Road Test Blocks
It’s a sector that everyone expects will grow, but the arrival of the Ford Courier in the microvan segment will cause significant upset, particularly for the likes of Fiat, Peugeot and Citroen.
Their joint venture Fiorino, Bipper and Nemo models introduced panel vans to this end of the market, providing a larger alternative to car-derived vans like the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa, while still covering the same footprint.
Based on the same B-segment platform as the Fiesta, the Courier completes Ford’s overhaul of its line-up with four new Transit-badged models, offering GVWs from the 1.8-tonne Transit Courier to the 4.7-tonne new Transit.
Measuring 4.16m in length, the Transit Courier is just 200mm longer than the Fiesta van, but provides a maximum payload of 660kg compared to the Fiestavan’s 485kg, and a maximum load volume of 2.3m³, 1.3m³ more than the Fiesta. There is just one wheelbase option available, however, the optional folding bulkhead with collapsible passenger seat increase the maximum load length, extending it from 1.62m, to up to 2.59m.
First Drive Impressions
Power comes from Ford’s Dagenham engine plant, with two diesel engines, a 1.5-litre 74hp and a 1.6-litre 93hp diesel, lining up alongside the 1-litre 99hp EcoBoost petrol engine. All three engines are available with auto stop/start but it is the higher powered diesel that returns the best claimed fuel consumption with a 74.3mpg figure. In terms of performance, it is also the best on the road, proving particularly spritely throughout the rev range. While the EcoBoost petrol draws the headlines for its low volume and impressive power output, its diesel alternatives do a much better job of effortlessly propelling the Courier. Even when fully laden, the Courier is still a light van, and whether powered by the 74hp or 93hp unit, there is sufficient torque available low down in the rev range to allow the driver to make progress without having to resort to burying their right foot. By contrast, the Ecoboost demands that you look higher up the rev range for the power, provoking a characterful engine note from the little three-cylinder, to the detriment of fuel economy.
Behind the wheel, the Courier feels sharp and firmly connected to the road, the passenger car platform contributing a composed and precise driving experience. It’s an agile van but given that this is the smallest model in the Transit range it actually feels like quite a weighty vehicle. Around a city environment the Courier’s steering is ideally weighted to make threading your way down busy streets an effortless task, and on the motorway it is firm enough to allow you to relax into the journey and not have to fight against the road.
Ford will offer the new Courier with their voice activated Ford SYNC connectivity system, as well as a standard cabin that includes a device dock for charging mobile devices and A4 document storage.