Ford Transit 4x4 camper van sets forth on ground-detonating adventure
Thanks in large part to the innovation-loaded 2019 Cliff 4x4 Adventure Van concept and action-packed marketing, the Sunlight Cliff camper van has a reputation for being a little more lively and adventuresome than average. But its Fiat Ducato base has long held the production van back from truly fulfilling the promise of being an all-terrain adventure launchpad. With a more capable Ford Transit base, Sunlight pushes the Cliff to full potential, introducing an upgraded model ready to battle any type of loose, wet or snot-slick terrain on the driver's latest backcountry escapade.
While the original Cliff 4x4 Adventure Van was only a concept, it proved more than an exhibition vehicle, supporting epic adventures like backcountry powder surfing in the Austrian Alps and volcanic mountain biking on Italy's Mount Etna. It's also served as the inspiration behind a family of Cliff "Adventure" models that now welcomes the all-new 4x4 Adventure Edition.
Officially the Cliff 590 4x4 Adventure Edition, the new 235-in (598-cm) Ford Transit camper is quite toned down from the Adventure Van concept. Unsurprisingly, it wholly lacks the more novel and sport-specific features of the concept camper – the integrated wake surf winch, rear-door climbing wall and rooftop hammock lounge are nowhere to be found – but does give nomadic journeymen the basic tools with which to build their own adventures and escapes.
In addition to the Ford all-wheel-drive system adding traction when it's most desperately needed, the 168-hp Cliff 590 4x4 includes 16-in blackout wheels, a larger outdoor awning, and plenty of Adventure 4x4 decals to show off its upgraded capabilities to onlookers.
Inside, the new van looks quite familiar, offering a rear bed layout with a 76 x 58-in (192 x 147-cm) transverse double bed. The kitchen block gets tapered slightly to open up space around the front dinette and sliding side-door entry.
The two-block kitchen still has plenty of room for a dual-burner stove, sink, 70-L compressor fridge and worktop. The van seats four people in transit and at the dinette, but two of them will have to find their own accommodations after dinner – while the Ducato-based Cliff line includes pop-up roof models, there's not yet any mention of a sleeper roof option for the Transit Cliff.
A wet bathroom wedged between the rear bed and front dinette completes the floor plan, ensuring backcountry explorers have everything they need to live comfortably.
Sunlight released the latest details about the new 2023 Cliff 590 4x4 Adventure Edition in late June but did not specify a launch date or pricing, saying only that the van will be available in the near future for "an unbeatable price/performance ratio." We do know that the non-AWD Fiat Ducato-based 2022 Cliff 600 Adventure Edition starts at €50,199 (approx. US$51,125), and since the 4x4 version comes with significant extra performance by way of its 168-hp all-wheel drive powertrain, Sunlight can probably justify tacking a decent chunk of change on top of that price and still feel quite good about the price/performance ratio being "unbeatable."
We'll look for more details as this year's Düsseldorf Caravan Salon approaches, but in the meantime, enjoy a quick video of a pro rally driver putting the Cliff 590 4x4 through the wringer in the varied unspoiled wilds of Albania.