- Worried about side winds?
- These vans come with tech to help you
- Full list of models, plus how it works
If you've been out and about in your van during stormy weather, you’ll have noticed that big, tall, slab-sided vehicles don’t like strong winds very much. Fortunately, technology has the solution.
Several van manufacturers now offer crosswind and side wind assistance systems, specifically designed to compensate for this kind of weather.
This tech is particularly important on large vans, but an increasing number of medium-sized vans are starting to become available with it as well.
The video below gives a brief explanation of how some of these systems operate, but note that not all are the same.
Here we’ve listed every van available with crosswind compensation right now, and explained how the different systems work.
The technology only comes on more recently introduced vans, as you might expect, so it’s not a huge list yet. But we’ll certainly be seeing more of it in years to come.
Keep reading for the full list of vans fitted with side wind assistance technology.
Ford Transit and Transit Custom – Side Wind Stabilisation
Ford’s Side Wind Stabilisation was introduced alongside the 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engine in mid-2016, and is now fitted as standard equipment on all Transits and Transit Customs.
Ford developed the system in-house, and it works by ‘carefully’ applying the brakes on one side of the van, helping you to keep it in lane. It’s automatically activated at speeds of 50mph and above, and can react within 200 milliseconds. That’s apparently the time it takes a sprinter to react to a starting pistol.
Side Wind Stabilisation was tested on a special test track equipped with fans capable of generating gusts up to 50mph, as well as on public roads in real windy conditions. The sensors that control the system are monitored 100 times a second.
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Vito – Crosswind Assist
Talking of sprinters – Mercedes’ large van of the same name was the first van of any kind to offer a side wind stability system. Called Crosswind Assist, it launched in 2013 and was extended to more models in the range in 2014.
This has continued into the all-new Sprinter range (above) introduced in 2018, where it is fitted as standard on panel van models. The Crosswind Assist on this latest version acts via the steering (as with the VW Crafter below), while the original used only the brakes.
Crosswind Assist has also been fitted as standard to the latest Mercedes Vito mid-size van since its launch in 2015. This continues with the brake activated system, similar to that used by Ford.
Volkswagen Crafter and Transporter T6.1 – Crosswind Assist
As the first large van to go on sale with electromechanical power steering assistance (in place of the more conventional but less fuel-efficient hydraulic systems), the 2017 onwards Crafter was the first to use tiny automatic steering corrections to counter the effect of strong winds.
Given other manufacturers appear to be adopting similar approaches (see the 2018 Mercedes Sprinter and 2019 Iveco Daily) it would appear the industry feels this type of side wind compensation system a better solution than using the brakes - at the very least preventing additional wear on your brake pads.
The facelifted VW Transporter - known as the T6.1 - on sale in 2019 also benefits from Crosswind Assist as standard. Again, this is made possible by VW's decision to change the steering to an electromechanical system.
MAN TGE – Crosswind Assist
The latest Volkswagen Crafter’s lesser-known twin, the MAN TGE, is also fitted with Crosswind Assist as standard in the UK.
Since this is exactly the same van but with a different badge on the front, you won't be surprised to learn its side-wind stabilisation works in exactly the same way – via the steering rather than the brakes.
Iveco Daily (2019) - Crosswind Assist
If ever a van needed Crosswind Assist it's the Iveco Daily - not because the Daily is bad to drive, but because it comes in some absolutely enormous sizes.
The most recent 2019 refresh sees the big Iveco adopt electromechanical steering in line with its most modern rivals, and therefore its latest side-wind assistance system acts via the steering as well.
Renault Master and Vauxhall Movano (2019) - Side Wind Assistance
Two of the older vans in the large van sector, the Vauxhall Movano and Renault Master both get a substantial facelift in 2019, and one of the changes is the introduction of an automatic side wind assistance.
As they do not get an update to electrically assisted power steering at the same time, their systems operate only via the brakes.