If you’ve spent any time on Instagram in the last few years, you’ve surely noticed the #Vanlife folks. Vanlife lovers are taking cargo and transit vans and outfitting them to the nines for world-domination off-road duty. It was only a matter of time before someone at Ford recognized that and made an uprated off-road version of the Transit Van just for #Vanlife. The new 2023 Transit Trail could be that van.
Ford has not released specs on the van, only a couple of images and video that don’t show much. But, we can imagine what we would want in an overland-ready van.
#VanLife is trending because it’s cool
Many of us grew up taking our VW Camper Vans and old Econolines into the woods for weekends of fishing and fun. Today’s #VanLifers are living in their vans and going on extended road trips. So, these vans need to be exceptionally roomy, comfy, and capable. The #Vanlife folks are turning everything from Nissan NV vans, and Mercedes Sprinters, to modern E350s into off-road beasts that can conquer many of the same trails that a TRD Tacoma would tackle, and they’re not cheap. The Transit Trail should be designed for upfitters to add bunks, refrigerators, and more easily.
What we know about the new Transit Trail
With the new 2023 Transit Trail van, Ford is promising that it will allow you to tackle the great outdoors. It will have “adventure-seeking capability alongside interior and exterior enhancements providing do-it-yourselfers and motorhome distributors a turnkey canvas direct from the factory,” according to Ford.
The basic Transit, though, comes with either a 275-horsepower version or a 310-horsepower version of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost six-cylinder engine. It certainly has enough room in the back for a tiny house with up to a 170-foot cargo hold. It comes in several versions that include Regular, Long, and Long EL. They have two seats up front and can hold up to 461 cubic feet of stuff behind the front seats.
We can look to the Explorer Timberline for some ideas
For 2022, Ford updated the giant Explorer for more off-road fun with the Timberline edition. Ford took the suspension from its Police Interceptor Utility vehicle and tossed them under the Timberline, and then added some off-road tires and a slight lift to give it more clearance and ability. It already has four-wheel drive, but even that is upgraded to a Torsen diff in the Timberline. We hope the new Transit Trail gets similar upgrades.
Please give it Pro Power Onboard
Ford trucks have the novel Pro Power Onboard optional. That system adds household power outlets to the bed of a truck that can power an astonishing amount of tools, TVs, or cocktail blenders. We can’t imagine a more perfect upgrade to the Transit Tail. Who wouldn’t want to be able to power the entire campsite from their Transit Van?
Give it the Raptor’s one-pedal drive mode
Not many people need the off-road capability of the F-150 Raptor. But, the Raptor does come with one cool off-road feature that the Transit Trail could use: one-pedal off-road driving. It operates like cruise control for off-road use. And, since we’re creating a wish list, why not add the Raptor’s 360—degree camera system unlike the Raptor, the Transit doesn’t have great visibility out of the back.