Launched in 2012, the Transit Custom was introduced by Ford to differentiate its larger models from the medium-sized products that also have to compete in the private and executive people moving markets. For that reason the Transit line-up was split into two segments, the first time the Transit has been seperated between the medium and heavy van sectors since its launch in 1965.
The new Transit Custom is available as both a van and as a Tourneo Custom passenger model, spanning the 2.5t to 3.3t gross vehicle weight range and offering payloads of between 683kg to 1,484kg. There are two load lengths and two vehicle heights which return load volumes of between 6m³ and 8.3m³.
The UK designed and built 2.2 litre Duratorq engines are one of the few things that remain the same. Power ratings have been increased slightly and the entry power level is now 100hp (310Nm), followed by the 125hp (350Nm) and the range topping 155hp (385Nm). All engines are coupled with a six speed manual gearbox.
The entry models return a respectable 42.2mpg on the combined cycle, and ECOnetic versions can cut fuel consumption and emissions even further with the likes of stop-start technology.
Unlike the previous model, there will be no rear wheel drive available with this particular Transit, although there is expected to be an option on the larger Transit when that is launched.
With the size divisions split, the Transit Custom covers the 6m³ to 8.3m³ ranges, which means it starts from a larger size than the previous generation, and even its biggest competitor, the Transporter.
The load volumes correspond to the two load heights (1406mm and 1754mm) and two load lengths (2555mm and 2922mm), so even the shorter version can now accommodate 8x4 sheets and three euro pallets, which Ford say was a major customer request. Certain items, such as pipes, of over three metres long with the new loadthrough storage area.
The broader design means that the panel to panel width has increased to 1775mm, while width between the wheelarches remains the same at 1390mm..
A full height, full width soundproofed bulkhead is standard. What’s more, the Custom also boasts the lowest loading height and widest rear door aperture of any vehicle in its class.
The Custom has a total of five nominal GVW’s, ranging from 2.5 tonne to 3.3 tonne. Respective payloads range from 683kg to 1484kg, whilst trailer capacity remains at a standard 2 tonne.
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Ford has really exerted its brand identity into its new range of commercials. The steering wheel and central console controls are reminiscent of what already fitted in the rest of the Ford range.
The comfortable, spacious cab features an abundance of clever storage compartments, and concealed ones too, like under the passenger seat and under the instrument panel. The driver’s seat is fully adjustable with an armrest, while heated seats and lumbar support are optional.
A nifty extra option is Ford SYNC. This is a voice operated system that allows control over your hands-free telephone, MP3 or iPod, and Emergency assistance, which allows you to telephone emergency services if you’ve had an accident.
On The Road
The engineers have made a great job of taking the ride quality of the Custom to the next level. Not only are the engines quiet, but the standard soundproofed bulkhead does a great job of suppressing the unwanted road noise.
The transmission provides a smooth application of power from the new, gutsier and more torquey range of diesel engines.
We tested it around the windy country roads of Northamptonshire, and the existing suspension system maintains its great level of stability going into the corners with good feedback, albeit with a fully laden cargo area.
Following on from the accolades of the Ranger, the Custom is the first and only vehicle it’s class to earn the 5 star NCAP safety certificate.
With the rain sensor wiper package, you also get automatic headlights that turn themselves on when the light fades or you enter a tunnel. There’s also an array of other optional safety features like Lane Keeping Alert, Quickclear heated windscreen and auto high-beam.
Cost of Ownership
Prices start from a very reasonable £17,495 + VAT. This comes inclusive of a fairly sub-standard three year or 100,000 mile warranty, with no unlimited mileage option. Service intervals, on the other hand, are a lengthy 30,000 miles or two years, with an interim recommended at 15,000 miles or one year.
The Custom’s attractive appearance, comfortable drive and low running costs will no doubt make this a popular choice amongst the medium panel van buyers. Its elevated status now means the Transit pitches up against the Transporter and Vito at the premium end of the market.