CommercialFleet

Ford Transit 2.4TD 90PS LWB - 11,667 miles

Review

There has, of late, been much discussion about the merits or otherwise of the 73bhp engine which powers some versions of the Ford Transit.

For those still in the dark the Transit comes with a choice of three diesel engines, 73, 90 and 120bhp.

The controversy centres on whether or not the 73bhp unit is really man enough for the job.

The problem for Ford is that some of the opposition manufacturers now offer the new generation of common rail diesel engines which give greater power while offering better fuel consumption.

You'll find this technology in the likes of the Mercedes Sprinter, Citroen Relay, Peugeot Boxer Fiat Ducato et al.

Ford doesn't have common rail engines yet, instead relying on old technology tweaked a bit and badged as DuraTorq.

And while Ford claims that its alterations make the DuraTorq engines every bit as good as the common rail units, it appears that the industry in general remains unconvinced.

Dave Hill, senior editor of CAP Red Book, said: 'We knew Ford would be offering support on the 73bhp vans and we don't think it will have much of an impact on long-term values because there aren't that many in the market place, but there might be an issue with late-model low-mileage models.

'It is a problem of perception.

'The 73bhp DuraTorq replaced a 75bhp engine, but has better torque and better fuel consumption than the older engine.

'Everybody had been driving the 73bhp engine without any problems. It should have been a simple change.

'If it had been a small manufacturer I think it would have blown over but it's Ford and the Transit was voted European Van of the Year.'

Now, I am in a position to make a statement here which should settle the matter once and for all, for I was one of the journalists who attended the launch of the new Transit in southern Spain last year - and drove all three models back to back.

And Ford will no doubt be pleased to learn that I wholeheartedly come down on its side in the argument.

My impressions at the time were slightly tainted after driving the highest-powered model,as it was slick, fast and capable and was always going to outshine the other two with so much extra power.

But neither of the others - 73bhp and 90bhp - struck me as being underpowered or incapable of discharging their duties on the busy highways of Britain.

In fact of the two, I actually thought the 73bhp unit the better of the two by a small margin.

Our test model, the 90bhp unit, is driven by Emap Automotive courier Sal Haj and it is true that he has complained to me before about lack of oomph, especially when the van is loaded to the gills with copies of Fleet News.

But having driven the van myself on several occasions, I'd say that the power on tap is perfectly adequate for the purposes.

White van man is already under great pressure image-wise and the last thing we need in my view is for our man to be seen thrashing up and down the motorways of Britain in the fast lane, upsetting law-abiding drivers and using unnecessary amounts of fuel.

So let's have no more of this nonsense about engines!

More worrying is the fact that our Transit has not exactly been free from trouble in its stay with us so far.

Regular readers will remember that the starter motor failed on its first day, leaving our courier stranded on the M6 and now the nearside side door fails to open when asked to do so by the plip lock.

The faults may be minor, but both have caused major problems for our driver and shouldn't really happen in these days of supposedly increased reliability.

Trevor Gelken

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.