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The 2020 Ford Transit XL AWD High Roof Moves Vanlifers to Overlanding

Some people like the appeal of vanlife. They typically have work that can be done anywhere. So, the nomadic lifestyle lends itself to adventurous opportunities while still holding down a paycheck. But, some of those vanlife enthusiasts do not want to be held back by paved roadways. They want a van platform that can take them off-road. While the Mercedes Sprinter has often been the go-to for those situations, Ford now has an alternative with the 2020 Transit XL all-wheel drive, high roof platform. It is a spacious van that has all-wheel drive and can finally take vanlifers into overlanding situations because not all the fun happens on the road.

The 2020 Ford Transit XL

a white work van towing a trailer
2020 Ford Transit | Ford Media

The 2020 Ford Transit XL is a popular delivery and work van for fleet accounts. Its high-roof option permits more room for packages and equipment. But, it is also ideal for conversion van companies, limo services, airport shuttles,… and vanlifers. Many people have built out the platform to include kitchens, sleeping areas, and storage. But, for many that want the ability to go off-road, the Transit, until recently, has fallen short. It was not available with all-wheel drive, until now. Now the platform has what it needs to move vanlifers into overlanding exploration.

Sand, mud, snow, and washed out roads are now more easily traversed with the Transit XL outfitted with the multi-mode all-wheel drive traction system. The suspension in the rear is leaf spring related, while the front are independent. The available 3.5-liter V6 provides 270-hp, which is plenty for its purpose. The van also provides 109-inches of hight when equipped with the high-roof option. This means there is full stand-up room. The all-wheel drive option is not available in the short wheelbase. However, it is available in the long and extended wheelbase configuration, which are more than likely the choices vanlifers and overlanding enthusiasts will seize upon. 

Price Point of the 2020 Ford Transit XL, all-wheel drive, high-roof

If you jump on over to the Build & Price tool found on the Ford Transit page, you will find that the base trim is the XL. When all-wheel drive on the long wheelbase and a high-roof option are mated to the base 3.5-liter V6, the price point reaches $48,630. The XLT trim, which adds a few goodies, raises the price point to $50,515. 

Compared to the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Meanwhile, if you try to configure a Sprinter the same as the Ford you will run into a problem. It is only available in 4×4 with a diesel engine. But the price point for the high-roof, 4×4 is $53,925 according to their Build tool. So, it is a little more pricey than the Transit equivalent. 

A white sprinter full-size cargo van on a construction site
2020 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter | MBvans Mercedes-Benz Media

RELATED: Nissan 4×4 Van Is Ready For Overlanding Straight Out Of The Dealer

It is important to note that both of the vehicles were configured upon a cargo van platform. The buildout to convert the van into a mobile shelter, living quarters, or mobile headquarters is additional. That is why some vanlifers that are looking to upgrade into an all-wheel drive or 4×4 platform often wait to buy the vehicle used. That way, the depreciation makes them a little more affordable. 

The age of buying a Transit with all-wheel drive as a new or used vehicle is upon us. The go-almost-anywhere capability will appeal to many, including people that have been waiting for an alternative to the Sprinter van. So, many vanlifers will now be considering their options, and maybe even spring into an overlanding Transit all-wheel drive rig.