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New Ford Transit Active and Trail editions revealed

Off-road inspired Active and Trail versions of the Ford Transit and Ford Transit Custom join line-up

Not content with adding SUV styling to its car range, Ford has now worked it into its van line-up. It's launched the Ford Transit Trail large van, mid-sized Ford Transit Custom Trail, plus the Transit Custom Active and Tourneo Custom Active trims. All models are available to order now.

Ford Transit Custom Active

Active trim has been added to the Transit Custom van and passenger-carrying Tourneo Custom ranges, and is designed to appeal to buyers needing a vehicle with big carrying capacity for their 'active' lifestyles. Both versions use the same design cues as the Fiesta Active and Focus Active, with black wheelarch cladding, a mesh grille, black side skirts and black trim for the front and rear bumpers, while 17-inch alloys and roof rails complete the look. There are Active badges on the front wings and Active branding across the tailgate, while inside part-leather seats and gloss black interior trim are added.

While the ride height for both Active models remains unchanged, buyers can add an mLSD limited-slip differential, developed in conjunction with specialist engineering firm Quaife, for an extra £550. This is designed to improve traction in slippery conditions – the set-up is similar to systems found in Ford's hot hatchbacks - but it doesn't have a negative impact on fuel economy or emissions.

Active trim is available on the Tourneo Custom in eight-seat, standard-wheelbase guise, while the Transit Custom Active is offered in standard and long-wheelbase formats, as well as in panel van and double-cab-in-van body styles, but only with the standard roof height.

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Ford has also developed a range of accessories for the Active line-up. This includes bike carriers that fit into the seat runners of the Tourneo Custom, as well as internal and external carriers for other lifestyle equipment.

Power comes from Ford's EcoBlue diesel 130, 170 and 185 engines in standard or 48v mild-hybrid guise, while manual and auto gearboxes are available. Prices for the Transit Custom Active start from £30,000, while the Tourneo version is from £37,950.

Later in the year, Ford will expand the Active van line-up by adding versions of the Transit Connect small van and Tourneo Connect van-based MPV.

Ford Transit Trail

For the Transit Trail and Transit Custom Trail, both vans get a chunky makeover that's pitched towards business customers. There's black plastic lower body cladding, a black grille with large Ranger Raptor-style Ford lettering, and black alloy wheels. In addition, the Transit Custom can be had with roof rails and running boards to enhance the off-road look. Inside, the main upgrade is the addition of black leather trim, which makes it far easier to clean, while air-con, power folding mirrors, auto lights and a Quickclear windscreen are all included.

Under the skin, the Transit Trail and Transit Custom Trail still feature two-wheel drive and a standard ride height, but all-season tyres are available, while the Quaife mLSD mechanical limited-slip differential is fitted as standard.

If you need even more traction, the larger Transit Trail is also available with four-wheel drive. This intelligent system sends power to the rear wheels in normal conditions, but can send up to 50 per cent to the front axle if necessary. The set-up doesn't compromise the Transit's carrying capacity when compared with the standard rear-drive Transit, while a drive mode controller on the dashboard allows you to select between Slippery and Mud/Rut modes, as well as a 50:50 diff lock for extremely low-grip conditions.

Both the Transit Trail and Transit Custom Trail are available in panel van and five-seat double-cab-in-van body styles, while power comes from Ford's EcoBlue diesel in 130, 170 and 185 guises. In addition, the Transit Custom Trail engine range is also offered with 48-volt mild hybrid assistance.

Prices for the Transit Custom Trail start from £29,950, while the Transit Trail starts from £35,685. All models are on sale now, with deliveries due later in the summer.

Are off-road version of vans a good idea? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section...

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Senior test editor

Dean has been part of the Auto Express team for more than 20 years, and has worked across nearly all departments, starting on magazine production, then moving to road tests and reviews. He's our resident van expert, but covers everything from scooters and motorbikes to supercars and consumer products.

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