Ford has been positioning the Transit van as more than just a cube on wheels, targeting small businesses and large families alike. For 2020, they’re looking to broaden that appeal even further with the addition of all-wheel drive, a couple of new engine choices, and available interior options which focus on passengers instead of cargo.
Starting up front, the 2020 Ford Transit will offer a brace of new powertrains. A 3.5L V6 mill is the new standard gasoline engine, while an optional 2.0L turbocharged inline-four diesel unit is said to be more powerful than the old 3.2L diesel yet offer improved efficiency. Customers can still select a 3.5L EcoBoost gasoline-powered engine, which now includes start-stop tech in a bid to save a teaspoonful of fuel. Both non-diesel engines can be ordered with robust dual 250-amp alternators to provide a power supply for auxiliary equipment.
No matter what engine is installed, it is lashed to Ford’s new 10-speed automatic, a perfectly satisfactory box which is rapidly making its way across much of the Blue Oval lineup. The extra cogs should help with highway fuel efficiency numbers as well.
It is the addition of all-wheel drive which may be the biggest news, however, as it makes Transit one of the few machines serving this segment that has the ability to shunt power to all four wheels. In normal mode, this AWD system monitors and fiddles with torque output, capable of sending up to 100 percent of available torque to the front wheels. Using selectable drive modes, the driver can engage ‘mud’ or ‘slippery’ modes at any speed to help increase the system’s capability for traveling in tough conditions. All-wheel drive is available with either gasoline engine.
Catering to Transit drivers who spend most of their time on the road – but also broadening the van’s appeal to John Q. Public – are the addition of systems like Pre-Collision Assist and pedestrian detection, items that are now standard on every single Transit regardless of trim. Lane keeping and forward collision warning nannies are also standard features.
Passenger versions of the van in XLT trim benefit from the inclusion of Ford’s CoPilot360 safety gear which layers blind spot monitoring on top of the aforementioned driving aids. The blind spot system is smart enough to account for a trailer if one is in tow, something that cannot be said for even some heavy duty trucks on the market.
Updates inside include a center stack that can be optioned with either a standard 4-inch display or a 8-inch touchscreen, each with SYNC technology plus Android Auto or Apple CarPlay compatibility. Optional swivel front seats are available for the first time in response to recreational vehicle customer requests.
It all adds up to a van that no longer appeals to just drywallers and electricians. Given an interior rethink and all-wheel drive, the 2020 Ford Transit stands a great chance of making it onto the shopping list of families and businesses alike.