The North American market still misses out on some amazing cars. Ford chose not to bring the previous-generation Ranger Raptor to the US, something the company will rectify with the new model. US consumers may soon also get to enjoy a beefed-up Transit van if a new batch of spy shots indicates Ford’s decision to bring it here. Our photographers caught the van testing in Michigan.
The van is called the Transit Trail, and it’s only available in Europe for now. While vans haven’t reclaimed their place in the pantheon of family vehicles, vans are popular with outdoor enthusiasts and campers. Camper vans and other conversions are quite popular, and the Transit Trail might be Ford’s effort to capitalize on that trend.
Gallery: Ford Transit Trail Spy Photos
In Europe, Ford offers the Transit Trail with a diesel engine, which won’t make it on the US version. A pair of exhaust tips poking out the back, absent on the European diesel model, indicate that this van will have a different powertrain. However, it’s unclear what it is. The Transit in the US uses either a 3.5-liter or a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, but don’t let the brawny, bold Raptor-inspired FORD grille trick you into thinking something beefier will end up there. We expect the engine options to remain unchanged.
What will change, aside from the tougher grille, are minor things. The Transit Trail mostly receives visual upgrades, but Ford also offers its “intelligent” all-wheel-drive system that can send up to 50 percent of the power to the front wheels. One-hundred percent of the power typically hits the rears. Ford also gave the van a new limited-slip differential and a tweaked traction control system.
There’s no indication if Ford will launch the Transit Trail in the US, but spotting on Michigan roads is a good sign. Vans aren’t as popular as they used to be, but it seems like more people than ever understand and respect their utility. A beefy Transit Trail version would make for a compelling camper van conversion.