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Ford Transit Custom Van Review

5 Stars (819 Reviews)
  • Transit Custom example 1
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  • Blazer Blue

  • Deep Impact Blue

  • Frozen White

  • Magnetic

  • Moondust Silver

  • Race Red

  • Shadow Black

  • Stratosphere

  • Tectonic Silver

Latest Reviews

  • Christopher Mcmanus - 14/11/2018

    The van is amazing it's great to drive.

    5 Stars
  • Mark Watson - 14/11/2018

    Great to drive

    5 Stars
  • Neil Pickard - 13/11/2018

    I’ve used transits for over twenty years and have always found them to be reliable. I’m unlikely to consider any alternative.

    4 Stars
Read more reviews
  • Handling: STARS
  • Comfort: STARS
  • Quality: STARS
  • Reliability: STARS
  • Performance: STARS
  • Practicality: STARS
  • Running Costs: STARS
  • Value for Money: STARS

Our Review

Ford Transit Custom 290 SWB Trend 125PS Review

It's all change for Britain's best selling medium sized van. The iconic Transit remains extremely popular and has already netted Auto Express’s Van of the year accolade, so no surprises that it accounts for almost one in five of all new vans sold and has set a bench mark against which other vans are judged. So, getting it right with this new generation Transit has been crucial.

But what exactly is the Transit Custom, you may be asking? Well in order to differentiate the range, Ford is splitting the Transit line-up so that the standard one tonne model is now renamed Transit Custom, while the bigger two tonne models will remain just Transit. Our Custom is in Trend trim – above Base but below Limited and Sport – and powered by the 125hp version of the newcomer’s 2.2-litre TDCi diesel.

At a glance

This latest Transit shares the new Ford ‘kinetic design’ styling. We've seen it on Ford cars like the latest Focus and the Fiesta and its adoption onto the van range has been surprisingly successful from an aesthetic point of view too. The Transit Custom certainly has a more up market appearance than the previous version, although it has perhaps lost a little of its angular and rugged charm.

The Transit Custom tested here looks entirely different from its predecessor. Gone are the rather chunky, utilitarian looks of the Mk5, to be replaced by stylish curves and an almost car-like ride and handling package. In fact, everything but the engine, transmission and suspension has been replaced with new parts – and even those items carried over have been heavily modified.

Engines and spec.

The Transit Custom’s 2.2-litre Duratorq TDCi engine is available with 100bhp, 125bhp and 155bhp outputs, driving through a six-speed manual gearbox to the front wheels. All models deliver a claimed 39-42mpg combined fuel economy figure, with emission levels of 178-189g/km of CO2, which compares well with its competitors. Ford customers can opt for dedicated ECOnetic Transit Custom vans in both short and long wheelbases, or an ECOnetic Technology pack on most models in the range. The ECOnetic models use a specially calibrated 100bhp engine with auto start-stop, smart regenerative charging – where the alternator works harder when the van is braking or decelerating, using less engine power during acceleration – a gear-change indicator in the dash, a switchable speed limiter, a battery management system and aerodynamic wheel trims. The result is a claimed fuel consumption of up to 46.3mpg and CO2 emissions of just 162g/km. Service intervals have been set at a market-leading two years or 30,000 miles and Transit Custom is covered by a three-year/100,000-mile warranty.

At the wheel

Clamber in to the cab of the new Transit Custom and you could think that you were behind the wheel of a Mondeo. Interior quality is a big step up and Ford has gone to great lengths to ensure that the Custom is more car-like, with the aim of making the van appeal to a wider market. High quality materials are used throughout and the cabin feels like it will endure wear and tear well. Comfort is first class, thanks to supportive, if slightly high, seats and a range of adjustments that includes steering wheel tilt and reach.

There’s plenty of space, with seating for three in the front, and a range of useful storage compartments dotted around. One neat touch is a small recess just ahead of the gear lever which can be used to hold mobile phones in an accessible location. The interior of the Transit Custom is refined and quiet and it’s only when the vehicle is heavily laden that engine noise intrudes noticeably. Visibility from the cab is excellent as well, making the van easy to manoeuvre. Both front doors open very wide, making getting in and out easy and buyers will also be pleased with the amount of standard equipment and the range of advanced options which can help reduce driver stress and fatigue.

On the road

It’s hard to fault the way the Transit Custom drives and rides. The engines are smooth and flexible and power is transmitted to the front wheels via a slick and precise six-speed manual gearbox. An automatic start-stop system is fitted, to help reduce fuel consumption, and it operates quickly and unobtrusively.

On the road the Transit Custom impresses. Its controls are all well weighted and precise and even negotiating your way through busy streets is easy and stress-free. The handling is good, more reminiscent of a car than a van, and the brakes are powerful and effective. The ride quality is excellent which, in conjunction with the quiet cabin and supportive seats, means driving for long distances isn’t tiring or frustrating.

You can fit three Euro pallets in the rear of the Transit Custom and it’s easier to see what’s going on inside thanks to LED lights. This simple change makes the Custom ten times more practical than others straight away. Even the SWB version can carry 3-metre long items inside the cargo area and can also tow trailers starting at 2,000kg. And if the trailer sways, the van senses this and reduces the engine torque and also applies the brakes to the appropriate wheels to help stop the sway. Clever stuff! The brochure says it has Hill Start Assist, but what this actually means is the van won’t roll backwards down a slope when you take your foot off the power to go for the brake. It works in forward and reverse gears too.

There’s no dirty fuel cap to unscrew because it has Ford’s new cap-less fuelling point with a safeguard to stop you from putting a petrol nozzle in. Need to fill up from a jerry can? Thoughtfully, Ford has put a special plastic funnel in the glove box especially for this eventuality.

Our Verdict

Ford’s latest Transit Custom is the most practical one-tonne panel van yet. It feels good to drive, and even better to look at, but more importantly the Custom has some very thoughtful additions which will make ownership and time on the road in the van so much more enjoyable.

Our man with a van

Adrian Foster

Motoring journalist Adrian Foster has been commissioned to write impartial van and pick up reviews for our website, specifically to help with your decision making process. We have provided him with a van and the spec and nothing more, so you can rely on his views being real and honest.

Adrian began his career in the motor retail industry with Perry’s Group before turning his hand to motoring journalism. He launched the Drivelines motoring press agency as a means of providing high quality journalism on new cars, commercial vehicles, motorsport and the motor industry at large.

Customer reviews

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