Tips, Tricks & Trends

The Ford Transit Trail Gives the Van a Little Bit of Raptor

Whether it’s on an F-150 or a Bronco, a Ford with a ‘Raptor’ badge means business when it comes to off-roading. Up until now, despite RV conversions and newly-available AWD, the Ford Transit has been a bit behind Mercedes’ Sprinter in terms of going off-pavement. The new Ford Transit Trail aims to correct that. It’s not quite a Ford Raptor van, but it might be the next best thing.

2020 Ford Transit Trail specs and features

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

The 2020 Ford Transit Trail isn’t meant to be a hard-core off-roader, Autoblog reports. Despite the Raptor-like grille, the new Transit trim is closer to Ford’s FX4-equipped vehicles. However, it does come with more hardware than the standard full-size and smaller Custom (‘Connect’ in the US) models.

RELATED: Why Is #Vanlife So Popular?

Although the Custom/Connect doesn’t have AWD, the Trail trim does add a limited-slip differential. The full-size Ford Transit Trail, meanwhile, gets some additional settings for its AWD system. These include Mud/Rut and AWD Lock; the latter splits power 50:50 front-to-back for better grip in slippery conditions.

Other trim-specific modifications include black body cladding, a few extra ‘Trail’ badges, and unique 16” alloy wheels. The Ford Transit Trail also gets leather upholstery, which Motor1 reports is ‘wipe-down.’ It’s not quite hose-down like the Jeep Wrangler’s interior is, but it is a helpful touch if you track mud inside.

Unfortunately, rather like the Ford Ranger Raptor, there’s a bit of an issue with US availability.

Pricing and availability

2020 Ford Transit Cargo Van
2020 Ford Transit Cargo Van | Ford

RELATED: Avoid these Ford Transit Model Years They Have the Worst Problems

As of this writing, Ford doesn’t officially have plans to offer the Transit Trail models in the US. Complicating matters is that, while the US-market Transit only comes with a V6, the UK only sells it as a diesel or hybrid. The smaller UK-model Transit Connect does have a gasoline engine, but it’s only a 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder.

2019 Ford Ranger
2019 Ford Ranger | Ford

However, Car and Driver reports that doesn’t mean the van couldn’t still eventually make it over here. After all, the US didn’t get the Ranger until after the truck received a mid-cycle refresh. Plus, in the UK, the Ford Transit is only now getting AWD with the Trail trim.

In the UK, Ford Transit Trail deliveries will start in late summer 2020. The full-size AWD models start at the equivalent of $44,900. That’s a roughly $6000 upcharge over a base FWD diesel Transit.

Fortunately, there are ways of making your own Ford Transit Trail. Including some ways of one-upping it.

Making your own off-road US-market Ford Transit

For one, as Autoblog reports, most of the Trail’s upgrades over the standard Transit are cosmetic. Theoretically, you could order and fit the UK-market grille and wheels to your own AWD van. But if you do want to make something like a Transit Raptor, there are a few other options available.

White 2018 Ford Transit equipped with Agile OffRoad's lift kit, side view
2018 Ford Transit equipped with Agile OffRoad’s lift kit | Agile OffRoad

The Trail trim doesn’t add any additional ride height to the Transit. However, for $1500, you can fit your van with Agile OffRoad’s lift kit. As of this writing, it’s not available on the AWD models. However, the kit adds 2” of ground clearance and 3” of ride height thanks to new control arms, spacers, and blocks.

RELATED: Car Camping Essentials

If you plan on going overlanding, and not just off-roading, it’s also possible to turn your Ford Transit into a camper van, Motor1 reports. Tiny-home company Molecule Tiny Homes offers camper van conversions ranging from $25,000-$48,000. You can fit options like a full-size shower, compost toilet, solar panels, water tanks, even a wood-burning fireplace.

RELATED: Go Beyond the Pavement With This Overland SEMA Ford Expedition

Van Do It offers a similar conversion for the Ford Transit. However, the Missouri-based company’s builds go one step beyond just offering things like ladders, showers, and rooftop tents. As part of a partnership with Quigley 4×4, you can give your Transit genuine 4WD. Or, if you prefer, you can buy the conversion directly from Quigley.

The 4×4 conversion includes a 2-speed Magna transfer case, several F-Series truck suspension components, and an extra 2” of ride height. Plus, because the conversion uses Ford parts, the Transit keeps its factory warranty.

Follow more updates from MotorBiscuit on our Facebook page.