New Ford Transit Trail – tough new spec for hard-working heroes

  • Aimed at operators who work in rough environments
  • Includes unique FORD looks, leather interior
  • Standard mLSD for added traction on front-wheel drive models

Ford is adding a new Trail specification to its Transit large van range, which comes with extra traction for rough surfaces as standard – and a tough new look.

Designed specifically as a vehicle for hard working environments, yet packed with creature comforts, you won’t miss this new version of the Transit coming, that’s for sure.

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Whoa – nice grille

Your eyes are not deceiving you: Ford has gone and borrowed the big FORD lettering grille design from its range of Raptor high-performance pickup trucks and applied them to the Transit van.

Ford Transit Trail - FORD grille, 2020

We’ve seen this sort of thing in the aftermarket for a while now – especially with the smaller Transit Custom, which also gets a new Trail spec, as well as a more lifestyle-orientated Active model – but it’s actually great to see Ford taking it on to give its long-standing van range a real shot of visual adrenalin.

Ford Transit Trail - extra body cladding, 16-inch alloy wheels, 2020

Complementing the grille, Transit Trail models also feature additional cladding around the lower portions of the bumpers and the side panels, completing the tough-van makeover. You also get unique 16-inch alloy wheels and the obligatory Trail graphics on the front doors.

Is it all for show?

Not at all – for the key standard equipment upgrade is actually mechanical. All front-wheel drive (FWD) Transit Trail models are fitted as standard with a new mLSD – that’s a mechanical Limited Slip Differential.

In case you’re not familiar, this is a device that replaces the usual ‘open’ differential with a bunch of clever gears that automatically direct power to the wheel with the most grip. This should give the Transit Trail a substantial traction boost on unpaved roads, gravel and other challenging surfaces – including slippery wet and snowy ones.

Ford Transit Trail - rear view, blue, 2020

It’s not unheard of for this technology to be applied to a van – for exactly this reason – but it’s more common as an upgrade for performance cars. And indeed, the Transit Trail’s mLSD is supplied by Quaife, the same supplier Ford uses for the same kit on the Focus RS, Fiesta ST and Focus ST hot hatchbacks.

The mLSD works in harmony with the recalibrated electronic stability control system, and has no impact on CO2 emissions or fuel economy – the latter a claimed 35.3mpg WLTP.

What if I need even more traction?

In that case, you might want the four-wheel drive version of the Transit Trail, which is fitted with an ‘Intelligent All-Wheel Drive’ system. This is based on the rear-wheel drive model, but can send up to 50% of engine torque to the front wheels in reaction to grip levels.

Ford Transit Trail - cab interior, leather seats, 2020

Helping with this are a pair of additional drive modes – in addition to the standard options all Transit now have following the 2019 facelift, AWD Trail models get a Slippery setting and Mud/Rut setting. There’s also an AWD Lock mode, which splits torque front and rear 50:50 but what Ford calls ‘extreme low-grip surfaces’.

Load volume remains the same as any a normal rear-wheel drive Transit.

Any goodies on the inside?

Trail models get a full leather interior – sounds posh, but also means it’s easily wiped clean – plus air-conditioning, Quickclear heated windscreen, power-folding door mirrors and automatic lights.

How much does the Transit Trail cost?

You can choose from 130hp, 170hp and 185hp versions, all based on Ford’s latest 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engine, with prices starting from £35,685. You can also choose between panel van and Double-Cab-in-Van (DCiV) variants.

The Ford Transit Trail is available to order now. You can read what it's like to drive in our main Ford Transit review.

Also read:

>> Our main Ford Transit review

>> Ford Transit Custom Trail full details

>> Ford Transit Custom Active full details

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