Van Review: Ford Transit Custom

Van Review: Ford Transit Custom

Unlike all those befuddled holiday makers desperately trying to return to these shores earlier this summer, PE is never happier than spending as much time as possible hanging around ‘Customs.’

No green channel approach for us here, because every time we climb on board our long-term Ford Transit Custom, we find something new to declare. Over the years we’ve certainly paid our duties in LCV driving terms, travelling to the four corners of the world to seek out new models, but there’s no place like home when it comes to the iconic Transit.

A glowing reputation

Now, well into its seventh decade of unparalleled popularity, it is only outdone in favourite Ford vehicle destinations by the Fiesta and Focus. And lockdown, it seems, has only helped to enhance its glowing reputation, with huge numbers being deployed to keep the nation supplied with home deliveries and, of course, carry out vital repairs and maintenance to over-worked homes. Under the general Transit umbrella, Ford has literally thousands of options to choose from, but it is the mid-sized van offering in the appealing shape of the Custom that dominates this particular domain. It’s been around a decade now but a full face-lift in 2018, and a constant round of updates and revisions, make it the ‘go to’ vehicle for a vast array of multi-tasking small businesses. It’s only when you’re out on the road that you appreciate just how many similarly inclined drivers there are out there going about the daily task of earning the corn. And you can certainly accommodate some sizeable bales of it in the back with payloads ranging between 6.0m3 and 6.8m3 for the mid-size van, and an impressive 8.3m3 for the largest long wheelbase, high roof version. The bulkhead on the regular panel van has a very useful load through facility for longer items under the passenger seat, enabling pipes etc. up to 3m long to be carried safely and away from prying eyes. A sturdy hard rubber floor liner with tie down rings set in the floor and lower walls, are useful in preventing materials from flying around in the back, whilst a number of features, including extra bright LED load area lights and an integrated roof rack capable of carrying up to 350kg are optional extras. We have all had a tendency to put on a few extra pounds during lockdown, of course, so it’s reassuring to know there’s plenty of space in a very accommodating and comfortable three-seater cab with the passenger seats flipping up to reveal hidden compartments that can accommodate a laptop or small toolbox. And, with all those valuables, you’ll want a reliable alarm, with two options as standard on the Limited versions and above.

Manfully employed

Power is provided from a fuel saving Eco Blue 2.0 litre diesel engine which offers four different levels of horsepower and six speed manual or power shift automatic transmission. There’s also a petrol/electric set up with the Transit Custom PHEV, and an all-electric version due for launch in 2023. One thing we’ve discovered over the years is that you are never short of friends when there is a long-term vehicle loan on the PE books and these strange times saw our Custom manfully employed in several house moves, numerous garden clearances, multiple trips to the wholesalers for essential materials and even very pleasant staycations in Cornwall and the lake district involving Kayaks, bikes and tents. And it’s that all round versatility and adaptability – plus, of course, legendary reliability – that makes the Transit the envy of its competitors and helps maintain its own customary position as first in the queue for a passport to future prosperity and success for so many British businesses.

To view a Ford brochure and price list click here

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