5 things that make the 2023 Ford Transit Trail a must-have adventure vehicle

Ford just announced the Transit trail, a motorhome ready for on-road or off-road adventure right out of the box. It starts at $65,975, sends power to all four wheels with a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 and ten-speed transmission, and gives us plenty to get excited about.

If Instagram and YouTube are any indicator, those of us without a trail-ready adventure vehicle are way behind the times. The trend started with people customizing vans and school buses to create homemade motorhomes. Then came the landing craze, with roof racks and knobby tires on everything from Toyota Land Cruisers at Porsche 911.

There is one problem with all of these vehicles though: you have to build them. Cutting suspension components, altering driveline geometry, and drilling holes in a vehicle’s body are risky and can destroy resale value. Ford offers tons of room for customization on the Transit Trail, but the pros handle the heavy lifting, so you can hit the road with confidence.

5/5 It looks like the room

Ford Transit Trail 2023 side
Ford Motor Company

The van life is nothing new, so it’s time manufacturers started building vehicles specifically for the off-grid lifestyle. Now we can choose from the Honda Odyssey for the family, the Volkswagen ID.Buzz for styleand the Transit Trail for camping.

The changes to the Transit platform are more than superficial. The plastic coating protects the paintwork from scratches and dents, but it also widens the body to allow for wider tires while remaining compliant with US regulations. Slider-style runners provide easy access to the van. Powerful HID lights illuminate the night when streetlights are far behind you. Corner lights make parking easy, whether you’re stopping at your local REI or wedging your Transit Trail between the aspens of a national park. Indoors, the privacy tint doesn’t just shield you from prying eyes; it works with the optional roof ventilator to keep temperatures low.

4/5 Standard technology makes life easy

2023 Ford Transit Trail interior
Ford Motor Company

Unlike the old one-ton utility pickups you see on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, the Transit Trail has brains to match its brawn. Keypad locks and push-button start let you keep keys safe, without reaching into your pockets or losing your keys in a river. Once you’re on the road, adaptive cruise control lets you focus on the journey ahead instead of speeding up tickets from every small-town police department along the way.

When it’s time to park that rig, blind spot monitoring and sensors on the sides and rear of the van will help you look like a pro. Once your campsite is ready, you can access the van’s 4G LTE WiFi with up to ten devices.

Many features that were optional on the 2022 Transit Adventure Prep Package are standard on the 2023 Transit Trail. They include all-wheel drive, five drive modes, keyless access and swivel seats. The new model also comes with a long list of optional features. Some of the available upgrades include a roof ventilator, 31 gallon extended range fuel tank, SYNC 4 infotainment system360 degree camera and heated leather seats.

3/5 It has off-road chops

Ford Transit Trail 2023 tire
Ford Motor Company

Lots of trucks and SUVs come out of the factory with small street tires, but not the Transit Trail. Ford outfitted this adventure van with 30.5-inch Goodyear Wrangler Workhorse all-terrain tires that are 2.5 inches larger in diameter than the Transit’s standard tires and create a 2.75-inch wider track. Ride height is 3.5 inches higher.

The Transit Trail powers all four wheels using Ford’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system. Drive modes for specific terrain include Normal, Eco, Mud/Ruts, Tow/Haul and Slippery. It’s not a crawler crawler with solid axles and locking differentials, but it will take owners far off the beaten path without requiring them to manually engage four-wheel drive or lock the hubs.

2/5 You can pay the pros to do the hard parts

2023 Ford Transit Trail roof vent
Ford Motor Company

Vans provide a blank canvas for amazing ideas – that’s one of the reasons we love them. They also invite people to go overboard with power tools and make costly mistakes. Although the Transit Trail still offers a cavernous cabin that you can create yourself, Ford will take care of the more technical jobs.

The big improvements aren’t limited to the increased ride height and bigger tires. The Transit Trail comes standard with a fuse box and 400-watt AC inverter, plus plenty of outlets to charge your electronics. Ford also offers options such as dual alternators for more electricity and faster charging. Drillable areas allow you to build the interior your way without compromising the structure of the vehicle.

1/5 It’s a price to sell

Front of the 2023 Ford Transit Trail
Ford Motor Company

What really sets the Transit Trail apart from more extreme adventure vans is the price. Starting at $65,975, this van is more accessible than many new RVs. It also benefits from Ford’s support network of 3,000 dealerships in the United States, including 650 commercial service centers and more than 800 mobile service vans.

It’s still significantly more expensive than an in-home van conversion, but it comes with a three-year, 36,000-mile warranty. We’d also feel better knowing the pickup was from Ford instead of us, some pals and YouTube tutorials.

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