Ford has found a great tool not only to get people outdoors but also to move more inventory. Honestly, when you think about it, it's a great way to do things. The automaker takes a popular basic model, such as an SUV, truck, or van, and announces real upgrades that turn a standard vehicle into a real off-roading machine.
Automaker Turns Vehicles Into Off-Roaders
Take the Explorer, for example. Since its introduction more than 25 years ago, the Explorer has been a solid performer in the SUV world. Indeed, it was one of the first consumer-oriented SUVs when it was introduced back in the mid-1990s. Because it has been a 4X4 for years, the Explorer has attracted a considerable following. Ford figured out a way to make it more attractive to the off-roading crowd by offering the Explorer Timberline. It has many features, including more aggressive off-road tires, wheels, and ride height, that make it a competitive off-roading vehicle. Yes, it is more expensive than the standard Explorer, but it is an interesting option. There's also the Explorer ST, another choice.
Or, look at Ford's pickup lineup. Some years ago, the automaker introduced the Ford F-150 Raptor, which the automaker calls a desert racer. It is set up for off-roading and delivers on the promise of being the real thing when it comes to bushwhacking way off-road. The same is true of the Ford Ranger line with its version of the Raptor, another excellent off-roading vehicle.
Even the Ford Super Duty pickup line has a version set up right for off-roading with the aggressive Tremor option on vehicles like the F-250 heavy-duty pickup.
Two Bronco Models Emphasize Off-Roading
Moving into the Bronco brand, the automaker offers two models emphasizing off-roading. The Bronco Raptor's HOSS system adds to its off-road prowess, making it the real thing. And there's the Bronco Everglades which not only features all sorts of off-roading goodies like a standard winch, steel skid plates, and more. The Ford Authority lauded the Everglades as an "extra special variant designed to go farther off-road than a Sasquatch-equipped Badlands."
Think about all of the vehicles that I have just discussed. They all began with a very straightforward premise. The Explorer started as a 4X4 SUV. Ford's F-150, Ranger, and Super Duty pickups were very competent trucks from the get-go, and the automaker made them better with real off-roading options. And even the Bronco SUV offers models for folks ready to do some heavy-duty, almost off-the-grid off-roading.
Since Ford has made all these heavy-hitting off-road variants in its SUV and truck lines, it stands to reason that the automaker would also offer an off-roading variant in its Transit van line. Like the F-150, which has been the country's top pickup for 45 straight years, the Transit van has been the country's leading full-sized van for years.
Ford Makes Transit Trail Van Announcement
Indeed, Ford Pro CEO Ted Cannis announced on Twitter that the Ford Transit, America's best-selling commercial van and a trusted tool for business, is expanding its lineup for the 2023 model year.
Next month, Ford Pro will introduce the new 2023 Transit Trail van, equipped with its new adventure-seeking capability alongside interior and exterior enhancements providing do-it-yourselfers and motorhome distributors a turnkey canvas direct from the factory.
Transit Trail will be assembled in Missouri, home of the Kansas City Assembly Plant, alongside Transit and E-Transit vans.
Check out the product tease video, and visit www.fordupfits.com to learn more about Ford's current lineup of motorhomes and adventure vans
Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent the usual number of misspent hours hanging out at gas stations Shell and Texaco (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper, "You Auto Know," an enterprise I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my living while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.