Ford Building Transit Camper Van With Off-Road Capability

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
ford buidling transit camper van with off road capability

There are two types of people in this world, those that dislike vans and those who have come to the realization that they’re probably the most versatile vehicles money can buy. While vans may not be ideal for every single situation, they can slot into just about any application with a level of ease other vehicles could only dream of. But there are super specialized variants, with converted campers being among the most popular.

Following the stacking hardships the world has been forced to endure these last few years, camper vans have made a serious comeback and companies are popping up everywhere to cash in on the phenomenon by customizing favored models. Among these is the Ford Transit. However, the Blue Oval seems to have grown tired of referring customers to aftermarket firms that’ll do the work and recently teased a factory camper that seems like it may even do some off-road work. 

On Wednesday, CEO of Ford Pro Ted Cannis tweeted a video showing a Transit parked in the woods. Shot at dawn, the clip was intentionally dark to obscure some of the details. But we can clearly see a set of all-terrain tires and some additional exterior lightning that helps sell the model as an ORV. 

Considering there’s already the Transit Trail van Ford developed for the European market – which comes with all-wheel drive and a mechanical limited-slip differential – the model should be better at tackling treacherous terrain than the standard version. But most testing has shown the Trail to be several steps behind serious custom off-road vehicles while being much easier to live with on the highway than something that’s been lifted a few more inches and issued the most hardcore tires imaginable. 

Frankly, that sounds like it’ll make for a more comprehensive recreational vehicle for the average adventurer. Though the latest trends have been all about building up a van that looks purpose-built to survive the apocalypse, rather than something that’s designed to get the family to Yellowstone National Park in relative comfort. We don’t know how “hardcore” Ford plans on going with the Transit Trail Camper. But it might be in its best interest to lean into the theme while offering loads of optional extras some customers will feel they cannot do without. 

Sure, you might not need a ladder to help you get up to the optional roof rack with an integrated light bar. But you’ll probably want all that stuff if you’re in the market for a vehicle light this and Ford might as well try to sell it to you because everyone else already is. 

Ford has only confirmed that the model will debut this November and offer "interior and exterior enhancements providing do-it-yourselfers and motorhome distributors a turnkey canvas from the factory.” While that sounds more-or-less like what the automaker was already offering the public, it looks like Ford is getting more involved in the overall process and focusing on something a little more trail focused. Adding foldaway beds, sinks, and dining areas may not be at the top of Ford’s list just yet, however. 

It’s also incredibly unlikely that the model we’ll get in the U.S. will be identical to the European Transit Trail. North Americans tend to prefer larger vehicles utilizing heftier powertrains, so odds are good that Ford will nix the 2.0-liter diesel found across the pond and go with the 250 (or larger) cargo trim as a base. Look for the standard 3.5-liter V6 and/or twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost to be installed beneath the hood. 

An electrified model is also possible, though it’s a little early to assume anything. In fact, the only other prediction we can realistically make (based on manufacturer assurances) is that assembly should take place at Ford’s van plant in Kansas City, Missouri. But we should learn a lot more about the camper van (template?) next month.

[Images: Ford Motor Co.]

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3 of 27 comments
  • El scotto El scotto on Oct 16, 2022

    @ EBFlex. Yes, it does. I don't tow, need to drive to animal hunting country, or haul several hundred pounds of farm/construction supplies at this point in my life. I do need something that fits in a parking garage and has open storage for dirty boots/wet waders/the fish or shrimp cooler, and an occasional IKEA run.

    What turns me off is my local Ford Dealers switcheroo; No Sir, we don't have any NEW Mavericks in stock. We have three used ones in stock with only 200 miles on them. A NEW Bronco? Same situation sir. No Sir, 50% above sticker price is the (our) corrected Local Market Adjustment.

    The B&B are a flint-eyed, nerves-of-steel, ultra-thrifty bunch. Here's a possible QOTD of the day, two possible QOTDs: 1. Which dealer has upset you the most with outrageous (see above) corrected Local Market Adjustments? 2. For the same price as the corrected Local Market Adjustments, did you buy something else?

    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Oct 17, 2022

      @El scotto - local Ford dealer adds 15% to all new vehicles. All of the local dealers sell 3 year old or newer stuff at brand new pricing.

  • El scotto El scotto on Oct 16, 2022

    Next on the Grand Tour: A Man in a Van in the Woods!

  • MelanieRichardson GOOD
  • El scotto @jwee; Sir, a great many of us believe that Musk is somewhere (pretty high) on the spectrum and move on.I work on the fringes of IT. Most of my presentations get picked over extensively and intensely at meetings. I'm smart enough to know I'm not that smart and willingly take advice from the IT crew. I bring them Duck Doughnuts too. We also keep a box of Crayolas in the meeting room.At one meeting an IT guy got way into the details of my presentation, the meeting went long as we discussed my target audience. Same IT guy insisted it was a disaster and would fail miserable and that I was stupid. Yeah, F-boms get dropped at our meetings. I finally had enough and asked if he was such an expert, did he want to stand up in front of 30 senior executives and give the presentation? His response was a flat "NO". He got the box of Crayolas. For you non-military types that means shut up and color. Musk is the same as that IT guy, lots of gyrations but not much on follow-through. Someone just needs to hand him a box of Crayolas.
  • FreedMike The FJ Cruiser would be a better comeback candidate. The gang back at Toyota HQ must be looking at all those Broncos flying off Ford lots and kicking themselves.
  • Tassos 2015 was only 7 years ago. $58k is still a whole lot of $ to pay for a vehicle. FOrtunately one can buy a flagship vehicle with great active and passive safety for half this amount, if one does the SMART thing and buys a pre-owned luxury flagship vehicle. they have historically been SCREAMING BARGAINS. A breadvan on stilts SUV, wether the more compact Macan or the more bloated Cayenne will never pass as a Flagship Vehicle. No matter how well it drives or how reliable it suprisingly is. It still is a breadvan on stilts.
  • Sean Ohsee Bring back the 100 series and its I6 diesel.