The new Ford Transit Custom isn’t cheap, but it doesn’t need to be. It sets a new benchmark for compact vans with five star safety and a level of refinement that is extremely close to its passenger car siblings.
Drive it and other vans such as the Hyundai iLoad, the Mercedes-Benz Vito and Toyota HiAce appear dated and under-specified. The Ford Transit Custom is the front-drive one-tonne version of the next generation Transit. The larger capacity rear-drive Transit Cargo will arrive mid-year.
There is also an even smaller Transit Connect available overseas, which would compete with the Renault Kangoo and Volkswagen Caddy. The Ford may demand a premium over the Hyundai, but it is extremely well specified and this helps improve both its safety and refinement.
Front, side and curtain airbags are standard, as is electronic stability control (ESC). These features, along with a body structure design that incorporates super high tensile steel such as boron, saw the Transit score five stars in a Euro NCAP test. The only other van with five star safety is one particular niche Vito model, whereas every Ford Transit is five-star rated.
It is a 2.2-litre four-cylinder common rail turbo diesel. A near-identical engine is fitted to the developed Ranger ute. Some upgrades have been made, including a variable geometry turbo. It is quieter than the engine in the Ranger, with less injector noise.
The engine makes 92kW of power and 350Nm of torque and the official fuel consumption figure for the short wheelbase version is a class leading 7.1L/100km. That inches up to 7.3L/100km for the long wheelbase version.
There is only one engine, with only one tune, which means there’s no petrol unit. That’s okay, though, because this is a perky diesel with the most torque of its four-cylinder rivals, and only slight turbo lag.
Published: Tuesday, February 25, 2014