- Ford is beefing up the fixed Transit van lineup for 2023 with the Transit Trail, a purpose-built base that’s ready to be outfitted for camper duty.
- The Transit Trail comes with several camper-specific features like an on-board inverter and a fuse panel that allow DIY enthusiasts to get right to work on the fun parts of building a home on wheels.
- A growing number of rebuilding companies will also be able to customize the Transit to your desired specifications, but Ford’s engineering of the mechanical bits means those items are covered under the factory warranty and serviced at any Ford service center.
Ford’s commercial pickups have always been a bit of a blank slate, even when they were called Econolines, spawning countless variants over the years and providing customizers with a canvas on which to create any vehicle that suited their needs. . The modern-day Transit is no different, and Ford is making it easier for buyers wandering down the path of nomadic van life with the 2023 Transit Trail.
Essentially a factory-built camper base, the Transit Trail comes with key elements that vanning enthusiasts want, such as swiveling front seats, an on-board AC converter, an overcab storage compartment, dual alternators and a fuse panel, all backed by Ford’s warranty .
Ford says these are the mechanical bits that do-it-yourselfers may not want to deal with, and offering these items direct from the factory can serve to speed up their builds, allowing them to focus on the fun stuff, like finishing the interior with their Instagram-worthy touches.
Of course, not everyone is in the mood for an interior build-out either, which is why Ford is also allocating some of the Transit Trail’s production run to businesses in the growing cottage industry of van make-up and customization. The one shown here was outfitted by Van-Do-It of Kansas City and features a cozy bed, overhead storage cabinets, and a kitchenette with a sink.
To provide adventure seekers with additional capabilities, the Transit Trail features a raised suspension and 30.5-inch all-terrain tires that together increase the van’s ride height by 3.5 inches. That added ground clearance should come in handy for getting to more off-the-beaten-path campsites, and all Transit Trail models will also come standard with all-wheel drive.
For 2023, the Transit van lineup can be ordered with an optional 12.0-inch infotainment touchscreen instead of the 8.0-inch screen that was the upgraded screen on last year’s model. Ford’s latest Sync 4 infotainment software also joins the party. While the larger 12.0-inch screen is optional on base Transit models, the Transit Trail gets it as standard. The camper-ready van also comes with driver assistance features integrated into the design, including blind spot monitoring, parking sensors and adaptive cruise control.
While the regular Transit van is also offered with a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6, the Trail will only come with the turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, which produces 310 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque ; A 10-speed automatic serves as the Transit Trail’s transmission. Ford says the Transit Trail can tow up to 6,500 pounds and carries a 9,000-pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR).
Extras sold separately
Ford isn’t the only company aiming to capitalize on the popular #VanLife movement. RV manufacturer Airstream recently introduced its new Rangeline camper, which is based on the Ram Promaster van. Unlike the Ford, the Airstream van comes straight from Airstream’s factory with a fully stocked interior, and it also costs a pretty penny with a starting price of $150,270.
That context makes the Transit route seem like the deal of the century, but once you factor in the cost of the interior build-out, the picture looks less rosy. Transit Trail buyers looking to get in on the cheapest are likely to find the DIY route, which also comes with endless options for customization — something a turnkey solution like the Airstream or a prefab van from a better lack — but even so there are significant costs associated with either method.
Buyers can choose from either long or extended body lengths, and the Transit Trail can be had in either mid- or high-roof styles, the latter of which is only available on the extended body model. The entry price for the Transit Trail is a hefty $67,770, and the total build price goes up from there when you factor in the cost of decorating the living space of your nomadic dreams—it’ll be easy to get into six figures with even basic outfit . By comparison, the regular 2023 Transit wagon starts at $45,250.
Order books open today for the Transit Trail, and if your vision board calls for a vagabond lifestyle, call your Ford dealer soon. Ford says supplies will be limited for the 2023 Transit Trail and dealers will vie for allocation alongside numerous RV customizers.
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