CommercialFleet

Ford Transit 280 SWB 85bhp

Ford

Review

On the road

It’s not only the cab of the Transit that has been transformed – this van is at least a mile better than the old one in the drivability stakes.

Gone are the rattly old TDdi engines – only common rail TDCi units are on offer now.

And gone too is that four-foot long floor-mounted gearstick.

Our van had the 2.2-litre unit pumping out 85bhp and 250lb-ft of torque and it’s a honey.

It’s a willing and lively unit and such was its sprightly performance that we had to double-check with the Ford press office to make sure they hadn’t accidentally put the wrong badge on it.

It feels like at least 115bhp if not more.

The secret is that maximum torque comes at a low 1,500rpm, giving the van a huge amount of oomph at low speeds.
Even on cold mornings, there is no diesel death rattle – just a quiet thrum.

The gearchgange is slick and smooth and the steering wheel is as small as the ones you’ll find in Ford cars.

It’s all part of Ford’s plan to give the Transit a car-like feel – and it has certainly succeeded.

Once on the road, for all the world you could be driving a big car.

Meanwhile massive side mirrors give a great view of what’s behind.

And I felt completely safe in this vehicle. Driver’s airbag, ABS brakes and ESP traction control all come as standard – so the Ford Transit has finally brought a mainstream commercial vehicle up to the safety standard of cars.

Verdict

This new Transit is vying for sales with a new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and a new Volkswagen Crafter.

All are superb vehicles and I’d be hard-pressed to choose a favourite.

At the end of the day it might just come down to who offers the biggest discount.

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.