Future Cars: Streamlining Ford’s 2019 Transit Full-Sized Van

Becoming a car designer for a major automaker is one of those defining moments in a product-developer’s career. If you’re lucky enough, your creative freedom can make it onto some the most iconic, stylistic and exciting model lines to ever exist.

Except, that is, if you’ve landed the task of designing commercial vans; here one enters the world of dim, flickering fluorescent lights, terrible instant coffee and design dictated by the tape measure. So when Ford’s Transit emerged to replace the pre-historic E-Series vans, the realm of mail delivery erupted in sheer delight.

But was that excitement misplaced, because, arguably, the current Transit would have to be one of the most hideous excuses for product design I’ve ever laid my eyes on. Sure, it’s just a van; but there’s no need to make by-passers hurl chucks with its frumpy headlamps, awkward proportions and that guppy grille.

How does one tidy up the Transit’s appeal?

Well, for this design study, removing most side bodywork creases and raising the sill-line, helps shed that blow-up, bouncy-castle-on-wheels figure. Blacked-out A-pillars, Ford GT-inspired lower front-end and angular hind quarters transform it from Mr. Blobby into something much more contemporary.

Changes the cabin would be most welcome too. Whilst there are no issues with the current van’s interior volume, the cockpit is a horrid mess of conflicting shapes, panel alignment and lackluster appeal. Inspiration taken from the upcoming Fiesta, mixed with F-150 brawn, could transform the Transit’s cabin into a much nicer place to roll around.

Ford’s recent announcement about hybridizing the next Mustang and F-150 could arguably benefit Transit the most. An electric assist system with mountains of torque would be ideal for a large commercial van in high payload and stop-start applications.

However, if you think hybrids are the work of witchcraft, there is also Ford’s EcoBoost range of petrol V6’s to fall back on – along with a potent 3.0-liter turbo diesel shared with the new F150. Utilizing the latter’s 10-speed automatic, power could be sent to the rear, or all four wheels.

Also aiding performance and fuel economy could be a diet of aluminum in the body; the blue oval’s pickup range and the new Expedition have benefited from it, as will the next Lincoln Navigator SUV. However, with large flat surface areas, the Transit may need a thicker military grade to reduce flex, dents and punctures.

Yet, one saving grace for the current Transit is that many of its rivals are no better. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter appears stale, Chevrolet Express is a hat-tip to 1996, Nissan’s NV looks like a corrections-department special and the Ram ProMaster is just an odd-looking, re-badged Fiat Ducato.

Do you agree or are vans like Ford’s Transit just a utilitarian device, with zero cares given? Share your views in the comments below.

By Josh Byrnes

Photo Renderings Copyright Carscoops / Josh Byrnes

Photo Gallery

  • jfalckt

    I am old-school perhaps, but believe commercial vehicles should adhere to their origins, current car design trends need not apply. A commercial vehicle should be just that, commercial, and stick to functionality, sure they can have all the tech they want, but to surface adorn them with scoops and creases seems nonsense- keep it simple, and there’s far more appeal that way.

    • Tumbi Mtika

      No. You just have common sense.

      • Puddingpopper

        But why is it so uncommon 🙁

        • Tumbi Mtika

          Lord knows…

    • p00pman

      People uprade the interiors on these for limo services. Hotels use these as shuttles. Also, high-end businesses/design businesses use these as their hauling vehicles, including my business. I like it to look classier and have a more thought out design like this. It’s a lot better showing up to a client’s house in a nicer designed vehicle (we have a 2016 transit) than an ancient, child molestor 2016 e-series. Haha.
      It also gets better gas mileage.
      Also, I’m pretty sure the scoops on our 2016 are functional.
      Dont even get me started on how doofy Nissan’s offering looks. We didn’t even bother looking into specs just because we have a design appreciation to uphold!

  • Tumbi Mtika

    It’s a van, not a fucking supercar. Why the hell would it have a lower fascia like THIS? IT IS BUILT TO SERVE A FUCKING PURPOSE IS IT NOT? This won’t capture peoples’ imagination and sell to people who don’t need these things, because it’s not meant to be a Volkswagen Type 2. All this rendering says to me is,”Fuck our core base. We don’t need them!”

    • Dennis Scipio

      Is it a bad thing to evoke style in a Passenger Van?, i mean sure they’re not supposed to be lookers to begin with, but yes it’s not a super car, but that doesn’t mean it can’t look appealing.

      • Nordschleife

        Clearly it is. God forbid you find some enjoyment in the most basic of boxes. Style can be appreciated in anything.

  • Dennis Scipio

    I get it, the current vans look a bit “dated” but I think it looks a bit too “futuristic” for this type of vehicle.

  • Obsequious Lickspittle

    Someone been playing with their Etch A Sketch?

  • TheBelltower

    It’s fine for what it is I suppose. However, it’s not good design when the plastic bits are aggressively molded while the rest of the vehicle is slab-sided and conventional. That’s a very Pontiac/Toyota thing to do, and it’s something that infuriates me about a lot of cars today. But for a commercial van, design doesn’t matter as long as it’s functional and efficient.

  • EM1

    I can see something like this in France.

  • Jake

    Looks great and a huge improvement on the existing model. I agree that they need to remain functional above all else, but why shouldn’t vans look good? In my opinion making them look like a mismatched cardboard box on wheels is just lazy in this day and age.

  • Bash

    now how do I describe this… a bit unnecessary would be to start with I think.

  • blasphemermantis

    Proof of; knowing photoshop is not enough to make one a designer…

  • pjl35

    Um…there isn’t even a door handle for the sliding door…

  • Steve May

    Tell you what, peeps, do what I do for a living (11 hours a day in a van) and tell me its just about function afterwards! Practicality yes, but we should have WAY more driver comforts in a van than we get in a car. Hardly anyone spends 11 hours a day in a car, EVERYDAY, but most professional van drivers will spend that in their vans. Lorries are loaded to the gunnels with creature comforts and style inside and out. Why not vans also? Btw, the transit is the king of vans!

  • Kevin

    That rendering is terrible!!!

  • Paul

    Wow that really got nailed with the ugly stick.

  • Nemacolin

    When I win the lottery, the Transit will be the basis for my limo.

  • gdbizns

    Yes designers go off the limits and result is absurd… It’s a commercial vehicle not a starwar ship… Does it need 10 gears? Nahh… And what does everything cost… What about maintenance… Keep it cute it is better so.

    Maybe the front wheel arc shoul be a bit like it is in the mecedes sprinter, not collecting mud on the door and seals…