The New Ford Transit Custom – One Tonne Of Dynamism
The launch of the Ford’s all-new Transit Custom at this year’s Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham yesterday marks the next step of a complete transformation of Ford’s global Commercial Vehicle range which will see the entire line-up replaced by 2014. As part of this transformation, Ford have announced that they will be revealing larger and higher payload Transits later in 2012 and that these models will be extensively sold on a global basis, including North America, and will also feature rear-wheel-drive.
But for the moment it’s all about the Custom! It may look a little different (better, I suggest!) but it still has that legendary Transit toughness and value, “combining class-leading load-carrying ability, impressive durability and attractive cost-of-ownership – with best-in-class fuel economy.”
“The Transit Custom is a completely new kind of one-tonne vehicle from Ford,” said Jesus Alonso, director CV Marketing, Sales and Service, Ford of Europe. “This is a stylish, modern van which customers will be proud to have on their driveway, while losing none of the hard-working attitude that they expect from a Transit.
For a change, Ford are seemingly trying to make their transit vans look more like their cars. Read between the lines of what Paul Campbell, chief designer at Ford of Europe, has to say: “Customers want their vehicle to project a modern and professional image, and the new Transit Custom does not disappoint. We have given the vehicle a stylish, modern appearance which will be appreciated by businesses of all sizes. It’s still a Transit, so the superbly practical loadspace is a given, but with its sportier stance and bold rising shoulder line, the Transit Custom makes a powerful new impact.”
But, enough about it’s looks; because when you’re carrying goods you just need to know that it can do it, and it doesn’t matter what it looks like.
The Transit Custom will offer a choice of short wheelbase (SWB - overall length 4.97 metres) and long wheelbase (LWB - overall length 5.34 metres) versions.
With full bulkhead fitted, the maximum load volume is 6 cubic metres – in excess of its closest competitors. The SWB model can carry three Euro pallets loaded to at least one metre high
The load-through hatch in the bulkhead enables loads of up to three metres in length, such as pipes or ladders, to be safely carried.
Wide loads of up to 8 feet x 4 feet (2440mm x 1220mm) can be easily accommodated flat on the floor (or stored vertically if required)
The height and width of the sliding side load doors allow for ease of loading
There is a roof rack system seamlessly integrated into the roof. When not in use, the cross bars can be quickly folded down, reducing drag and fuel consumption, as well as keeping the vehicle height under two metres (with the exception of the 330 series)
Located on the body sides you’ll find tie-down hooks and fixing points, leaving the floor clear for easier loading and cleaning.
And the easy clean load floor liner offers enhanced durability and simple cleaning
“This may be a more stylish Transit, but it’s a more functional Transit too,” said Barry Gale, Commercial Vehicles chief engineer, Ford of Europe. “The additional features we have built into the load space make everyday functions more convenient – so it’s easier for customers to do their job.”
What about driving it? All the goods are loaded in, safely and soundly, tied down and not moving, so let’s go!
They’ve made sure that the cockpit is ‘driver-focused’, which means that the drivers seat can be adjusted, there’s more space for drivers, the steering wheel can be adjusted and there’s storage space for bottles, phones, copies of The Daily Star and The Guardian and bacon butty bags!
And then there is the technology that’s also on Ford’s latest passenger cars, including:
SYNC voice-activated, in-car connectivity system – enables mobile phones and music players to be connected to the vehicle, and operated by voice control
Emergency Assistance – enabled by SYNC, this award-winning new feature is designed to assist occupants to contact the Emergency Services in the event of an accident, providing vehicle location information
Rear-view camera – display integrated into the rear view mirror
Lane Keeping Alert and Driver Alert – latest driver assistance features alert the driver if the system detects the vehicle is inadvertently drifting out of the lane, or the driver is becoming tired behind the wheel
It’s all there for you, all encased in a 37% stiffer framework for safety enhancement. And it’s quieter in the cab too, so you can talk more, if you want to, of course..
And finally, it is cheaper to run with improved fuel economy and reduced CO2 emissions.
Needless to say, the whole vehicle has passed Ford’s ultra-stringent Commercial Vehicle testing and durability standards. Even before the vehicle goes on sale, it will have been driven the equivalent of five million km (three million miles), including at least 400,000km (250,000 miles) with Transit customers. Key components and systems are tested to the limit: for example, doors go through an intensive regime of 250,000 slam cycles, which is three times more punishing than Ford’s equivalent passenger car test. (Don’t worry; that’s not actually YOUR van – a test one has!)
The new Transit Custom: coming to a dealer near you by the end of the year.