With Ford discontinuing the sale of all but two car models in the U.S. to focus on crossovers, SUVs, trucks, and commercial vehicles, it only makes sense for the automaker to give its large Transit van a fresh face. Spy photographers caught the lightly-camouflaged Transit in Dearborn, Michigan, the heart of Ford’s R&D.

The changes Ford is making to the 2019 Transit are minimal – about as minimal as you can do for a facelift. There’s a new front clip with a revised grille that now has a more aggressive shape than the outgoing model. Fog lights are now added down below, and the headlights receive a modest update. The new bumper will allow for the addition of the radars and sensors needed for the parking assist and cruise control functions. And that’s it for updates. The rear end remains unchanged with its massive doors.

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The more significant changes likely lie under the hood. The 2019 Transit is expected to receive the turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 paired with the 10-speed automatic transmission, which will give the large cargo hauler better fuel economy and better performance. The turbo V6 won’t be the only engine option – expect a less powerful V6 and five-cylinder diesel to carry over into the new model year.

The key to the Transit’s success is its varied configurations. Ford offers the van in two wheelbases, with the choice of three lengths and three different roof heights. Customers can choose between carrying cargo or passengers along with picking from three different engine choices. All those combinations will likely continue into the 2019 model year unchanged.

The 2019 Ford Transit is, at its core, a work vehicle. The update adds a few new features, gives the van a fresh look, and the new powertrain combines more power with efficiency. Those looking for a workhorse should be delighted the updates Ford is making to the van.

Photos: Automedia

Gallery: 2019 Ford Transit Spy Photos

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