobile explains. Ford isn’t going into the RV business, unlike Hyundai. Instead, it’s making it easier for Transit owners to turn their vans into RVs through these packages. They get the ball rolling on your conversion project, but you need to put the finishing touches on it.

What else do you need?

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Turning any cargo van, whether it’s a Ford Transit or another model, requires a few additional items. Luckily, several outfitters offer conversion kits to turn cargo and passenger vans into RVs and campers. Storyteller Overland, for example, although it’s best-known for its Sprinter-based conversions, is working on a Transit prototype, WeTheRussos reports.

Starting with a cargo van, you’ll need to install a sleeping area, as well as somewhere to store and prepare food and water. Depending on how big your van is, you may need to invest in a rooftop tent. Plus, you’ll need to consider heating and potentially insulating the sleeping area.

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If you plan to bring along extra tools, bicycles, motorcycles, or other gear, you’ll have to invest in the necessary racks and storage methods. And you’ll need solar panels to supply power for everything, Outside explains.

In short, the 2021 Ford Transit’s new packages won’t automatically turn the van into an RV. But they are a helpful first step.

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