2020 Ford Transit Review: The AWD EcoBoosted Big Boy!

You can tell 2020 is a weird year by how much van content we’re doing… and let’s keep it all rolling with the 2020 Ford Transit AWD EcoBoost! This is a big boy. This specific van is the Transit 350. And under its short snout of a hood, it packs some heat.

The engine here is a 310 hp/410 lb-ft-producing 3.5-liter turbo V6. It’s backed up by a ten-speed automatic, and it sends go-juice out to all four wheels as needed. On the inside, our tester is the super sweet Transit Crew. That means it has two rows of seats and then plenty of room for activities.

This van has us dreaming big. We need to find a way to pump one of these up and go with a full van life build. It won’t be cheap but it would definitely be awesome.

[Disclaimer: Ford tossed us the keys to this Transit 350 and included a tank of fuel.]

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20 responses to “2020 Ford Transit Review: The AWD EcoBoosted Big Boy!”

  1. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

    I’d want to know the Transit Ecoboost Nurburgring lap time, since I believe the current lap record for vans is still Sabine Schmitz’ hot lap in the previous generation Transit for Top Gear.

    On a practical note, what’s the tow rating and why not just follow tradition and call your Gluckerized Transit the Supervan

    1. E34less Avatar

      According to the cheat sheet we have at work, it should be 6200 lbs for the awd Ecoboost with heavy towing package and single rear wheel config.

    2. Jeff Glucker Avatar

      Because I think of more on-road or track specific stuff for the Supervan.

      I think my own Transit build would use all-terrain tires and be able to run down graded trails.

      1. Zentropy Avatar

        I’d certainly rather have an AWD Transit on ATs than an SUV. How about this?

        https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50378592571_18e95aa636_h.jpg

  2. Rover 1 Avatar

    Turbo V6 Transits have been built before.

    1. Zentropy Avatar

      The pipe rack is a perfect touch.

  3. neight428 Avatar

    You make the Raptor, I’ll make the Mach VII. There’s room in the niche.

  4. Scoutdude Avatar

    :Yeah definite great base for a build. I would think any of the tuners that offer a tune for this engine in the F150 should be able to whip one up for a Transit.

  5. Sjalabais Avatar

    Just amazing that this even exists. In a commercial setting, this makes no sense, but are people really cool enough to buy something like this as a private machine?

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      Different story with cheap fuel in the US. Mind you a mate got sick of how slow his nonturbo I6 diesel Landcruiser was, changed to a V8 petrol and said the fuel use only went up by 20%; he probably saved that much worth of time!

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        I’d like to see the spreadsheet…kidding aside, you and @crank_case have a fair point. It’s just that I witness many businesses pressing each other hard on price, and that is reflected in their vehicle fleet. So if the question is about getting a 300+ hp Transit instead of a less versatile but similarly powerful but larger commercial truck – yeah, maybe. But as long as the Transit comes with slightly smaller engines, too, which would presumably have lower service cost as well as running cost, I don’t expect many businesses to go for the extra oomph.

        1. outback_ute Avatar

          I also remember when he converted his old Falcon to lpg because of the amount of driving he was doing (well over 1000km per week), then on a certain large hill out of a town, so 60 at the bottom going into a 100 zone, complaining it would only do 130 before the top!

          I agree the Ecoboost wouldn’t be the best choice for fleet duty, but I could see an owner driver going for one for fast highway work with heavy loads.

        2. Zentropy Avatar

          My dad always used an extended E250 or E350 as his “work truck”, because he could keep his tools and materials secure in the cargo area, but still had plenty of power for towing. I think when you look at this Transit from that perspective, it makes more sense.

    2. crank_case Avatar

      You have to remember Europe is the one that is skewing the economics of diesel. Fuel duty hides the real cost, without it, Diesel should by rights be more expensive. It requires more crude to make and if you want to skew your mix to get more diesel than petrol out of a barrel (crude processing witll result in multiple products/by-products) then you need to use a different hydrocracking process.

      It’s compounded by the fact that in some countries like Ireland, you can only claim VAT back on Diesel but not petrol, because Diesel is seen as the fuel of business.

      Then we have the cheek to complain about urban NOx when every delivery van is running diesel.

      An Ecoboost V6 transit does make some sense, maybe not as a delivery/plumber van, but I can totally see this being used for anyone involved in Road maintenance/onsite engineering where you might need to fill a van and tow some heavy equipment too AND need 4X4 capability, or for utilities in remote areas.

    3. Scoutdude Avatar

      No you won’t find that many in commercial use with this engine, but definitely more common than the diesel option. Most of them destined for commercial use go out the door with the base gas engine. However for applications like the cutaway chassis used for Motorhomes the EcoBoost is the desired engine because it can handle the weight of the RV conversion and still have enough to tow the boat, or toys. So since it fits in the 350 version it fits in the 150 too so might as well make it an option there too. The reality is that it will likely have a lower total cost of operation than the diesel with lower up front cost, lower cost per gallon of fuel (in normal times in most of the US) and lower maintenance and repair costs.

  6. crank_case Avatar

    I can totally get with ths – too me, there’s two main types of vehicles I find myself lusting after. Small tiny sub 900KG sportscars and vans. Give me fun, or give me something I can throw lots of stuff in to enable fun. Everything in the middle – sedans, wagons, SUVs all feel sort of like compromises at opposite ends of that spectrum. They’re also really maneuvrable around urban areas – they have to be.

  7. Zentropy Avatar

    I really want to like this Transit, but two things put me off. First is the ugly mug. I’ve hated the front end styling of this van since it debuted. It looks like designers took the lazy route and just photoshop-stretched an Edge nose onto the thing. I wish they would adopt something more like what the Expedition’s wearing.

    Secondly, while I can appreciate the technical output of the Ecoboost 3.5, I dislike it subjectively. I like my engines to make nice noises, and this one sounds pathetic. Even aftermarket exhausts can’t make these V6s sound good.

      1. Jeff Glucker Avatar

        Whoa… that’s a nice style upgrade

  8. Andrew Bradford Avatar

    Comparing a low roof, short wheelbase, AWD, 3.5 EcoBoost crew Transit to a comparable MSRP F150 crew cab: in my book the Transit wins hands down for functionality. A bigger and covered “bed” cargo area, enough towing capacity to do what most people use 1/2 ton trucks for, way more payload, similar fuel economy, and a real AWD system (F150 XL and XLT trims do not have “auto” 4×4 mode). Sadly Ford don’t seem to advertise any rebates on the Transit for non-fleet buyers while they often are running >$5k rebates on F150s. And most people think pickups are way cooler than vans.

    If the Transit would offer a dual sliding doors in the passenger and crew variants (only cargo variant has dual sliders), it would definitely pique my interest instead of a pickup.

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