"The Ford Transit Custom gets a mid-life nip and tuck for 2018, with lower CO2 emissions and better fuel economy. Admittedly, it might not look dramatically different, but peer under the metal and you'll discover the Ford's van is better and smarter than ever before"
As you look at the new Ford Transit, it is full of subtle changes. Maintaining what was loved about the original and introducing ingenuity to the design and construction.
With improved airflow through the new grille and new panels built in sections - in the case of scrapes or bumps in the everyday life of a working vehicle, it can be repaired and replaced cheaply and easily.
Inviting current owners to the development centre, generated a wish list of features; a list dominated by storage. Opening up the front cabin has increased space, added large storage bins in the dash for laptops and clipboards, and created multiple storage options for all useful items like drinks, bottles and all your other daily accessories.
At its heart the Ford Transit Custom is still durable, with increased quality of interior plastic, not forgotten is the need for a tough wearing material. Able to withstand the repetitive muddy boot graze, brush of tools and the odd whack from a two by four; even the smallest pieces of trim are resilient and sturdy.
And with durability, comes practicality in the form of a newly designed glovebox - still perfectly capable to handle gloves, but moulded to easily store important A4 documents flat, secured and safe from the outside conditions.
All this talk of durable plastic, and tough trim, would suggest a rigid interior. But oh, no this is "one of the most comfortable of any van on sale right now". The supportive seats are ideal for long journeys, positioning the driver in the ideal situation to utilise the new 8" touch-screen as seen on the All New Fiesta and New Ford EcoSport, able to follow Sat-Nav, play and control music and use hands-free calling.
And the new technology doesn't stop there. With autonomous safety solutions, like lane-keeping alert, adaptive cruise control with side wind protection for a large sided vehicle and BLIS systems to warn what other drivers are doing around you, "it's all very impressive".
Load dimensions remain the same but with some much needed design and functionality elements to improve the van experience. With a maximum loadspace of 6 - 8.3 m3 and the ability to conceal items up to 3m in length along the floor-base by an openable compartment under the front cabin seating - there are both security and functionality features abundant on this New Ford Transit Custom model.
Operational vehicle mass ranges from 2.6 - 3.4 tonnes, with peak payloads at 1450kg. The single sliding door is standard and rear doors will lock at 90 degrees to protect from side winds.
With loadspace lamps as standard fitted in the roof, to make it even better upgrade the ultra-bright LED lighting for greater light coverage and a fantastic work space.
Steering is still "light and responsive" as engine noise has been decreased "to a distant hum" and "vibrations through the steering wheel and pedals [are] minimal". A full day driving is described as a comfortable experience, much of what was the aim for the New Transit.
The Euro6 2L EcoBlue offers 105PS, 130PS & 170PS with a six speed manual and Select Shift automatic.
"The sweet spot in the range is the 130PS diesel automatic with...its 385Nm of torque making short work of one-tonne payloads"
As the most economical option, the 2L EcoBlue holds 49.6mpg with 148g/km Co2 emissions for the 105PS Econetic, using low resistance tyres and acceleration control to adapt to load conditions saving fuel and engine wear.
However as reviewed, the 130PS engine has a "strong[er] pulling power in low gears" whilst maintaining 39.2mpg at 187g/km Co2 with the high roof and long wheelbase options.
"Impressive, practical and easy to use, the Ford Transit Custom raises its game for 2018 and remains the one to beat in the medium-size panel van market"