Ford Revolutionises One-Ton Van Productivity with the New Transit Custom

Ford South Africa has commenced the introduction of the new Transit Custom commercial vehicle range with the launch of the Base Long Wheelbase Van initially, with additional derivatives to follow later this year.

The next generation of Europe’s best-selling one-ton van is designed to help small and medium businesses reduce cost of ownership, work more effectively and achieve new levels of productivity. Ford engineers developed a new platform designed to optimise load carrying and access, improve driver comfort and convenience, and deliver outstanding performance and handling, while delivering uncompromised cargo space.

“The Transit Custom is designed and developed in Europe, where it is the top-selling van and the best-selling vehicle overall in the UK, so it has a proven pedigree of being trusted by business owners to enhance their productivity,” says Doreen Mashinini, General Manager for Marketing at Ford South Africa.

“Ford pulled out all the stops to deliver another huge leap forward for our customers,” Mashinini says. “The new generation Transit Custom’s ground-up customer-led design will set a new benchmark for what small and medium businesses can expect from a commercial vehicle.”

The Transit Custom launches in South Africa with the Base Long Wheelbase Van initially. 

New platform, new level of productivity

Before Ford designers began sketching the new Transit Custom, the company’s D-Ford in-house human-centred design lab spent years engaging with business customers to research their needs and pain points, and identify innovative solutions to help improve productivity.

Underpinning the Transit Custom is a new platform designed around optimum load carrying, access, performance and powertrain flexibility. The clean-sheet design is stiffer and 100 kg lighter than that of the previous-generation vehicle, and features a lengthened wheelbase for optimum cargo capacity.

To maximise fuel efficiency, the new model’s body design was developed using extensive aerodynamic simulation, and together with a reduced frontal area, resulted in a CdA up to 13 percent lower than that of the previous-generation model. The vehicle architecture was optimised to help achieve an overall height of under two metres, to improve access in height-restricted areas such as multi-storey car parks, garages and underground loading bays.

A larger side load door aperture enhances loading, and the side door features a new integrated access step to make entering the load compartment even easier. Optimised packaging of the chassis and body structure enable the vehicle’s load floor to be lower than that of the outgoing model to facilitate loading cargo and cab access.

As a large-capacity panel van, Transit Custom offers a total load volume of 5.8m3 with the standard roof height, along with a payload up to 1 269kg and a maximum load length of
3 050mm using the smart load-through feature under the passenger seats.

Practical features are found throughout the load compartment, including a full-width metal bulkhead with a window and load-through hatch, six load area tie-down loops, partial rubber floor covering, twin 180-degree opening rear barn doors and ultra-bright LED interior lighting. Buyers can also opt for an optional load area protection kit with full height walls and a moulded floor. The voluminous load compartment can accommodate up to three standard Euro pallets, while the vehicle’s maximum braked trailer weight is rated at 2 500kg should owners need to tow additional cargo.

For the first time, the Transit Custom van is fitted with a new semi-trailing arm independent rear suspension design that contributes towards the lower floor height and improved steering precision, handling and traction. The front wheels and strut towers have also been repositioned further forward, resulting in much better cross-cab access, improved foot space and footrests for occupants in the front, as well as a shorter front overhang for more confident parking and manoeuvring.

High-tech interior

The Transit Custom is fitted with a large 13‑inch landscape touchscreen angled towards the driver for ease of use, supporting Ford’s latest SYNC 4 communication and information system that includes Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with optional wireless charging, along with embedded satellite navigation. The advanced cockpit is completed by a 12-inch instrument cluster that incorporates a seven-inch configurable display.

Ford designers matched the high level of digital innovation with ergonomic features designed to make Transit Custom more comfortable for drivers spending long shifts in the cab. The new platform enables a more car-like driving position, while the flat cabin floor along with the electronic handbrake and help cross-cab access.

The cabin design was also optimised around a segment-first roof-mounted passenger airbag. Changing from the traditional dashboard location creates storage space large enough for a laptop or A4 file, and increases flexibility for upfit panels and devices that can now be fitted closer to the driver using industry-standard AMPS mountings.

The integrated 5G-capable FordPass Connect modem enables Transit Custom to receive Ford Power-Up updates for more than 30 separate vehicle modules. These can help improve vehicle performance, deliver quality upgrades, update existing features and add new functions and capabilities.

Efficient powertrain

The Transit Custom is powered by Ford’s efficient and economical 2.0-litre Single Turbo EcoBlue diesel four-cylinder engine which produces 100kW of power at 3 500 r/min, along with 360Nm of torque between 1 750 and 2 500 r/min.

The 2.0L diesel engine uses AdBlue diesel exhaust fluid to transform nitrogen oxide into harmless nitrogen and water, significantly reducing the impact of its exhaust emissions. A 20-litre AdBlue tank is standard. Additionally, the Transit Custom features Auto Stop/Start, which further reduces emissions in busy city environments.

Power is delivered to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. The powertrain can be optimised for a range of use cases using Selectable Drive Modes, with productivity enhancing options including Eco and Tow/Haul, enabling drivers to easily tune Transit Custom’s performance to suit different operating requirements and driving conditions.

Exceptional safety

There’s no shortage of safety equipment in the Transit Custom, which features ABS brakes, Dynamic Stability Control, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) as standard. This is complemented by Driver Alert with impairment monitor, Evasive Steering Assist, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Aid, Roll Over Mitigation and Tyre Pressure Monitoring System. Six airbags are fitted, comprising dual front, side and curtain airbags.

To aid parking manoeuvres, the Transit Custom features front and rear parking sensors in combination with a 180-degree split view rear camera. The lighting package includes highly effective LED headlights with daytime running lights, as well as automatic headlight activation and automatic high beam control.

Vehicle security features comprise shielded power door deadlocks, a two-step door unlocking system and optional Thatcham Category 1-specification alarm and immobiliser.

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