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WHAT VAN? AWARDS: Top van industry awards unveiled

Date: 28 May 2013

The Van of the Year is Ford's Transit Custom

The What Van? Awards are renowned as the most prestigious in the light commercial vehicle industry. James Dallas takes a look at the outstanding products in the 2013 list.

The recipient of the 2013 Van of the Year Award from?BusinessCar sister title What Van? is indisputably one of the big beasts of the commercial vehicle industry.

When it broke cover earlier this year, it was apparent the Ford Transit Custom was destined to raise the bar in the medium van sector.

It brings unprecedented style to the segment and offers a refined, engaging driving experience. It also boasts a class-leading, "car-like" interior with quality and equipment unmatched in the CV sector, and introduces practical innovations such as a retractable roof rack and a load-through hatch in the bulkhead to enable the van to carry long pipes and ladders.

Powered by a 2.2-litre diesel engine with power outputs of 100, 125 and 155hp, Ford claims the 100hp Econetic version will deliver best-in-class efficiency, and early reports indicate the Transit Custom's residual values will lead the field too.

The Custom's high style should see owner/drivers proud to park it in their driveways. When good looks and drivability are combined with the practical loading features that reinforce its sound credentials as a working vehicle, the Transit Custom becomes a worthy winner of our sister magazine's Van of the Year prize.

Predictably, the Custom also scooped the top prize in the medium van category ahead of the enduringly excellent Volkswagen Transporter, and a good year for the Blue Oval brand also included its sophisticated, tough and extremely capable new Ranger collecting the top gong in the pick-up sector. Highly Commended in this category was the Isuzu D-max. It is competitively priced, available in four trim levels to suit a wide range of tastes, comes in single-, extended- and double-cab guises and impresses with both brute strength and frugal fuel economy for the sector.