Ford Transit beefs up off-road appeal with all-wheel-drive option
The Ford Transit has two new driveline options
The Ford Transit has now been with us for 55 years, during which time it has taken on many guises and conversions.
One of the more dramatic was the County Commercial’s 4x4 conversion of the ’80s which made it resemble a chronic steroid addict with beefy wheels all around and a jacked-up stance that few wanted to argue with.
Roll on 40 years and Ford have taken the provision of extra traction in house with two new driveline options that increase the vehicle’s ability away from the tarmac, if not actually making it a true off-roader.
The result is something altogether more elegant, although the company couldn’t resist a chunky radiator grille to emphasise its pedigree, despite it lacking the aggressive tyres and ground clearance of its antecedents.
What we are offered instead of the old beam axle and leaf spring arrangement is an electronically controlled but mechanically activated limited slip differential fitted to front-wheel-drive models including the Custom
Trail variants, while the Trail models have the more complex all-wheel-drive system.
The company refers to the new differential as mechanical Limited Slip Differential (mLSD for short).
The electronic transmission control system already fitted to the Transit has been tweaked to suit the new layout.
While maximising traction at the front axle will be of benefit to many, those who stray further away from paved surfaces are catered for by the new all-wheel-drive option which enhances the grip of rear-wheel-drive models by sending up to 50pc of the engine’s torque back to the front axle, depending on the surface grip and driver’s intentions.
The driver can further enhance the administration of power delivery by selecting for slippery surfaces or mud and ruts.
The same two-litre engine is used throughout the diesel-powered models, offering between 130hp and 185hp, with a ‘mild hybrid’ powertrain also available on the Trail Custom variant, which uses a 48-volt battery pack to boost economy.