FORD tran­sit Cus­tom

Deals on Wheels - - Van Comparison -

Apart from my al­ready stated bias to­ward the Ford, be­cause it has a prop­erly spelt name, I do have to ad­mit to be­ing rather im­pressed with the lit­tle Tran­sit when it first lobbed onto the Aus­tralian mar­ket.

In fact, I’m more per­plexed Ford doesn’t sell more of them. The Tran­sit name was once a huge pres­ence on the Aussie LCV mar­ket, yet in sales terms these days it’s not ex­actly set­ting the world on fire.

The Tran­sit Cus­tom uses a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel en­gine that makes 92kW (123hp) and a de­cent 350Nm from 1450rpm. Like its other Euro­pean com­peti­tor the Trafic, the Ford is only avail­able in six-speed man­ual form. And like the Renault, the Tran­sit is also front-wheel drive.

Our SWB Cus­tom had 5.95 cu­bic me­tres of room in the back and could carry a pay­load of 1032kg. It will also tow a max­i­mum braked trailer load of 2,500kg.

The Tran­sit is avail­able with only one slid­ing door on the left, and is equipped with barn doors at the back. There’s enough room for an Aussie pal­let be­tween the wheel arches, but as with the com­pe­ti­tion, not through the side door.

The Ford comes with a pretty de­cent ar­ray of stan­dard kit, in­clud­ing six airbags, the full suite of elec­tronic sta­bil­ity gizmos to stop you crash­ing, and trailer sway con­trol. Again, to stop you crash­ing your trailer.

Our test ve­hi­cle was fit­ted with the $1500

City Pack, which adds park­ing sen­sors and a re­verse cam­era to the par­cel carter. An­other nifty stan­dard fea­ture is the flip up roof racks, which are rated to 130kg.

And like the Renault, there’s also a flip up flap in the cargo bay bulk­head to al­low long items to be loaded though into the stor­age bin un­der the pas­sen­ger seat. This means that long skinny ob­jects up to 3.0m long can be poked through the bulk­head.

On step­ping into the Tran­sit, you are greeted by an in­te­rior that will be fa­mil­iar to any­one who has sat in a new Ford ve­hi­cle. Con­trols and lay­out are all Ford global fam­ily, and have a car-like feel to the lay­out.

The Tran­sit also uses Ford’s Sync multi-me­dia

sys­tem, which will also call 000 in the ad­vent of a se­vere ac­ci­dent. A lid­ded stor­age tray with 12V out­let sits above the ana­logue in­stru­ment clus­ter.

A handy cup holder sits be­side it within easy reach, and a good-sized bot­tle holder sits off to right of the steer­ing col­umn. The mid­dle seat also flips down into quite a us­able con­sole. There’s lots of smart, us­able stor­age in the Tran­sit.

The 2.2-litre turbo diesel has the low­est power out­put of all the vans in this com­par­i­son, yet driv­ing them all back-to-back, you’d be hard pressed to no­tice it. Peak torque comes on tap at a rel­a­tively low 1450-2000rpm, which has the lit­tle Ford pulling quite well from a stand­still loaded or empty. The six-speed man­ual has an easy shift that is light in the hand.

On the open road or around town, the Tran­sit is a very pleas­ant lit­tle ve­hi­cle to drive. The Du­ra­torq en­gine is a smooth and rea­son­ably quiet pow­er­plant that de­liv­ers grunt in a smooth, us­able way. In fact, the Tran­sit is re­ally quite a zippy lit­tle num­ber.

The Ford Tran­sit Cus­tom has a list price of $37,490, add an­other $1500 for the City Pack. The Tran­sit is also cov­ered by Ford’s 3-year, 100,000km war­ranty.

The Du­ra­torq en­gine is a smooth and rea­son­ably quiet pow­er­plant that de­liv­ers grunt in a smooth, us­able way.

1. Room for nearly 6 cu­bic me­tres in­side

2. The Tran­sit in­te­rior is very car-like and has plenty of stor­age.

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