DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. is freshening its Transit vans with new driver assistance technology and two new engines in the hopes of increasing its share — and profits — in the lucrative commercial vehicle space.
On sale this fall, the 2020 Transit also gains an optional all-wheel-drive system and a two-row, five-seat "crew van" configuration.
The full-size van is among Ford's most profitable vehicles and a staple at work sites across the country. The Transit and its Econoline predecessor have been the nation's top-selling commercial van for the past 40 years, and Ford has been the best-selling commercial vehicle brand for 34 years.
The Transit has gained importance under CEO Jim Hackett as he overhauls the automaker's lineup to focus on profitable nameplates. Ford is in the midst of updating all of its commercial vehicles, starting with the Transit Connect midsize van last year and extending to the Super Duty pickups and Transit van this year.
The freshened Transit will come standard with a new 3.5-liter V-6 gasoline engine. The automaker said it's more efficient than the outgoing 3.7-liter engine it replaces but did not reveal its specs. A new 2-liter EcoBlue biturbo four-cylinder diesel engine is optional. It will offer more power and torque than the 3.2-liter diesel it replaces, Ford says.
The automaker is also carrying over an optional 3.5-liter EcoBoost gasoline engine. All will be paired with Ford's 10-speed transmission, which has rolled out on other vehicles including the F-150 and upcoming Explorer.
Officials declined to discuss any power figures or mileage estimates.
An optional awd system on the gasoline powertrains can send up to 100 percent of available torque to the front wheels to help the van maneuver on loose surfaces. It also has selectable drive modes for mud, ruts and slippery surfaces.