Popular van is a versatile load-carrier
FORD’S TRANSIT CUSTOM, A NEW ENTRY INTO THE VAN segment in 2012, quickly became the best-selling version of the evergreen commercial vehicle nameplate.
This year, the mid-sized van gets its most significant upgrade yet.
During the second half of the year, an automatic gearbox will be added to the Custom range. The Selectshift automatic is a sixspeeder, and is sure to boost Transit sales in a market that favours self-shifting gearboxes..
At the same time, Ford will add the latest version of its Sync in-vehicle communication system to the van.
Topping out at just under two metres high, the Custom will fit most city carparks, and its compact footprint – though it shares a platform with the Transit Cargo, it’s smaller and lighter – along with features like the fold-down roof rack, make it a versatile load carrier.
The SWB is 4973mm long and 1974mm high unladen, with the roof rack flat, and can carry a 1170kg payload and tow 2000kg braked.
The LWB is 5340mm long, with a 2369mm height, again unladen and with the rack down, and can carry a 1448kg payload and tow 2750kg.
Both versions arrive standard with a left-hand side sliding door and rear twin-hinged doors, but buyers can opt for dual side-load doors on either variant, and a glazed tailgate with wiper for the SWB.
The Transit Custom is powered by the same 114kw/385nm 2.2-litre diesel engine that’s fitted to all NZ Transits.
It has auto start/stop to cut fuel use in congested traffic. The motor switches off automatically when the vehicle stops, then restarts when the clutch is depressed.
Ford says the Transit Custom is capable of fuel economy of 6.6 or 6.9 litres/100km depending on which size van is chosen; either will carry 80 litres of diesel and is B10 biofuel compatible.
The cabin is deliberately designed to feel like a passenger car’s. There are built-in holders to carry two-litre bottles, roomy door pockets, and a compartment above the dashboard which carries a USB port and a 12-volt power supply and is within easy reach of the driver.
There’s another 12-volt socket in the driver’s stowage bin, a third out back, and the glovebox is roomy enough to carry A4 suspension files.
Car-like tech features include Ford Sync, an in-vehicle communications system co-developed with Microsoft that permits hands-free phone calling, and the ability to receive text messages and play music.
Drivers also get one-touch powered front windows, a leatherwrapped steering wheel, air-conditioning, and follow-me-home lights so that dark winter afternoons or late arrivals back to base are eased by front lights that automatically switch off, but only after the driver has had time to get the key out and unlock the door.
Throw in heated mirrors, front airbags and ABS brakes, stability control, electronic brake force distribution and hill launch assist, a rear window defroster, a seatbelt reminder for the driver, and a five-star NCAP rating.
The cargo area fits three euro pallets or 5.95 cubic metres of cargo, and can hold a stack of standard 2.4 metre by 1.2 metre Gib board, either lying or standing.