History, they say, has a habit of repeating itself. Sometimes, mainly for those who failed to realise their errors and correct them, it comes as slap in face. For others it is a welcome return to something known, loved and appreciated – this applicable to the return of the Transit name to the Ford stable locally.
Back in the mid-sixties the Ford Transit van was manufactured at the company’s plant in Port Elizabeth and, at the time, was just about the only panel van available on the local market. Life happened and the Transit name vanished from the scene in South Africa while it continued to develop and grow, particularly in the UK, where it consistently topped the sales charts for years.
Now reintroduced to the local market, the Transit – and its people-carrier sibling, the Tourneo – represent a completely new generation of Ford one-ton vehicles and an important step in Ford’s commitment to expanding its presence in the commercial vehicle line-up.
With its bold new design, car-like interior and outstanding driving dynamics, the Ford Transit Custom will appeal to a broad range of professionals, skilled tradesmen and small businesses.
“The Transit Custom is a welcome introduction to the South African market,” says Gavin Golightly, marketing manager, Ford South Africa. “This is a stylish, modern van that customers will be proud to have in their driveway. At the same time it’s up for the tasks required by this segment.”
The Transit Custom features a bold exterior design, which embodies the same dynamic character as Ford’s kinetic design passenger cars.
“Customers want their vehicle to project a modern and professional image, and the new Transit Custom does not disappoint,” adds Golightly. “We have given the vehicle a stylish, modern appearance that will be appreciated by businesses of all sizes.”
Signature kinetic design features help to give the Transit Custom its unique character, including the bold trapezoidal grille, strong, muscular shoulder line and prominent wheel lips.
The Transit Custom is available in a choice of short wheelbase (4,97 metres) and long wheelbase (5,34 metres) versions, so customers can select the amount of load space that best suits their business.
In addition to offering maximum load volume (6,0 m3 SAE with full bulkhead fitted, 6,.8 m3 SAE with LWB) that exceeds that of its closest competitors, the load area of the Transit Custom has been carefully optimised to offer more space and more convenience than any of its rivals.
The optimised bulkhead and load space design enables the SWB model to carry three Euro pallets loaded to at least one metre high, while the load-through hatch in bulkhead enables loads up to three metres in length (3,4 m with LWB), such as pipes or ladders, to be safely carried inside the vehicle.
There is a deployable integrated roof rack system that seamlessly integrates into the roof, and can be deployed when required, while repositioned tie-down hooks and fixing points located on the body sides, leave the floor clear for easier loading and cleaning.
To provide customers with a wide range of payload options from 600 kg -1 400 kg, Transit Custom is available with multiple GVM options.
“Designers sought to design the load space that would make everyday functions more convenient – so it’s easier for customers to do their job,” says Golightly.
The Transit Custom and the Tourneo bring car-like driver appeal to its segment with an interior designed with the driver in mind, advanced technologies and outstanding driving dynamics.
The modern, driver-focused cockpit features a sculpted instrument panel, which combines stylish looks with smart stowage solutions for bottles, phones and papers. Driver comfort is significantly enhanced through a highly adjustable driving position, which features ample seat travel and a steering column adjustable for reach and rake.
Once behind the wheel, the driver can call upon a wide range of available driver assistance technologies also featured in Ford’s latest passenger cars.
These include the Ford SYNC voice-activated, in-car connectivity system, Lane Keeping Alert, Driver Alert, Auto High Beam and Hill Launch Assist.
To achieve a driving experience not unlike that on the passenger car range, engineers developed the new Ford global one-ton platform, which underpins the Transit Custom to make it much stiffer and stronger – increasing torsional stiffness by as much as 37% – benefitting both handling and noise levels.
The Transit Custom achieved a maximum five-star safety rating from independent vehicle safety organisation Euro NCAP.
To maximise occupant protection, the Transit Custom features an optimised body structure, which features ultra-high-strength Boron steel. In total, 40% of the body is made from high-strength or ultra-high-strength steels, resulting in a strong and light body that is designed to offer high levels of crash protection.
The Transit Custom also features an enhanced restraint system, which now gives customers the option of specifying a passenger air bag for front seat occupants, in addition to the standard fitment driver air bag. On the Tourneo, curtain air bags are standard for the front seat occupants, together with driver and passenger air bags and seat-mounted side thorax air bags.
As on Ford’s latest passenger cars, a non-axial stroking steering column is also fitted, to help reduce loads on the occupant’s head and chest in the event of a high-speed frontal impact.
Both models are fitted with the 2,2-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel engine and offered in three variations. The 74 kW model offers 310 Nm of torque from just 1 300 r/min, the 92 kW version offers 350 Nm at 1 450 r/min while the high-powered 114 kW version offers 385 Nm at 1 600 r/min.
“The Tourneo Custom offers the kind of style and performance that will have a very broad appeal, particularly to personal use customers looking for a spacious and versatile vehicle,” says Golightly. “It’s a fantastic-looking people mover – inside and out – and offers outstanding day-to-day practicality while still being great to drive.”
“Designers set out to create a clean, modern silhouette. With its sporty stance, bold rising shoulder line and flush glazing, the Tourneo Custom brings something fresh and exciting to this class of people mover.”
Signature kinetic design features help to give the Tourneo Custom its character, including the bold trapezoidal grille, strong and muscular shoulder line, prominent wheel lips and window lines with the distinctive kick at the rear.
The eight-seater Tourneo Custom is available in a 2 933 mm short wheelbase version (4,97 metres), and a 3 300 mm long wheelbase (5,34 metres), both of which provide generous space for people and luggage. The additional length of the LWB version translates into extra luggage space behind the third seat row.
At a height of less than 2,0 metres, the Tourneo Custom also comfortably complies with most car park height limits. This advantage is retained when the vehicle is fitted with the deployable integrated roof rack system, which is seamlessly integrated into the roof and can easily be raised or lowered when required.
Tourneo Custom models offer twin side sliding doors as standard, with running boards below the doors for improved low level step access, as well as a strong visual differentiation. A lift gate is fitted as standard at the rear.
The seats in the two rear rows can be easily folded into multiple configurations and removed in segments or completely – in total there are 30 seating permutations to suit any occasion. All seating positions provide integral three-point lap and shoulder style seat belts.
Air-conditioning is a standard fitment for front seat occupants while a separate air-conditioning unit for the rear compartment is available as part of an option pack. Also available is Ford’s SYNC voice-activated, in-car connectivity system that enables mobile phones and music players to be connected to the vehicle and operated by voice control.
Customers can select from either Ambiente trim or the higher specced Trend trim based on individual requirements. The Trend models feature, SYNC, electrically operated mirrors, cruise control, 16” alloy wheels and more as standard equipment.
The Transit Custom comes with a 4-year/120 000 km comprehensive warranty. Service intervals are every 15 000km with a Service Plan available as a dealer option. The Tourneo Custom comes with a 5-year/90 000 km Service Plan and 3-year /unlimited km Roadside Assistance.
Reprinted, with permission, from Fleet Magazine