When Ford announced earlier this year that a then-unspecified diesel engine would be among the powertrain options offered in its full-size Transit van, the smart money was on a federalized version of the 3.2-liter Duratorq inline-five already serving in the Transit and the Ranger in overseas markets. Scheduled to go on sale late next year as a 2014 model, the full-size Transit—not to be confused with the smaller Transit Connect or the Transit Connect Wagon passenger van—will offer the turbo-diesel along with several gasoline engine options, all mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. For the U.S. market, Ford dropped the Duratorq name in favor of its Power Stroke moniker in hopes of aligning the new five-cylinder diesel with the popular and long-running V-8 diesels currently found in Ford’s full-size pickups.

Assembled in Ford’s Struandale engine plant in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, the 3.2-liter diesel produces 197 hp and 347 lb-ft of torque in European specification—expect those numbers to carry over when the van arrives stateside. With 90 percent of peak torque available from 1,700 to 3,500 rpm, the inline-five diesel’s torque curve is as flat as the landscape surrounding the Kansas City plant where they’ll be assembled.

  • Short Take Road Test: 2010 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
  • Feature Test: 2010 Ford Transit Connect
  • Short Take Road Test: 2012 Nissan NV 2500 SV High Roof

It’s worth noting that said facility also cranks out Ford’s popular F-150 pickup, a high sales-volume vehicle that could benefit greatly from a modern, lightweight, and efficient diesel. Although it wouldn’t win any races so equipped, it could be a step in helping Ford achieve those pesky CAFE requirements. Pressed for comment, Ford replied, “We are only talking about Transit now.”

By Andrew Wendler

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