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Ford Offers All-Wheel-Drive Transit Van


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Paul Clinton, Heavy Duty Trucking  /  March 5, 2019

Ford's Transit full-size van will enter the 2020 model year with a heavy refresh that adds an available all-wheel-drive system, two new engine choices, and a 10-speed automatic transmission, as well as new interiors and seating options for the passenger model, Ford announced at the Work Truck Show.

This update is the most significant since Ford introduced the globally-sold Transit to North America for the 2015 model year.

An all-wheel drive full-size cargo van offers benefits to several fleet customers, including package delivery services that need help reaching rural addresses or need to operate in challenging weather. It would also help construction fleets on dirt or muddy job sites. Utility fleets could use the additional traction to reach powerlines or more remote addresses for telecommunications service installations.

"Our 2020 Transit answers the demand in the market for a capable, all-wheel-drive full size van to help our commercial customers get the job done in challenging driving conditions," said Tiffany Chang, Transit brand manager. "In cold-weather markets where snow or slippage can slow things down, commercial fleet applications such as package delivery services, shuttle services or mobility services need reliable performance to stay in business."

Government or military users could use it to reach training areas with unpaved roads or food service missions to deliver goods to people in rural areas. The passenger variant could help shuttles services that need to pick people up at ski resorts or hospital shuttles that operate in cold weather conditions.

Fleets and commercial users who operate in areas of the country with inclement weather can now purchase an all-wheel-drive model that doesn't raise the load floor or seat height, according to Ray Eyles, the Transit's chief program engineer. The model will compete with the 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 as the only other all-wheel-drive van from the factory.

"We integrated Transit's new all-wheel-drive system into the vehicle design early on, making this van configuration as easy to enter and exit as the standard rear-wheel-drive model," Eyles said. "This is a significant benefit for commercial drivers who are in and out of their vehicles dozens of times a day, as well as for shuttle bus passengers and families."

Ford revamped the engine lineup with a new standard 3.5-liter gasoline V-6 and 2.0-liter bi-turbo inline-four diesel. The 3.5-liter V-6 will provide greater efficiency than the 3.7-liter V-6 it replaces, while the new diesel engine offers more power and torque than the outgoing 3.2-liter inline-five diesel it replaces. The carryover 3.5-liter turbocharged gasoline V-6 adds automatic stop-start.

The engines deliver power though Ford's 10-speed transmission, which will improve fuel economy. Because the vans have a GVWR above 10,000 pounds, Ford isn't required to release fuel economy ratings.

The Transit's chassis cab and cutaway models have also been updated so they're now rated at a maximum GVWR of 11,000 pounds from the 10,360 GVWR of the outgoing models.

The Transit is also adding an array of driver-assisting features such as pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, post-collision braking, a lane keeping system, and automatic high beam headlights. The Transit XLT passenger van is equipped with Ford's Co-Pilot360, which includes these features and adds a blind spot alert with trailer coverage and cross-traffic alert. A new side sensing system joins the existing reverse sensing system as standard on XLT.

The 2020 Transit is a more connected vehicle, as Ford will offer an embedded FordPass Connect modem with a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot to connect up to 10 devices.

Commercial buyers can add Ford Telematics or Ford Data Services, which offer features such as live GPS tracking with order-to-delivery status, geofencing with alerts, and key performance indicators. Fuel waste reporting helps identify ways to save costs, and the telematics system suggests coaching opportunities to increase efficiency, reduce waste, and reveal concerns such as seatbelt use or speed compliance. Managers can receive maintenance notifications and vehicle health alerts.


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