Powered by the Dagenham-built Ford EcoBlue 2.0-litre diesel engine, the Transit Custom has been re-engineered to offer significant new features and capabilities, including a new ECOnetic variant, delivering improved fuel efficiency and 148 g/km CO2 emissions.
The UK’s best-selling commercial vehicle now sports a new front-end design with three-bar Transit grille, a completely new cabin that offers claimed best-in-class stowage, improved comfort and ergonomics, and connectivity with SYNC 3 or MyFord Dock options. Further technologies introduced to commercial vehicles for the first time include Intelligent Speed Limiter.
“Transit Custom has been a runaway success since it was introduced, and this new version raises the game once more,” said Hans Schep, general manager, Commercial Vehicles, Ford of Europe. “We have listened carefully to our customers, and delivered a one-tonne van that is even more stylish, even more productive, and packed with smart features.”
The new generation Transit Custom sets the scene for Ford’s next major commercial vehicle innovation, with the introduction of the zero-emission capable Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) derivative scheduled for 2019. The PHEV Transit Custom will begin trials with fleet customers in London later this year.
Introduced in late 2012, Transit Custom quickly established itself as Ford’s top-selling commercial vehicle in the UK and across Europe. Total European sales for 2016 were at 118,000 units – a further 15 per cent increase over the previous year’s record – with more than 50,000 of those sales in the UK alone.
Transit Custom was the first of Ford’s expanded all-new Transit line-up to go on sale – later joined by the Transit Courier, Transit Connect and Transit models – and the company says it was a key driver in Ford becoming Europe’s number one commercial vehicle brand in 2015, a leading position it has held ever since.
The new Transit Custom is powered by the state-of-the-art Ford EcoBlue diesel engine, designed, engineered and built at the Dagenham Engine Plant. It was introduced to the range during 2016 with a choice of 104 bhp, 128 bhp and 168 bhp power outputs, and delivers significant claimed cost of ownership and performance benefits compared to the previous 2.2-litre diesel, with fuel-efficiency improved by up to 13 per cent and low-end torque enhanced by 20 per cent.
The updated model now offers a new ECOnetic variant, available for the 300 Series short-wheelbase van, which comes with a 104 bhp engine with a unique calibration and Auto-Stop-Start, low rolling resistance tyres, Ford’s Acceleration Control feature, and a fixed 62 mph speed limiter. The ECOnetic variant delivers 148 g/km CO2 emissions and 49.6 mpg, a further six per cent improvement over the most efficient current vehicle.
The new Transit Custom continues to offer commercial vehicle operators the same breadth of capabilities from a vehicle line-up that includes two roof heights, two wheelbase options, a gross vehicle mass range from 2.6 tonnes to 3.4 tonnes offering payloads up to 1,450kg, and bodystyles including van, kombi and double-cab-in-van.
The new model retains loadspace features such as the load-through hatch in the bulkhead for extra-long items, and the integrated roof rack that can be folded away when not in use.
The latest lighting technologies are available, with high series models featuring distinctive new signature LED daytime running lights and powerful HID Xenon headlamps.
The cabin interior is completely new, with an instrument panel based on Ford’s new interior design philosophy – pioneered on the all-new Fiesta – which offers a user-centric layout that is influenced by consumer interactions with smart devices and tablets.
The new design provides up to 25 litres of space in the instrument panel, including three open bins on its upper surface with space for clipboards or mobile devices, and glove box stowage capable of storing hanging A4 files in the lower closed compartment.
Further new practical features include a fold-out cup holder beneath the gear lever, adding to the cup holders and 2-litre bottle holders at each end of the instrument panel. The door panels have also been completely redesigned for improved stowage and usability, with three large stowage spaces and a practical new grab handle integrated with the decorative door trim.
For the driver, all-new displays and control panels have been designed for enhanced ergonomics and ease of use, and high-series models feature a floating, tablet-inspired eight-inch colour touchscreen with Ford’s SYNC3 communications and entertainment system that can be operated with pinch and swipe gestures.
SYNC 3 will enable Transit Custom drivers to control audio, navigation and connected smartphones using simple, conversational voice commands. Simply by pushing a button and saying “I need fuel”, “I need a coffee”, or “find an address”, drivers can locate nearby fuel stations, cafés, or the location of their next job. The system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
For vehicles not equipped with the larger displays, the MyFord Dock in the centre of the instrument panel provides a location for drivers to mount, store and charge their smartphone, MP3 player or satellite navigation system. USB and 12-volt power sockets are located in the upper stowage bin in front of the driver, and alongside the gear lever, for easy device charging.
Comfort is enhanced by new seat designs featuring revised foam padding and geometry for optimised support, while trim materials have been completely renewed throughout the cabin. This includes seat fabrics that have been subjected to Ford’s toughest-ever abrasion tests.
The new Transit Custom introduces a range of driver assistance features, and Ford says it is the first commercial vehicle to offer Intelligent Speed Limiter, which enables automatic adjustment of maximum vehicle speed to remain within legal limits, using the Traffic Sign Recognition system to detect speed limit signs.
The new model also offers Ford’s Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Alert, which warns drivers reversing out of a parking space of vehicles that may soon be crossing behind them, ideal for vans that often have restricted rearward visibility.
These new features add to the suite of technologies already available for Transit Custom, including the Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection emergency braking system, Lane Keeping Alert, Side Wind Stabilisation and Adaptive Cruise Control.
The latest specification also includes the six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission, and a unique-to-segment rear air suspension system on Kombi M1 models designed to deliver a supple, controlled and level ride across a wide range of load conditions.
Customers can also specify a new Upfitter Interface Module, which allows aftermarket conversions and accessories to access data from the vehicle’s electrical systems, so that they can be operated and controlled more efficiently using real-time vehicle data.
The new Transit Custom range is headed by the 168 bhp Sport series, available in a wide choice of eight different body and seating options including van, kombi and double-cab-in-van models in both short and long wheelbase versions.
The Sport’s signature twin bonnet stripes and exterior body kit have been redesigned for the new model, including distinctive new two-tone stripes in black with orange or silver accents. The sporting style continues inside the cabin with partial leather Ebony interior trim that combines new embossed fabric inserts and leather bolsters.