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2020 Ford Transit Review

Ford made sweeping changes to the 2020 Ford Transit, not the least of which were the addition of a crew van configuration and available all-wheel drive. These enhance what was already a dizzying array of lengths, heights, capacities, configurations and engines. If you need a van for hauling lots of goods or people, you should be able to find exactly what you require among the Transit‘s offerings.

The Transit handles more like a crossover than a truck. Its driveability makes it as ideal for urban chores as it is for longer cross-country hauls. Its high-roof cargo versions provide an ideal space for a tradesman to work erect in the back. Passenger versions are sufficiently outfitted and comfortable to use as family haulers. It doesn’t get much more universally practical than that.

What’s New for 2020?

Ford made several changes and improvements to the Transit. A new crew van, capable of carrying five people in two rows and featuring side-curtain airbags, joins the lineup. A new interior features durable new fabrics on the seating surfaces, plus myriad cup holders and compartments for storing gear and gadgets.

FordPass Connect, with a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot and connectivity for up to 10 devices, is standard, as are USB outlets in every row of the passenger van. New Ford Telematics and Ford Data Services, which put an array of tools at the disposal of fleet managers, are now available. For the first time, the Transit offers an intelligent AWD system that’s always engaged and does not raise the load floor or seat height, making this van configuration as easy to enter and exit as the standard rear-wheel-drive model.

New and improved powertrains are designed to meet a wide range of customer needs. These include an all-new standard 3.5-liter port fuel direct-injection V6 engine and the proven 3.5-liter EcoBoost gas engine, which now features automatic start and stop. Vans equipped with the EcoBoost engine get a larger grille for maximum cooling.

Now standard is Ford’s Co-Pilot360 suite of safety technologies, which includes pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, forward-collision warning, post-collision braking, a lane-keeping system and automatic high-beam headlamps. Additional available features include adaptive cruise control, front and rear split-view cameras, adjustable speed limiting and enhanced active parking assist, which simplifies maneuvering into parallel or reverse perpendicular parking spots.

For the first time, swivel front seats and power sliding doors are available. See the 2020 Ford Transit models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Civilized driving experience
  • Highly customizable
  • Capable engines with fuel-efficient turbodiesel option
  • Modern look and feel
  • Suite of safety- and driver-assist features is standard

What We Don’t

  • Prices can escalate quickly

How Much?

$36,005 (cargo van); $36,715 (crew van); $41,675-$43,555 (passenger van)

Fuel Economy

All-new for 2020, the standard engine is a 3.5-liter V6 generating 275 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. In regular-wheelbase versions with low or medium roofs, fuel consumption is estimated at 15 miles per gallon in the city, 19 mpg on the highway and 17 mpg in combined driving. Opting for the new AWD system reduces the estimated mileage to 14 mpg city/19 mpg highway/16 mpg combined. A flex-fuel variant is adapted to run E85 ethanol, and there are options for liquid propane gas and compressed natural gas.

The more muscular 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 makes 310 hp and 400 lb-ft, thanks to a turbocharger. Ford added automatic stop and start for 2020. At this writing, the government hasn’t posted mileage estimates for this engine, but without the stop-start feature last year, the RWD numbers were 15 mpg city/18 mpg hwy/16 mpg combined.

Each engine is linked to a new 10-speed automatic transmission. Every Transit sold in the United States employs RWD. AWD is optional.

Standard Features & Options

The 2020 Ford Transit is available as a regular panel van, as a wagon with seating for eight to 15 occupants and, new for 2020, a 5-passenger crew van.

The Transit comes with a 129.9-in or 147.6-in wheelbase. The latter also offers an extended-body length. Then there’s the choice of a low roof (83.6 inches) or a medium-height roof (100.8 inches). The two longer versions offer medium or high (110.1 inches) roofs. A 6-foot person can easily stand up inside a Transit with a high roof. In the largest version, total cargo volume is 487.2 cu ft. The maximum payload is 4,030 pounds, and the maximum towing capacity is 6,500 pounds.

The numbers on the back doors — 150, 250, 350 and 350 HD — signify gross vehicle weight maxes of 8,670, 9,070, 9,500 and 9,950 to 10,360 pounds, respectively. The 350 HD uses a dual rear-wheel setup for the heaviest loads. Ford offers the Transit passenger van in two trims: the XL and the XLT. All the pricing is far too involved to tackle here. We’ll stick with the Transit 150 for pricing and content. Prices include the factory delivery fee.

The Transit 150 XL ($36,005 cargo van; $36,715 crew van; $41,675 passenger van) starts with 16-in steel wheels, keyless entry, variable intermittent wipers, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, power adjustable mirrors, power windows and locks, front air conditioning, vinyl upholstery, cup holders, a rearview camera, lashing hooks and LED lighting in the cargo area, a lockable glove box, 4G LTE hot spot capability, a 4-speaker AM/FM stereo with Bluetooth, USB ports and an auxiliary input, and the Co-Pilot360 safety suite.

Sliding passenger-side doors are standard on medium- and high-roof versions. Dual sliding doors are optional, as is a power sliding door. The Transit can be ordered as a cutaway or a chassis cab.

The 150 XLT passenger van ($43,555) adds silver wheel covers, cruise control, carpeting, illuminated vanity mirrors, a CD player, automatic headlights and rain-sensing front wipers.

There are numerous options, too, such as extended side mirrors, power retractable running boards, 16-in alloy wheels, heated power front seats, leather upholstery, swivel front seats, rear parking sensors, a keyless entry pad, a lane-departure warning system, remote start, rear air conditioning, a trailer package, Crew Chief commercial telematics, adaptive cruise control and enhanced active parking assist.

The cargo van’s cargo area can come with a spray-in liner or heavy-duty flooring. A choice of rear axle ratios is also on the options list, along with SYNC voice controls and the SYNC 3 infotainment system with navigation, HD radio, satellite radio, a 6.5-in touchscreen and steering wheel-mounted controls.

Equipping the van for specific tasks — a process known as upfitting — often requires upgrading the electrical system. With this in mind, Ford offers a single absorbed glass mat battery and auxiliary fuse panels as options.

Safety

The 2020 Ford Transit comes standard with 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, stability control with rollover prevention technology and driver, front-passenger, side-curtain and thorax airbags. Side-wind stabilization is also standard. Standard for 2020 is the Ford Co-Pilot360 suite of safety technologies, which includes pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, forward-collision warning, post-collision braking, a lane-keeping system and automatic high-beam headlamps.

Rear parking sensors, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control and enhanced active park assist are optional.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the Transit four stars out of five for front-impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection.

Behind the Wheel

The Transit is easy to drive, with a precise feel to the steering — the steering wheel looks like it ought to be in an upscale sedan — and brakes, plus a ride quality that will keep worker fatigue at bay. The cabin is remarkably quiet, even in larger versions, where more noise is expected. The diesel engine is similarly subdued and clatter-free.

The dual rear-wheel setup is only four inches wider than the front, so drivers won’t have that much trouble gauging the van’s width during tight maneuvers, making use of the relatively compact 39.2-ft turning circle. They’ll also like the large folding side mirrors, whose concave lower sections bring a useful view of the Transit’s rearmost corners as well as views of vehicles in other lanes.

Other Cars to Consider

2020 Chevrolet Express Cargo — Smaller and older than the Transit.

2020 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter — Despite that 3-pointed star, the Sprinter is not crazy expensive. The Automotive Lease Guild says that the Sprinter has the highest resale value in its class.

2020 Nissan NVNissan‘s full-sizer is contemporary and affordable, with a muscular V8 available. No diesel option, though.

2020 Ram ProMaster — The Fiat-derived ProMaster is another Euro-style van. See if the oddly angled steering wheel is to your liking.

Autotrader’s Advice

Every business has its own needs, so investigate all the relevant options. There are even ambulance, school bus and shuttle bus packages. We know a couple of big families that use the Transit passenger van to transport everyone and all of their gear. It’s a matter of how many seats and how much cargo room you need. Find a Ford Transit for sale

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