By on March 5, 2019

Ford is sexing up its sexiest vehicle, the Transit van, for the 2020 model year with a bevy of new powertrain options and added safety tech. Two new engines are a base 3.5-liter V6 and a 2.0-liter EcoBlue bi-turbo diesel four. Thanks to direct-and-port injection, Ford claims the V6 PFDi will offer greater efficiency than the 3.7-liter unit it replaces. Meanwhile, the hard-working 2.0 liter will do the same while offering improved power and torque against the outgoing 3.2-liter diesel.

The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 will persist as the preferred option for getaway drivers and thrill-seeking plumbers. All models will come with Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission, with gasoline models (including the beastly EcoBoost) having the option of all-wheel drive. 

While you’re no doubt chomping at the bit to hear about the output of these new engines, you’ll have have to wait. Ford plans to release power ratings for the engines and pricing information sometime before the launch — which is scheduled for the fall.

What isn’t being kept a secret is the new tech the automaker plans to bake into the 2020 Transit as standard equipment. Cargo and passenger versions of the van receive pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, post-collision braking, lane-keeping, and auto high-beam headlamps. Ford Co-Pilot360 will be offered as standard on the XLT trim, adding blind spot monitoring with trailer coverage and an upgraded version of cross-traffic alert.

Additional options include active park assist (allowing the vehicle to navigate itself into and out of tight spots while you work the pedals), adaptive cruise control, front and rear split-view camera, and an adjustable speed-limiting device for fleet managers or incredibly nervous parents handing the keys over to a new driver.

The new Transit also comes with FordPass Connect embedded, allowing for the vehicle to serve as a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 10 devices (with USB charging points throughout the cabin) and/or perform as a fleet vehicle utilizing Ford’s new data services. Ford Telematics and Ford Data Services allow business owners to keep a downright dystopian eye on their employees — displaying information regarding fuel economy, GPS location, seatbelt use, and speed compliance to the management team while Ford advises on how to best improve fleet-wide efficiency.

There’s also a minor visual refresh for the 2020 model year. Take a close look and you’ll see that the Transit has a new grille (which varies between trims) and gently redesigned fascia. Extra-fancy LED headlamps have also been added, but those remain optional.

On our way to the interior, Ford provided an available power sliding door to make entry less taxing. Once there, Ford promises that passengers will find upgraded materials and better ergonomics everywhere, while the driver enjoys a revised dashboard.

While we can’t see much of a difference on that front, the Transit still has the cupholder situation locked down. Knowing you can still have immediate access to no less than four separate beverages should be praise enough. And, if you’ve a mind to share those drinks, the 2020 Ford Transit can be equipped with optional swivel front seats. Just don’t use them while in motion.

Expect more information and pricing from the manufacturer in the months to come.

[Images: Ford Motor Co.]

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35 Comments on “New Engines and All-wheel Drive Coming to 2020 Ford Transit...”

  • avatar

    “The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 will persist as the preferred option for getaway drivers and thrill-seeking plumbers.”

    Normally I roll my eyes when TTAC writers get cute, but that made me laugh.

  • avatar

    They certainly didn’t source that photo guy from Rent-A-Runt “Embiggen You Product With Us” modelling agency.

  • avatar

    AWD is going to be HUGE with the folks building aftermarket and DIY camper conversions.

    • 0 avatar


      Delivery drivers/companies in the snow belt as well, if it proves reliable.

    • 0 avatar

      Yep, although I will say the fly in the ointment with the Transits are their incredibly low hanging rear shocks. I understand that they wanted to achieve a low floor with a solid rear axle and something had to give, but boy does that look like a liability on anything approaching “off the beaten path.”

    • 0 avatar

      Yep.. I was about to pull the trigger on a 2019 4×4 Sprinter – but the darn thing costs 60K with decent features on the passenger model. I expect the Ford to be a much better value – especially on the lower trim levels so I’ll wait.

  • avatar


    the Sprinter AWD is in very short supply for products like the Revel

  • avatar

    AWD and a V6 is going to make this vehicle very interesting and not just to plumbers

  • avatar

    You forgot to mention that there’s also going to be a Crew version that offers a second row (with side air bags) and cargo area behind it. That’s going to be super useful.

    • 0 avatar

      Finally, someone closed the loop and built the optimal blend of the Minivan everyone needs to drive, the awd crossover everyone wants to drive, and the crewcab truck everyone wants/needs to be seen driving…

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Mercedes-Benz has had a Crew Sprinter for years…and you can get it with the diesel and 4×4 combo.

        I suspect the Transit, however, will cost less to buy and to own.

    • 0 avatar

      It is about time they brought the Crew Wagon to the Transit, they had it on the E-series for a number of years.

  • avatar

    Any information on how AWD is accomplished? I am not up to verse on these but knowing you can get DRW options it must be a traditional RWD longitudinal drivetrain. Why Ford chooses to design an entirely different architecture with entirely different engine options from its trucks makes zero sense. Seeing as Ford makes zero sense to begin with, is this going to be a full time AWD option with IFS? SFA?

    I certainly hope it’s not some clutch based slip and grip, every one of those systems we see in crossovers suck beyond imagination.

    • 0 avatar

      Well on Fords if they call it AWD then it will be an automatic clutch style system. However the primary mode is likely to be a Gas and Go, not a slip then grip. I’m certain it will have an IFS.

    • 0 avatar

      I doubt Ford is doing anything other than reaching into the 2020 parts bin.

      I’ve been reading up on the 2020 PHEV Ford’s, like the F-150, the Explorer, and the Mustang. These vehicles will use Ford’s “modular 10-speed transmission” which supports AWD. What makes it modular is that this transmission can be configured to be a regular auto, or a hybrid (because the gearbox is the core of a hybrid vehicle, and the engine is the peripheral). Maybe they just bolt a hybrid power-split-device module between the transmission and the engine to make a PHEV?

      With that in the parts bin, putting the “modular 10-speed transmission” into all the things would be a no brainier.

      But, this is just me reading between the lines on Does PHEV articles. It’s all guesswork. But, if I’m close to the truth, I like where Ford is going with this.

      Yes, the Pacifica Hybrid is also an option. But Ford’s options could be much more capable.

    • 0 avatar
      Ce he sin

      Assuming that it’s the same system that’s been available in the Transit since the mid 2000s, it’s like this:

      Drive is taken off the transmission main shaft via a helical gear set towards the front differential. A system of mechanical multiplate clutches combined with an hydraulic freewheel mechanism feeds power forward when required.

    • 0 avatar

      So in the mechanical sense this is not a true 60/40 AWD is what I’m gathering from these responses. Kinda disappointing, I would have expected a work vehicle to have a transfer case and send the appropriate 60/40 split at all times.

  • avatar

    Glued on tablet. How original…

  • avatar

    I would still like to know what’s keeping the tow rating down on these things. The payload rating, powertrain, wheelbase, and curb weight are all in league with a pickup at the top end of the 1/2-ton class and nearly to 3/4-ton class. Yet passenger Transits top out at 5100 lb tow rating. What gives?

    • 0 avatar

      They force an economical 3.31 axle ratio on the top Transit engine choices. Most buyers, especially fleet/commercial, buy a van to avoid towing anyway. Rarely can hired drivers drive a stick, let alone back a trailer.

      • 0 avatar

        Ford’s Build & Price lets you spec a 3.5 Ecoboost Transit Passenger with a 3.73 axle. The Ford RV & Trailer towing guide shows the identical GCWR with both axle ratios. A Cargo van with the 3.73 ratio gets a higher GCWR and thus a higher tow rating.

        Max trailer weight is usually calculated by the OEMs as GCWR (combined vehicle and trailer gross) minus Curb Weight with some allowance for driver weight. Cargo vans thus get higher tow ratings because they assume passenger vans will have all seating fitted and have a higher curb weight.

        GMs old vans can tow 9600/10,000 lbs depending on which website you look at. The Nissan van can tow almost 9000 lbs. By the time you peer through the fog to figure out what a Sprinter tows it’ll either have bankrupted you or rusted away.

    • 0 avatar

      The trucks are body on frame, and I believe the Transits are unibody.

      • 0 avatar

        They are indeed, but I’d expect somewhat higher tow ratings now with the improved powertrains (including the 10 speed automatic).

      • 0 avatar

        “The trucks are body on frame, and I believe the Transits are unibody.”

        I don’t think the this is the key differentiator here.

        This is a drivetrain, not a frame. You can mount it on anything from a boat to a jet fighter, if the correct interface is provided. The difference between a uniboey and a BOF aren’t going to matter much, if the hardpoints/interface is well thought out.

        All of the vehicles I mentioned are longitudinal RWD/AWD, regardless of whether the frame is integrated into the body. The list is: F-150, Explorer, Mustang, and now Transit. These vehicles have a longitudinal drivetrain layout in common, along with roughly the same horsepower needs.

        My guess is that there’s enough commonality between the vehicles, and enough time to figure out the integration, that the BOF/unibody differences aren’t going to limit them.

        All of the the vehicles which appear to be using the “modular 10-speed” system ARE logitudinal. I haven’t seen any vehicles with a transverse engine mount doing anything like this from Ford.

        (Ford has done several transverse hybrids / PHEVs before successfully, but I haven’t heard of the hybrid and conventional drivetrains sharing most of their parts before.)

        • 0 avatar
          Ce he sin

          Just to thicken the plot somewhat the Transit is made with both transverse (for fwd) and longitudinal (for rwd and 4wd) engines, thus making it one of few vehicles with the full range of drive possibilities available. The 10 speed is obviously only going to longitudinal versions.

  • avatar

    Give me the 8 passenger low roof 150 EcoBoost 3.5 AWD with nice cargo area behind the last passenger row.

    Do I need it? Not really. It’s just an insane alternative to all other multi row people haulers.

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