Ford offers new take on commercial van design

By Jack Roberts on

Ford vanFord Motor Company announced today the introduction of the all-new Transit chassis cab and cutaway models, which it says is engineered to tackle an almost unlimited variety of specialized jobs and vocations. The company also unveiled the next-generation Transit Connect compact van/wagon.

Len Deluca, director of commercial vehicle sales and marketing for Ford, introduces the company's new Transit Connect compact van.
Len Deluca, director of commercial vehicle sales and marketing for Ford, introduces the company’s new Transit Connect compact van.

Tim Stoehr, commercial truck marketing manager for Ford, says the Transit Connect jumped-started the compact van market in the United States and this next-generation model will build and improve on that legacy. The new model will have choice of 105- or 121-inch wheelbases as well as “best in class load length and cargo volume.” A new tow package will allowing trailering payloads of up to 2,000 pounds. Base power for the Transit Connect will be a 2.5 liter engine with a fuel efficient 1.6 liter four-cylinder available as an option. Both van and wagon versions have a payload capacity in excess of 1,670 pounds. Both models are designed for easy LNG/CNG conversion. CNG/LPG engine prep from the Ford factory costs approximately $325 before the customer chooses a partner to supply fuel tanks, fuel lines and unique fuel injectors. Upfits run approximately $9,500 to $12,500, depending on fuel tank capacity.

The larger, more powerful Transit van marks a new day for Ford commerical vehicles — a clear European design that is a marked departure from the “Scooby Doo Mystery Machine” box vans that have dominated the North American market for the better part of the last four decades.

According to Chris Brewer, chief engineer, commerical vehicles, says Ford will will offer Transit in a range of full-size vans, wagons, cutaway, and chassis cab models powered by a 3.7-liter V6 equipped with a CNG/LPG prep kit.

Transit will be offered with a range of fuel-efficient engines, including a standard 3.7-liter V6, and the same 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine found in the Ford F-150, as well as an all-new 3.2-liter Power Stroke Diesel option.

Additionally, Ford will offer the Transit 3.7-liter V6 with a compressed natural gas/liquid propane gas (CNG/LPG) prep kit. This 3.7-liter V6 is also engineered for optimal performance with E85 flex- fuel capability.

Each fuel-conscious engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission for efficient rear-wheel-drive operation.

In addition to the standard van configuration, Ford also introduced a highly-adaptable Transit chassis cab model, which features an enclosed passenger compartment and bare frame ready to accept aftermarket body modules ranging from custom cargo delivery to utility body. Transit cutaway is similar to the chassis cab, but with the rear of the passenger compartment open so it can be paired with specialty body modules such as shuttle or school bus bodies.

The chassis cab and cutaway will be offered in three wheelbases, 1next generation 38, 156 or 178 inches, and gross vehicle weight ratings from 9,000 pounds to 10,360 pounds.

Here’s a video from Ford’s announcement:



Jack Roberts

Jack Roberts is executive editor for CCJ and equipment editor for its sister magazine Overdrive. Roberts joined Randall-Reilly in 1995 as associate editor of Equipment World magazine and began covering both heavy-duty and light trucks in 1996. In 2006 he was the founding editor of Total Landscape Care before joining CCJ's staff in 2008.

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