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When you think about it, a factory off-road van makes a lot of sense. Not because the buyer will use it off-road-few to none are off-roading Raptor and TRX pickups. But it makes sense for the same reason that most Raptor and TRX owners don’t off-road their trucks; they like that aggressive off-road look.

With the Ford Transit Trail, you’ll have a factory Raptor van

2021 Ford Transit Trail Europe standard size van
2021 Ford Transit Trail Europe | Ford

With #vanlife picking up, everyone wants a unique-looking van. And going off-grid is the goal. So an off-road-looking van definitely gives that vibe. It’s saying “Here’s someone that takes their van life seriously.”

Ford has such a van in Europe. It’s called the Ford Transit Trail, where “caravaning” is big. They’re not lifted, but they start with that Raptor-like grille with a big “FORD” right in the middle. 

Then, Ford adds 16-inch trail-ready wheels, black wheel-opening moldings, and all-wheel-drive modes to handle different terrain. From there it is up to the customer to customize the cargo area of their dreams. And if you want some extra headroom or need a longer platform you can order the tall version and/or the longer wheelbase model. 

Add Raptor 17-inch wheels and a custom interior

2021 Ford Transit Trail for Europe
2021 Ford Transit Trail Europe | Ford

Just adding a set of factory 17-inch Raptor wheel takeoffs would be a nice touch. And so would some solar panels and taller knobby tires. With a Moab sticker in the rear window, you’ll look like you take van life seriously; even if you’ve never ventured outside your zip code.  

The inside could be a fun family project, from planning the layout at the dinner table to buying and then installing what your plans call out for. And maybe the best part is that you don’t have to do it all at once. If the payments to Ford cut into the budget a bit you can take it one item at a time.

Or, if screwing the insides together isn’t your idea of fun, you can go to an upfitter who will do it for you. And really, if Ford wants to embrace its Transit Trail idea, it should offer different basic layouts from upfitters it endorses. That would really add incentive for off-roaders into the idea of an off-road van.

Ford’s recent patent filing for a Transit Trail van hints it might be coming to the US

Your standard Ford Transit vans for the US
2021 Ford Transit vans | Ford

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But we’re getting way ahead of ourselves. The thought that Ford might try the Transit Trail van idea in the US comes from a recent patent filing. That filing looks almost identical to the European Transit Trail. Whether Ford has plans for this in the US is unknown. 

Still, we can dream about a new off-road van. There is a lot to be said for the advantages of vans over pickups. Ford was first with an off-road pickup in the Raptor. Why not test their luck and go for a Raptor van?