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The Ford Transit series is the larger of the two main van lines that Ford produces, with the other being the Focus-based Transit Connect. Incredibly versatile and customizable, the Transit is appealing to a very wide range of buyers that exceeds the traditional cargo van demographics.
It offers a variety of engine options and comfortable, spacious seating for up to 15 depending on the configuration chosen. Its tallest models even allow passengers over six feet in height to stand up straight when moving around the cabin. At the same time, all of this space and versatility comes at a very reasonable price, and recent updates to the model have made significant improvements to both standard and optional technology that is available.
Because it can be ordered in such a dazzling variety of configurations, trims, and options packages, finding the right Ford Transit for your use can be a complicated endeavour.
Compare the 2018 Transit Cargo Van vs XL Passenger Wagon Trims. What is the difference?
The Cargo Van model is the catch-all term for all Transit configurations that are optimized for cargo rather than passengers. The distinguishing characteristic of this model is that it has paneling around the cargo compartment instead of windows. As befits a cargo carrier that is likely to be relegated entirely to fleet duties, it comes with little beyond standard features, with a regular AM/FM radio and bare steel wheels.
It is available in a dazzling array of configurations, however. It is possible to upgrade the regular interior to vinyl or carpeted floors, choose between several styles of side doors - hinged or sliding, as well as rear doors - with glass or without. Other accessories such as running boards, which can be both fixed or powered, tow packages, a remote starter, and a variety of different side mirror styles are also available.
Interior comfort upgrades are also available, and are fairly far-reaching for a cargo van. Rear parking assist is practically a mandatory option due to the van’s size, and other safety features like lane keep assist, automatic headlights, and rain-sensing windshield wipers are also available, along with convenience features like cruise control, a navigation system, and a SYNC 3 touch-screen infotainment system that supports satellite radio. The seats are cloth with manual adjustment by default, but can be upgraded with power adjustments and leather upholstery.
Like all Transit vans, the Cargo Van is available in three lengths, roof configurations, and engine options. The standard model is a regular length, low roof model with a naturally aspirated V-6 engine. It can also be specified with a long or extended length, a medium or a high roof, and either a turbocharged V-6 or a turbo diesel engine instead of the regular V-6.
All of these options are also available on the passenger van versions of the Transit. On those models, the length determines the seating capacity, while in the cargo van it determines the available hooks, partitions, and mounting points inside the cargo compartment.
The XL Passenger Wagon is the base model of the Transit designed for carrying people instead of cargo, and offers a very similar feature set to the Cargo Van, with a few exceptions. The most obvious is the seating. The regular length model seats 8, while the long and extended length models seat 10 or 15 passengers respectively in their base configurations.
The regular and extended length models can also be upgraded to carry up to 10 and 15 passengers respectively as well. All-around fixed windows are standard on all of the passenger models, for obvious reasons.
The XL Passenger Wagon offers the same general set of optional features as the Cargo Van, though a number are more commonly included, such as the rear air conditioning and heating units, that are also available with dedicated rear-seat controls. There are also a number of exclusives for the XL Passenger model, such as privacy glass for the rear compartment passengers, as well as a special window design with a flip open glass panel that allows fresh air to enter the compartment.
The choice between the Cargo Van and the XL Passenger Wagon hinges on an obvious question: do you plan on hauling people or cargo? In terms of the configurations, those depend on how many people or how much cargo you plan on carrying, with larger quantities suggesting either a long or extended wheelbase model.
Compare the 2018 Ford Transit XL Passenger Wagon vs XLT Passenger Wagon Trim Levels. What is the difference?
The XLT Passenger Wagon differs from the XL Passenger Wagon only a little when it comes to standard equipment. The XLT comes standard with the exterior upgrade package from the XL, which includes chrome accents and nicer steel wheels. It also comes with a CD player stereo system and rain-sensing windshield wipers, as well as cruise control, a carpeted interior and rear heating and A/C.
It can also be upgraded with leather upholstery for both front and rear seats, as well as power adjustments for the front seats. Most of the models that are not direct orders also come included with some of the higher-end entertainment features, such as SYNC 3 infotainment, satellite radio, or a navigation system.
Aside from the leather interior and power seating, there is almost nothing that the XLT Passenger Wagon can be configured with that the XL Passenger Wagon can’t have. On the other hand, the price between the two models is very close to the cost of the included add-ons, so if your plan was to include those in any case, then the XLT could be an equally viable option, especially once the optional leather is accounted for. After all, if you are carrying up to 15 passengers, an upholstery material that is easier to clean will certainly repay its value. But for fleet buyers or those on a budget, the XL can also make an attractive option.
Which Trim Level to Choose?
The incredible customizability of the Ford Transit means that, for the most part, the trim level you choose will have little impact on the kind of features and value you can expect to get from the vehicle. The critical distinction lies between the Cargo Van and the Passenger Wagon models, as the former includes cargo mounts where the latter features rows of seating.
Aside from that key distinction, most features are shared between the two Passenger Wagon models, and are also available on the Cargo Van. The cargo van obviously can’t upgrade its rear seating, and some of the more upscale features like leather are limited to the upper Passenger Wagon model, but aside from those specific distinctions, any Ford Transit can be configured as you like it.
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• Why buy a 2018 Ford Transit? w/ pros vs cons