Ford just announced the Transit Trail, a camper van that’s ready for on- or off-road adventure right out of the box. It starts at $65,975, sends power to all four wheels with a 3.5-liter, twin-turbo V6 and a ten-speed transmission, and gives us a lot of reasons to get excited.
If Instagram and YouTube are any indicators, those of us without a trail-ready adventure vehicle are way behind the times. The trend started with people customizing vans and school buses to create homemade campers. Then came the overlanding craze, with roof racks and knobby tires on everything from Toyota Land Cruisers to Porsche 911s.
There’s one problem with all these vehicles, though: you have to build them. Cutting suspension components, modifying driveline geometry, and drilling holes in the bodywork of a vehicle are risky and can destroy resale value. Ford provides tons of room for customization on the Transit Trail, but the pros handle the heavy lifting, so you can hit the road with confidence.
5/5 It Looks The Part
Van life is nothing new, so it’s about time manufacturers started building vehicles specifically for the off-grid lifestyle. Now, we can choose from the Honda Odyssey for the family, the Volkswagen ID.Buzz for style, and the Transit Trail for camping.
Changes from the Transit platform are more than skin deep. Plastic cladding protects the paint from scratches and dents, but it also widens the body to allow wider tires while remaining compliant with U.S. regulations. Slider-style runners make climbing into the van easier. Powerful HID lights light up the night when streetlights are far behind you. Corner lights make it easier to park, whether you’re stopping at your local REI or wedging your Transit Trail between aspen trees at a national park. Inside, privacy tint doesn’t just protect you from prying eyes; it works with the optional roof vent fan to keep temperatures down.
4/5 Standard Tech Makes Life Easy
Unlike the old one-ton utility vans that you see on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, the Transit Trail has brains to match its brawn. Keypad locks and push-button start let you keep the keys in a safe place — no searching your pockets or losing your keys in a river. Once you’re on the road, adaptive cruise control lets you focus on the journey ahead instead of speeding tickets from every small-town police department along the way.
When it’s time to park this rig, blind-spot monitoring and sensors on the sides and rear of the van will help you look like a pro. Once your campsite is ready, you can tap into the van’s 4G LTE WiFi with up to ten devices.
A lot of features that were optional on the 2022 Transit Adventure Prep Package come standard on the 2023 Transit Trail. They include all-wheel drive, five drive modes, keyless access, and swivel seats. The new model also comes with a long list of optional features. Some of the available upgrades include a roof vent fan, 31-gallon extended-range fuel tank, SYNC 4 infotainment system, 360-degree view camera, and heated leather seats.
3/5 It Has Off-Road Chops
Lots of trucks and SUVs come from the factory with wimpy little street tires, but not the Transit Trail. Ford equipped this adventure van with 30.5-inch Goodyear Wrangler Workhorse all-terrain tires that are 2.5 inches larger in diameter than the Transit’s standard tires and create a track that’s 2.75 inches wider. The ride height is 3.5 inches taller.
The Transit Trail powers all four wheels using Ford’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system. Drive modes for specific terrain include Normal, Eco, Mud/Ruts, Tow/Haul, and Slippery. This is no rock crawler with solid axles and locking differentials, but it will take owners far from the beaten path without making them manually engage four-wheel drive or lock hubs.
2/5 You Can Pay The Pros To Do The Hard Parts
Vans provide a blank canvas for incredible ideas — that’s one of the reasons we love them. They also invite people to get in over their heads with power tools and make costly mistakes. While the Transit Trail still provides a cavernous cabin you can make your own, Ford will take care of the more technical jobs.
Big upgrades aren’t limited to the increased ride height and larger tires. The Transit Trail comes standard with a fuse box and 400-watt AC inverter, and plenty of outlets to charge your electronics. Ford also offers options like dual alternators for extra electricity and faster charging. Drillable areas let you build the interior your way without compromising the vehicle’s structure.
1/5 It’s Priced To Sell
What really sets the Transit Trail apart from more extreme adventure vans is the price. Starting at $65,975, this van is more attainable than a lot of new camper vans. It also benefits from Ford’s support network of 3,000 dealerships in the U.S., including 650 commercial service centers and more than 800 mobile service vans.
That’s still a lot more expensive than an at-home van conversion, but it comes with a three-year, 36,000-mile warranty. We’d also feel better knowing the van came from Ford instead of us, a few buddies, and YouTube tutorials.