Ford Transit Bringing Style, Tech to Van Sector
For decades, full-size vans were the antithesis of style. According to a report by TruckTrend Magazine, they were defined by their no-nonsense functionality, and automakers made little effort to make the interiors or exteriors interesting or stylish. But if this interior photo of the new Ford Transit Custom is any indication, American van customers are in for a real treat when the U.S.-spec T-series vans hits showrooms.
We’ve already seen exterior photos of the new Transit , and by van standards, it’s certainly a looker. But until now, we haven’t had a good idea of what the interior would look like. Ford of Europe just released this photo of the Transit’s dashboard and front passenger area. What struck us almost immediately is its strong family resemblance to some of Ford’s newer passenger cars and crossovers, most notably the Focus, Fiesta, and the new 2013 Escape. From the four-spoke steering wheel, 4-inch multi-function display between the primary gauges, and its “wing”-center HVAC vents, the interior shares some unmistakable design cues with its passenger-car cousins.
Some RV manufacturers are looking at the Transit as a potential platform for Class B RVs as Ford phases out its E-series van.
Some unique features facilitated by the van’s width are a dashboard-mounted cupholder to the left of the steering wheel, just the thing to cool off the working man’s cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee on the way to the job site. The steering-wheel mounted controls suggest Bluetooth integration (no great surprise) and voice-activation of some functions. There are two knee-level cubby holes on the dashboard, one at each corner. A park sensing system and Eco mode are also apparent from the dashboard controls. The photo of the Euro-spec model also shows a six-speed manual transmission, although U.S.-spec models will likely be automatic-only.
The stylish and high-tech dashboard only increases our interest and enthusiasm for the upcoming T-series, which we know will offer the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 as one of the engine options, as well as one as-yet unidentified diesel engine. We’re inclined to believe it will be some version of Ford’s global 3.2-liter I-5, which is good for approximately 200 hp and 347 lb-ft of torque. In view of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Nissan NV, the upcoming Transit, and Ram’s upcoming entry into the van market, this formerly moribund segment is suddenly quite intriguing.