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Ford Unveils Next-Gen Transit Concept At Geneva

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On: Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 2:53PM | By: Chris Salamone

Ford Unveils Next-Gen Transit Concept At Geneva

Last week, during the Geneva Motor Show, lots of new and old Euro-spec autos paraded the showroom floor. However, one vehicle among the masses stood out as a potential game changer. For too long vans have become something entirely other than cool, often relying on a customer base of peewee baseball Moms and commercial HVAC businesses. But Ford’s newest Tourneo Custom Concept, which debuted during Geneva, looks to change all that. Suddenly band groupies and adventure-seeking road warriors might have a van that is distinctly exciting.

Unfortunately, this newest Ford people mover won’t be sold in North America.

Ford plans to deliver a full production version of the Transit by the end of this year, which will actually function as a flag-bearer for the company’s new lineup of multi-purpose commercial vehicles. While the current Transit Connect, and a few other unmentionables, emphasize commercial pursuits, Ford intends for the next-generation of vans to cater to both demographics (commercial and civilian) – segue juicy details.

The company’s new 2.2-L Duratorq TDCi diesel engine will be offered in three power variants: ranging from 99 to 153 horsepower and a significant amount of currently undisclosed torque. Engines will feature Auto-Stop-Start technology. In conjunction with a six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive system, Ford’s newest Transit aims to achieve best-in-class fuel economy and carlike driving dynamics. Which begs the commonly raised question: why, oh auto-gods, must Europeans have all the fun?

Of course, to wrangle in those increasingly tech-dependent customers, Ford plans to inject SYNC, a rear-view camera, lane departure warning/driver alert system, and all the creature comforts that non-tradesmen expect in a daily driver.

“Customers in the personal use market are demanding much higher levels of technology, performance and handling,” said Barry Gale, chief engineer, Ford of Europe. “This concept shows that we are taking those demands very seriously, and that customers can expect a rewarding and car-like driving experience.”

So, in essence, we’re looking at a future van which features fuel economy, diesel torque, manual shifting, interior storage versatility, and an aesthetic that practically begs for a 1980s reminiscent paint scheme. Perhaps if we scream loud enough, Ford might give North America a shot. Perhaps the day of the van is once again upon us, waiting for American consumers to reach out and request – nay, demand – a fair opportunity to experience vanderlust.

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