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2020 Ford Transit: Calling All Big Families

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Cars.com photos by Aaron Bragman

Minivans long have been the favorite of families, but where's the love for the maxivan? Ford's redesigned 2020 Transit full-size van may just put a truck back in the driveways of some of America's bigger families, people for whom an SUV just isn't enough. We got an up-close look at the updated at The Work Truck Show 2019 in Indianapolis where it debuted. The industry-only trade show targets commercial and fleet businesses, and is increasingly used by automakers to reveal pickup truck and van news.

Related: More Work Truck Show Coverage

The last Ford Transit I drove was impressive in so many areas. It handles like a big SUV. It has plenty of power, impossibly precise steering and a compliant ride that you wouldn't expect from such a hulking behemoth of a van.

And for 2020, there's another reason to love the Ford Transit — optional all-wheel drive. Instead of having to go to an up-fitter to have a lift and aftermarket system installed, you can now get your Transit with AWD direct from the factory, and with no change in ride height over the standard Transit. The only caveat is that you can't get one with diesel power; the AWD Transit is gasoline only. But that's OK, the top EcoBoost engine is one of the most powerful in the segment and should prove to be more than adequate.

Major improvements have come to the Transit's interior as well, with a modernization that sees a new dashboard with some interestingly placed cupholders. Storage cubbies abound, and the new multimedia system uses a tablet-style display screen and is a welcome addition. As with previous Transits, seating position is excellent, and the view forward is expansive. The tall windshield, medium-high seating position, and multi-adjustability for seating and steering wheel assure comfort. Nothing is too far away to reach, and if you need to get into the rear rows, simply stand up and walk into the back area. It is recommended that you stop and park the vehicle first, of course.

Is it perfect? No. You'll still have a hard time parking some of the longer versions, and in our experience the tall-roof versions act like sailing ships in a hurricane whenever a stiff crosswind kicks up on the highway, blowing you all over the road. But if you need to haul 14 people, this is the way to do it without spending a fortune. If you need to start your own construction business, flower delivery or just about any kind of commercial venture, Ford makes a Transit that will work for you. Ford even makes new conversion van versions that cost less than a luxury SUV and are infinitely more comfortable. Add the new powertrains into the equation, and Ford has made what is already the world's best-selling van even more compelling.

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Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman has had over 25 years of experience in the auto industry as a journalist, analyst, purchasing agent and program manager. Bragman grew up around his father’s classic Triumph sports cars (which were all sold and gone when he turned 16, much to his frustration) and comes from a Detroit family where cars put food on tables as much as smiles on faces. Today, he’s a member of the Automotive Press Association and the Midwest Automotive Media Association. His pronouns are he/him, but his adjectives are fat/sassy. Email Aaron Bragman

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