2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van

2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van Review: Unbeatable Versatility

by Deiondre van der Merwe

The 2021 Ford Transit is the Indiana Jones of passenger vans, and the American hauler has a few tricks up its sleeve. Arguably one of the most versatile in the segment, the van comes with two different wheelbase options, three roof heights, and an extended body option. You also have the choice between two engines and the option of RWD or AWD. It carries up to 15 passengers depending on what you want from it, and while the infotainment suite needs some improvement, the Transit offers excellent safety features even in its most affordable base model. A true utilitarian, it lacks the luxury offered by the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter but is a far more livable option than the more affordable Nissan NV.

2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 Transit Passenger Van?

Ford has made numerous changes and additions to the available options for the Ford Transit for 2021. However, the basic van remains unchanged. There are some new exterior colors like Abyss Gray and Carbonized Gray, while an available Livery Package has been added for the XLT. This package includes Ebony leather upholstery, a power sliding door, power seats, and more. Illuminated sun visors are now standard and the three-bar grille used previously has been replaced by a new honeycomb mesh grille. As mentioned, these are just a few of numerous small changes made to the lineup.

Pros and Cons

  • Two different powertrains
  • Highly configurable
  • Offers excellent cabin space
  • Commendable safety features
  • Comfortable ride
  • Bare-bones infotainment and convenience
  • Cheap cabin

Best Deals on Transit Passenger Van

2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
150 XL
3.5L V6 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$41,695
350 XL
3.5L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
3.5L V6 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$41,695
150 XLT
3.5L V6 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$43,530
350 XLT
3.5L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
3.5L V6 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$43,530

Transit Passenger Van Exterior

The face of the Transit is dominated by a large honeycomb mesh grille flanked by upturned halogen headlights on both the XL and the XLT, the only difference being that the former gets a black grille surround and the latter gets a chrome surround. Front fog lamps are also standard on the XLT. The rear offers vertically elongated taillights and the van is typically shaped like a bread tin. All models come standard with a black front and rear lower fascia made out of plastic for extra durability and sit on a set of 16-inch heavy-duty steel wheels. 16-inch forged aluminum wheels are available.

2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van Side View Ford
2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van Lateral View Ford
2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van Rear Angle View Ford
See All 2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van Exterior Photos

Dimensions

There's a Ford Transit out there for everybody, and this is because the van comes in many configurations ranging from different roof heights, a longer body option, and the availability of an extended wheelbase version. All models have an 83.2-inch width with the mirrors folded, increasing to 97.4 inches with the mirrors extended. Models with the standard 129.9-inch wheelbase can be specced with a low roof or a medium roof, while the longer 147.6-inch wheelbase can be had with any of the three roof options. Models with the extended body are understandably only available with the high roof. Transits with the regular wheelbase and the low roof have a length of 219.9 inches and a height of 82.2 inches. Medium roof models with the same wheelbase decrease the length to 217.8 inches and increase height to 98.7 inches. Long wheelbase models with the low roof have a 237.6-inch length and stand 82.4 inches tall, and when the medium roof is specced, the van is shortened to 235.5 inches and the height is increased to 99.2 inches.

Opting for the high roof on the long-wheelbase increases the total length to 235.5 inches and the van will stand 108.6 inches from the ground up. The long-wheelbase with the extended length body is the largest Transit in the lineup and has a sprawling length of 263.9 inches and a 107.7-inch height.

The curb weight for the Transit Passenger Van varies between 5,621 and 7,187 pounds.

  • Length 237.6 in
  • Wheelbase 148.0 in
  • Height 82.4 in
  • Max Width 81.3 in

Exterior Colors

  • Ingot Silver Metallic
  • Carbonized Gray
  • Blue Jeans Metallic
  • Avalanche Gray
  • Abyss Gray Metallic
  • Agate Black Metallic
  • Kapoor Red Metallic, Build Out: 12/01/2020
  • Oxford White
  • Race Red
  • School Bus Yellow

Transit Passenger Van Performance

2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van Front View Driving Ford
2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van Gauge Cluster Ford
2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van Front Angle View Ford

Engine and Transmission

Two engines are available for the Transit. The standard engine is a 3.5-liter V6 that pushes out 275 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, but an EcoBoost version is optionally available, adding two turbochargers to the V6 engine. The boosted power plant delivers stronger power outputs of 310 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. This engine helps the big van accomplish a 6.8-second run from 0-60 in real-world testing which is slightly better than the Nissan NV's seven-and-a-half-second effort. Both engines are coupled with a ten-speed automatic transmission and all can be equipped with AWD in place of standard RWD. The Transit is capable of handling a payload of 3,420 pounds, and has a maximum towing capacity of 4,600 pounds.

  • Engines
    3.5L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas, 3.5L V6 Gas
  • Transmission
    10-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

We give credit where it's due, and one of the Transit's merits is that it offers quite a bit of comfort on your daily commute. The soft ride results in quite a bit of roll from the body when the van has to tackle a corner, but that's to be expected of any contender in the segment. The Transit makes up for it with commendable responsiveness from the steering wheel, and you'll be pleasantly surprised by the amount of accuracy it delivers. That being said, the van isn't the most maneuverable, and this is especially true for models with the extended-length body. Sticking to the smaller configurations will result in an easier experience with parking, and a better experience on the road. When the Transit is fully-loaded with passengers and a trailer, a significant decrease in motivation is present in any of the three engines, but the most capable turbocharged V6 engine manages the feat well enough to avoid being sluggish.

Transit Passenger Van Gas Mileage

The EPA tested the fuel economy of the 3.5-liter V6, and the standard engine returned estimated figures of 15/19/16 mpg city/highway/combined when RWD-equipped and running on regular gas. AWD models drop these figures slightly to 14/18/16 mpg. The 25-gallon gas tank allows for around 400 miles of range based on the above figures. However, expect the range to diminish if the van is regularly loaded with passengers. If required, a 31-gallon gas tank can be equipped optionally.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    25.1 Gallons
* 2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van T-350 148" Low Roof XL RWD

Transit Passenger Van Interior

2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van Dashboard Ford
2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van Central Console Ford
2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van Cup Holder Ford
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Seating and Interior Space

The Ford Transit is extremely versatile, and for those who need passengers instead of just cargo, two options are presented in the form of the five-seater Transit Crew Van, reviewed separately, or the passenger variant. The latter can be configured in multiple ways, seating eight, ten, 12, or a maximum of 15 passengers. The seats throughout the van are supportive and comfortable, though there are a lot of hard plastics present throughout the interior. Driver visibility is good thanks to a large windscreen and short nose, and rear visibility would be poor if not for the standard rearview camera.

  • Seating capacity
    12-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.3 in
  • Front Head Room 40.8 in
  • Rear Leg Room 33.7 in
  • Rear Head Room 41.1 in

Transit Passenger Van Trunk and Cargo Space

Greatly dependent on which configuration you opt for, the Ford Transit's cargo capacity varies greatly throughout its various guises. Space varies dramatically between 39.1 cubic feet (behind the fourth row of the shorter van with the low roof) all the way up to 461.9 cubes behind the first row of the long-bodied version. This longest version still offers a generous 100.5 cubes behind its fifth row. Regular wheelbase models can handle a payload of up to 2,860 pounds, while the most capable van can haul up to 3,420 lbs. In-cabin storage is generous thanks to storage boxes in the dash, deep door pockets and a cavernous glovebox.

2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van Interior Overview Ford
2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van Rear Passenger Seats Ford
2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van Trunk Space Ford

Transit Passenger Van Infotainment and Features

Features

It may be livable, but the base XL model is rather bare-bones in terms of features when it's compared to the XLT. The XL comes standard with a back-up alarm, air conditioning, two-way manually adjustable front seats, and a 12V powerpoint. One thing that the Transit does well at, even at its base level, is its standard safety features. The XL's suite of safety features is inclusive of post-collision braking, pre-collision assist, lane keep assist, and forward collision warning. The XLT adds blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and reverse sensing system with active park assist and a side sensing system.

Infotainment

If you value infotainment, you'll need to fork out some extra cash to upgrade the Transit's offering. At the base level, XL models are absent of an infotainment screen and only offer an AM/FM stereo with an aux input, Bluetooth, two USB ports, and a basic four-inch multi-function display. A four-speaker system is standard, with no speakers in the back. XLT models are only marginally improved with the addition of a four-inch color display. Numerous infotainment upgrades are on offer, though. The van can be equipped with an eight-inch touchscreen interface allowing access to HD Radio, SiriusXM radio, navigation, and an eight-speaker sound system.

Transit Passenger Van Problems and Reliability

At the time of writing, the 2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van had not been recalled for any issues. However, the 2020 model hasn't been quite as fortunate. It was recalled four times for issues including side curtain airbags that may not inflate, seatbelts that may not properly restrain occupants, and a faulty rearview camera. To quell concerns, Ford offers a three-year or 36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles

Transit Passenger Van Safety

Depending on the roof configuration, the Transit Passenger receives varying scores from the NHTSA safety review. In low-roof form, the van attained a three-star rating for the frontal crash and five stars for the side crash. Another version of the low-roof van holds a four-star overall safety rating. The IIHS hasn't rated the van as yet. The safety features have significantly improved over previous year models. The XL comes standard with lane keep assist, pre-collision assist, post-collision braking, and forward-collision warning. The XLT bolsters the suite with the addition of blind-spot monitoring, active park assist with side sensing, and rear cross-traffic alert. All models get front and side-curtain airbags, a rearview camera with trailer hitch assist, and tire pressure monitoring.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van a good van?

The Ford Transit is worth considering if you're shopping around for a truly utilitarian passenger van. It's highly customizable thanks to an array of wheelbase lengths, roof heights, and body sizes, and the versatility doesn't stop there. You have the choice between two engines, making it hard to believe that you won't find one suitable for your needs. Whether you're after a small van for the odd family holiday or you're after a serious people carrier, the Transit has what you need. Both engines perform capably and all of them deliver relatively good fuel economy figures. While the base infotainment and convenience features could use a little work, the van offers an excellent safety suite on both trim levels, and the available Sync 3 system is one of the best you'll find in a commercial hauler. The Transit belongs on your shortlist if you're looking for a versatile van, but the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is worth taking a look at as a better option for a higher asking price.

🚘What's the Price of the 2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van?

The most affordable way into the Ford Transit range would be the low-roof XL with a starting MSRP of $41,695 while the XLT trim starts at $43,530. The medium roof increases the base asking price to $43,145, and the high-roof starts at $44,595. The extended length body requires the high roof selection for a base price of $45,655 in XL form and $47,490 in XLT guise. AWD is also available and on the cheapest XL, this will add $4,695 to the bill. If you want the EcoBoost V6, this will cost $1,775 on the base XL. A hefty $1,695 destination fee is applicable to your purchase of any Ford Transit.

2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van Models

See All 2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van Trims and Specs

🚗What Ford Transit Passenger Van Model Should I Buy?

The answer to the "which one is right for me?" question ultimately depends on what you're looking for from your Transit. Are you looking for a spacious way to get the kids to school? Are you looking for a large van to add to your fleet as a shuttle? If you're looking for a Transit for those family holidays, the eight-seater XLT equipped with the standard engine will fare just fine. If you're after a dedicated passenger carrier, the 15-seater XL will perform well with the turbocharged V6 engine. A must-add for all models would be the upgraded infotainment system with the Sync 3 system and the bigger eight-inch touchscreen interface.

2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van Comparisons

Ram ProMaster Window Van Ram
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Passenger Van Mercedes-Benz
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Ford Transit Passenger Van275 hpTBC$41,695
Ram ProMaster Window Van 280 hpTBC$37,390
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Passenger Van 188 hpTBC$41,095

2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van vs Ram ProMaster Window Van

To be a key player in the passenger van segment, you need to deliver capability and space at a reasonable price. Both of these vans do that, but the Ram comes in at a lower asking price at the base level. With that said, it's difficult to beat the versatility offered by the Transit in terms of its wheelbases and roof heights and the Ram only comes with one wheelbase option. The standard 3.6-liter engine in the Ram is slightly more powerful than the base 3.5-liter engine found in the Transit, but the latter offers better fuel economy. While the ProMaster may cost a lot less, it offers better infotainment from its base model but falls short at the higher end of the spectrum. It also doesn't handle anywhere near as well as the Transit, and overall, feels a little dated by comparison. The Transit may be more expensive, but unless you're shopping for the most basic spec possible, it's the better van overall.

See Ram ProMaster Window Van Review

2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van vs Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Passenger Van

Similarly priced, the Sprinter Passenger Van is the Transit's toughest competitor. The Sprinter offers more luxury from its cabin, and its long wheelbase offers more cargo room. Like the Ford, the Merc also offers a maximum seating capacity of 15 passengers, and they'll be more comfortable there than in the Transit. The Sprinter also offers more modern additional packages and tech, leaving it up to you as to how well-equipped you want it to be. The German van boasts more attractive styling for both the inside and the outside and is well worth its premium price. The Merc does well with the space it has and considering it's only slightly more expensive than the Transit and offers more luxury, it's the better buy in our books.

See Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Passenger Van Review

Ford Transit Passenger Van Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2021 Ford Transit Passenger Van:

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