2021 Ford Transit Designed for Business AND Pleasure

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
2021 ford transit designed for business and pleasure

While van sales have been trending downward for years, the likelihood of your average American being forced to live inside one feels like it should be higher than ever. But deciding which model is best for living out the rest of your days in relative isolation isn’t going to be easy. Realizing that there’s a growing demand for escape vehicles and regular old RVs, automakers and coachbuilders have been trying to make the market more accommodating.

On Tuesday, Ford Motor Co. threw its hat into the ring by announcing that the 2021 Transit would be adding new “recreational and business options” to help get customers the kind of vehicles they need to get through these difficult times.

“With many Americans working from home and practicing social distancing during the pandemic, the popularity of recreational vehicles has soared at the same time package delivery has seen incredible growth,” explained Tiffany Chang, Ford fleet brand strategy manager. “Our new 2021 Transit options help people design the recreational vehicles of their dreams and help enable our commercial customers to more efficiently deliver goods and services across the country.”

Even though my personal tastes tend to revolve around brutish oversized sedans and sprightly little hatchbacks, the van is the only vehicle type I’ll recognize as truly divine. It is all things to all people, catering to both rich and poor. For 2021, the Transit (arguably Ford’s best and most-practical product) gets three new packages designed for leisurely hiding out in the woods and two for work purposes.

All bundles utilize Ford’s 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 for propulsion. While normally used to confidently haul around several thousand pounds of cargo, the unit’s 310 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque can transform an unloaded vehicle into something that’s actually fun to fool around in. The Transit Motorhome Prep Package prioritizes the van’s practical nature, however, by adding adaptive cruise control and an (optional) economy-minded version of the 3.5-liter V6. Blue Oval says this is the ideal option for those planning on turning the interior of their van into a secondary home, tying it to the Ford Transit Cutaway.

The RV Prep Package also includes adaptive cruise control but adds a side-sensing system, upgraded heavy-duty towing capabilities, fog lights, swiveling front seats, and an upgraded sound system. This one is more for recreational purposes so it’s only available on the Transit Cargo.

Those hoping to get way out into the boonies may want to consider the Adventure Prep Package. Offered on both the cargo and crew versions, customers get all-wheel drive, 3.73:1 limited-slip rear differential, adaptive cruise control, reverse and side-sensing systems, privacy glass, blind-spot monitoring, an 8-inch touchscreen with Ford’s SYNC 3, extra USB ports, and more advanced batteries.

While the work-focused packages are substantially less interesting, we can see delivery companies taking advantage as local shops continue to wither like worms in the sun. The Parcel Delivery Package adds 50/50 hinged rear doors and ditches frontal armrests and manual handbrake (for an electronic one) to make trips into the back a little easier. Customers also receive full interior lighting to help them sort through packages after sundown. Optional extras include additional shelving and a center console with a right-side shifter that “further improves walkthrough and offers more than 7 inches of additional driver legroom.”

The Livery Package is our final equipment bundle and seems to cater to corporations needing to chauffeur around important customers. Available on the Transit Passenger XLT, the Livery Package includes 10-way power seats “finished in ebony leather seating surfaces for all passengers,” HID headlamps, power sliding side door, privacy glass, and 16-inch silver wheels.

Ford said production of the 2021 Transit would be commencing at its Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Missouri, this fall. Deliveries should begin shortly, with all models sporting the van’s brand new honeycomb grille.

[Images: Ford Motor Co.]

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  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Oct 16, 2020

    I like the new grille. They need to get rid of the driveshaft flexible couplings ("guibos") and switch to u-joints. I've seen lots of pictures of destroyed guibos in Transits, and the collateral damage they sometimes cause.

    • RHD RHD on Oct 20, 2020

      There is a recall on those, and Ford will replace them free every 36,000 miles for as long as the van is on the road. I just finished a 1300 mile road trip in a Transit van. It's surprisingly comfortable to drive, and not bad on fuel when cruising on the highway. The downside is the high center of gravity when loaded, and it's affected by crosswinds because of the height.

  • Watersketch Watersketch on Oct 17, 2020

    I dont like em much but our fleet guy loves them. I guess the Transits are significantly less expensive and more reliable than the diesels we had before.

  • Bobbysirhan The Pulitzer Center that collaborated with PBS in 'reporting' this story is behind the 1619 Project.
  • Bobbysirhan Engines are important.
  • Hunter Ah California. They've been praying for water for years, and now that it's here they don't know what to do with it.
  • FreedMike I think this illustrates a bit of Truth About PHEVs: it's hard to see where they "fit." On paper, they make sense because they're the "best of both worlds." Yes, if you commute 20-30 miles a day, you can generally make it on electric power only, and yes, if you're on a 500-mile road trip, you don't have to worry about range. But what percentage of buyers has a 20-mile commute, or takes 500-mile road trips? Meanwhile, PHEVs are more expensive than hybrids, and generally don't offer the performance of a BEV (though the RAV4 PHEV is a first class sleeper). Seems this propulsion type "works" for a fairly narrow slice of buyers, which explains why PHEV sales haven't been all that great. Speaking for my own situation only, assuming I had a place to plug in every night, and wanted something that ran on as little gas as possible, I'd just "go electric" - I'm a speed nut, and when it comes to going fast, EVs are awfully hard to beat. If I was into hypermiling, I'd just go with a hybrid. Of course, your situation might vary, and if a PHEV fits it, then by all means, buy one. But the market failure of PHEVs tells me they don't really fit a lot of buyers' situations. Perhaps that will change as charging infrastructure gets built out, but I just don't see a lot of growth in PHEVs.
  • Kwik_Shift Thank you for this. I always wanted get involved with racing, but nothing happening locally.