Mechanically, our Transit Courier has not missed a beat since we took delivery in September and it is rapidly gaining enormous respect.
So far we have mainly concerned ourselves with its driving dynamics and haven’t mentioned its load-carrying ability.
You might think that cargo areas of vans are all the same but, in fact, they differ greatly. For example, we had a Volkswagen Caddy on test recently and as it didn’t have a plastic non-slip floor, our half-load of cargo started sliding across the back as soon as we set off. I ended up having to stop a mile down the road to strap it in with a ratchet tie.
Our Courier, on the other hand, does have a non-slip floor and a similar cargo stayed in place on its own over a journey of several hundred miles.
Then there’s the lighting. Most vans have underpowered illuminations – even the big panel vans – so that loading and unloading at night invariably involves putting things in the wrong place, tripping over half-hidden objects and generally being problematic in any number of other ways.
Our Courier, on the other hand, has a bright halogen light aboard so loading and unloading is easy, even on the darkest nights.
It might sound like a minor point but little touches like this make all the difference when a vehicle is being used for business day-in, day-out.
Finally, the whole load area is swathed in either plastic or wooden half-height protection so that the Courier doesn’t have any chance of suffering one of those reverse ‘dings’ where cargo slides about and causes a dent from the inside.
These dents are difficult to repair cost-effectively and can knock a few hundred pounds off the used value of a van, so the importance of protection like this can’t be emphasised too highly.