To answer your questions...
I drive down to Baja Mexico every September to surf and fish. We end up about 250 miles north of Cabo. Last year I was caught by hurricane Newton at Scorpion Bay. Roads and bridges were washed out not to mention the giant potholes that were created. I waited 5 days for the rivers to recede before crossing. Even in ankle deep water the Transit clearance was
Several times I hit bottom worrying if my transmission or oil pan had taken a direct hit.
I feel with the greater ground clearance I have a better chance of surviving Mexico's roads and environment.
In addition, the larger tire size makes the van look better. (Not that joke of a space-saver front tire. What was Ford thinking?).
The performance and handling is awesome. Much better handling than having the 'Baby Carriage' front tire.
FYI, the van is not 4x4. I choose to avoid the outrages costs that Quigley charges. I've owned 4x4 trucks for over 30 years. In those 30 years I've really needed the 4x4 traction, maybe, six times. Having the dually configuration has been very beneficial. Last year I drove over a hundred miles on soft beach sand and never needed 4x4 traction.
My largest concern is that the Ford Transit Van has no front end tow hooks. Front end tow hooks are much more important than 4x4 equipment. Even 4x4's get stuck. If you do not have front tow hooks than you are S.O.L... (Again, what was the Ford engineering staff thinking?) Even Soccer-Mom's have tow hooks on the front end of their vans.
Before my river crossings, I attached a tow strap to the front axle. Thank God I did not need to be towed due to the fact there is a very important radiator component right at the bottom of the front bumper. Any torque of the tow strap and that would of ruined the radiator.
Yes, my next purchase is a new front bumper with tow hooks.
Hope this info is helpful. It is really worth the invest to get your Transit lifted. Especially with the quality products that Van Compass engineered and manufactures.