Meet Ford's perked-up panel vans

Transit Custom range gets a makeover including a sporty flagship version

03 January 2019 - 11:22 By Motoring Reporter
Range-topping Transit Custom Sport allows you to lug cargo in style. Picture: SUPPLIED
Range-topping Transit Custom Sport allows you to lug cargo in style. Picture: SUPPLIED

Hot on the heels of Ford's refreshed Tourneo Custom, the one-ton Transit Custom commercial version is also now enhanced and has gone on sale in South Africa.

The vehicle is offered in two wheelbase lengths, two body styles in the three-seater Panel Van and the six-seater Kombi Van, as well as three trim levels (Ambiente, Sport and Trend).

Armed with a bold new exterior design, the Transit custom’s front end is characterized by a three-bar Transit-specific grille and the latest lighting technologies with daytime running lights and automatically activated quad-beam halogen headlights.

Introduced here early in 2013, the Transit Custom was the first of Ford's expanded all-new Transit line-up to go on sale, later joined by the Transit medium commercial vehicle (MCV) line-up.

The cabin of the latest iteration retains its versatile layout, but is enhanced with an array of useful touches designed for drivers who treat the vehicle like a mobile office during long working hours.

The cabin is enhanced with an array of useful touches designed for drivers who treat the vehicle like a mobile office. Picture: SUPPLIED
The cabin is enhanced with an array of useful touches designed for drivers who treat the vehicle like a mobile office. Picture: SUPPLIED

Interior stowage is provided for by storage compartments located throughout the cabin, including a lidded unit above the instrument panel, large bottle holders on either side of the dashboard, and binnacles within the door panels. The seats have been made more comfortable with improved foam padding and geometry for support, while more durable trim materials are used throughout the cabin.

The new Transit Custom is powered by a choice of three 2.2l TDCi four-cylinder turbodiesel engines, starting off with a 74kW unit in the long wheelbase Ambiente that delivers 310Nm of torque from just 1 300 r/min. A higher-output version is also available, credited with 92kW and 350Nm.

The flagship Transit Custom Sport is powered by the 114kW/385Nm version of this 2.2 engine. Available exclusively in short wheelbase Panel Van configuration, the Transit Custom Sport is decked out in signature twin bonnet stripes, a lower front skirt, unique fog light bezels, body-colour side skirts, rear bumper skirts and wheel arch extensions. The Transit Custom Sport boasts 18-inch alloy wheels with low-profile 235/50 R18 tyres.

The sporting style continues inside the Custom Sport’s cabin with partial leather interior trim that combines new embossed fabric inserts with leather bolsters.

In the Kombi Van range, two spec models are offered, comprising the Ambiente long wheelbase derivative and the higher-specification Trend short wheelbase variant. Both use the 92kW / 350Nm Duratorq TDCi engine, with a six-speed manual transmission common to all models.

Active driving safety across the range includes stability control, dual front airbags, Hill Launch Assist (HLA), Load Adaptive Control (LAC), Roll-Over Mitigation (ROM), and optional Trailer Sway Control (TSC) which is activated with the fitment of a tow bar at a Ford dealer. This is bolstered with ABS brakes including Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD).

The spec box throughout the line up includes front and rear parking sensors with a camera display, aircon, cruise control, remote central locking, and an audio system with Bluetooth, USB and Aux connectivity.

Load-carrying capacity for commercial usage is a gross payload ranging from 1 155kg on the Sport SWB to a hefty 1 505kg on the 92kW Ambiente LWB. Innovative features to enable the lugging of a wide variety of goods include a load-through hatch in the bulkhead for extra-long items up to a maximum length of 3 452mm. Transit Custom LWB models have a maximum load area of up to 6.83m3 up to the full-width steel bulkhead, or 5.95 m3 for the Sport SWB model. Up to eight DIN-compliant tie-down loops are fitted in the load compartment to safely secure loads.

Access to the load area is through the sliding door on the passenger side, with the Kombi Van Trend benefitting from dual side doors - although this can be selected as an option on the other models. The rear-hinged doors open to 180 degrees for ease of access, incorporating a positive stop at 90 degrees and click-lock functionality. Depending on model, the cabin boasts either partial or full rubber insulated floor covers designed for easy cleaning. A sealed easy-clean load floor is supplied in the Sport, and can be ordered as an optional item on the other Panel Van derivatives.

All derivatives are approved for towing a 750kg unbraked trailer, and between 1 300 and 1 800kg for a braked trailer, depending on model.

2019 Ford Transit Custom Pricing:

Panel Van

2.2 TDCi LWB Ambiente 74kW 6MT - R436 000

2.2 TDCi LWB Ambiente 92kW 6MT - R443 400

2.2 TDCi SWB Sport 114kW 6MT - R482 200

Kombi Van

2.2 TDCi LWB Ambiente 92kW 6MT - R480 400

2.2 TDCi SWB Trend 92kW 6MT - R505 500

Prices include a four-year/120 000km warranty, three-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and a six-year/90 000km service plan, with 15 000km service intervals.

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