Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Ford Transit Test Drive Review
Cookies on Businesscar

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Business Car website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookies at any time

BusinessCar magazine website email Awards mobile

The start point for the best source of fleet information

Ford Transit Test Drive Review

Date: 06 August 2014   |   Author: James Dallas

Ford's mission to renew its entire LCV line-up within 18 months brings us to the launch of the new generation of its full-size Transit.

For the first time, Ford has made a clear distinction between its medium and heavy Transit vans. The former, the Custom, has already been on sale for more than a year and is a very different looking van, largely because the manufacturer has designed the two-tonne model with an eye on the North American market.

The new Transit is offered with front-, rear- or all-wheel drive and uses the same three 2.2-litre diesel powertrains as the Custom. These come with outputs of 100, 125 and 155hp (Ford has also added two Euro 6-compliant engines with outputs of 125hp and 155hp).

The frugal 125hp TDCi-based Econetic range has expanded to six models, and a six-speed manual gearbox is standard across the full Transit range, which offers a choice of two wheelbases. Gross vehicle weights range from 3.1 tonnes to 4.7 tonnes, load space spans from 9.6m³ to 15.1m³ on the Jumbo derivative, a 10% improvement across the line-up over the current van, according to Ford, and payloads start at 940kg, rising to 2281kg. Panel vans are up for grabs in three lengths (L2, L3, L4) and two heights (H2, H3).

Ford expects a 50/50 split between FWD and RWD Transits with AWD vans accounting for up to 400 sales. The firm also says about 85% of Transit panel vans going to large fleets will be specced in Base trim, but as these were not available on the international launch we drove a RWD L3 H3 Trend van with power coming from the 2.2L 125hp drivetrain.

Out on the road, the van immediately impresses. With a half-load in the back the ride is commendably smooth and very little road noise encroaches into the cabin, even at motorway speeds, with the 125hp engine providing more than enough power to keep the big van gliding comfortably along. The six-speed manual transmission is exceptionally slick and precise for a van and ranks with the best in the sector, while the steering is outstandingly crisp.

Inside, the gear lever is positioned on the dash and is comfortably reachable for the driver while also enabling occupants to move easily across the three-person seat. There is ample head and shoulder space for the driver and passengers, and the large, steeply raked windscreen affords good vision ahead while the wing mirrors with wide-angle sections are generous in size.

It does get a little cosy in the cabin, however, when travelling with two average-sized passengers in the front seats, which are fixed upright to the bulkhead and may not be too comfortable on long journeys. The interior provides decent stowage, a 230V power socket and two 12V power points. The middle seat holds a fold-out work surface with two cup holders.

The instrument panel is pleasantly easy to fathom and stylishly designed, having been adopted from the Ford car range, and the steering wheel incorporates controls for cruise control, which is standard on Trend models, and the media system.

The L3 H3's load space is accessed through twin rear doors, while a 525mm rear bumper step eases entry into the cargo box. The van also has side-loading sliding doors with an opening width of 1300mm.
According to Ford, the vehicle has seen a significant uplift in residual values compared with the previous model. The new Transit 350 L3 H3 125HP RWD, which could well be the most popular derivative, is projected to be worth £11,925 after three years/60,000 miles - a jump of £2575 compared with the current 350L high-roof equivalent.

Ford claims its chief rival, the new Mercedes Sprinter, will achieve a more modest rise over its predecessor of £250 during the same period to £12,375.