Understanding that ‘van-lifers’ and custom upfitters are immediately modifying vans to their specification, Ford has released a new Transit variant that will give customers “an upfit-ready van straight from the factory.”

    The 2023 Ford Transit Trail, currently only available for US customers, is a more off-road and customisation-ready Transit designed to bring the fight to all-wheel drive versions of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.

    Off-roading capabilities are enhanced with the addition of all-wheel drive with five driving modes, plus a ride height increase of 3.5 inches (89mm) and 30.5-inch Goodyear Wrangler Workhorse all-terrain tyres set on 16-inch black alloy wheels.

    The Transit Trail will be available in either medium- and high-roof configurations, plus an extended-length high-roof model.

    The largest provides 13,790L of customisable cargo space and has standing room for people up to 6ft 5in (195cm) tall.

    Ford knows exactly who its market is for this model – ‘van life’ are the first words shown in the promotional video.

    Standard equipment includes privacy glass, a pre-installed roof vent, and four-way swivel seats for driver and passenger.

    Upfitting is encouraged with drillable areas for cabinetry, shelving, and bed area.

    At the front of the cabin, there’s a 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system. This is also being rolled out across the local Transit range for 2023.

    Exterior upgrades include prominent black plastic cladding, a black grille with integrated marker lights, HID headlights, and a skid plate-style front bumper.

    While the base engine in the US-built van range is a naturally aspirated 3.5-litre V6, the Trail comes standard with the Transit’s optional 3.5-litre turbocharged EcoBoost petrol V6 engine. This produces 231kW of power and 542Nm of torque, and is mated with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

    Towing capacity is 2950kg.

    The Transit Trail will be assembled in Missouri and will be open for orders in late 2022, with a starting price of US$65,975 (AU$104,045) – for context, the Transit range in the US opens at US$50,130 (A$79,060).

    “Our decades of experience in the motorhome industry and insights from the van-life community helped us design a vehicle that makes it easier for adventure seekers to start their next journey,” said Ted Cannis, Ford Pro CEO.

    A Trail-badged Transit has been available in the UK since 2020, when it and the Transit Custom Trail were launched.

    It’s a different beast, wearing a tough, Raptor-inspired grille but without many of the features of the US model, and is offered with either front- or all-wheel drive. It has never made the trip to Australia.

    As our Transits are sourced from Turkey and not the US, the new Trail is unlikely to come here.

    However, Ford Australia has shown its commitment to expanding the Transit range locally by announcing the electric e-Transit.

    It’ll arrive in Australia from January 2023, joining the existing diesel line-up.

    MORE: Everything Ford Transit

    Eilidh McNaughton
    Eilidh McNaughton is a Contributor at CarExpert.
    Buy and Lease
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers