IF it’s true that life begins at 40, the Ford Transit is the newest kid on the LCV block.
As it is, the Transit has been plugging the highways and byways of the world since 1965 and in Britain, has been the best-selling panel van since it went on sale.
To celebrate Transit’s big four-oh, Ford has not only organised a series of special events but has launched celebratory models, including Leader, Hallmark and the model on test here – the Silver Blue.
This range is so-called because you get them in two colours. You guessed it – silver or blue! These vans come in medium, long and jumbo wheelbases and with medium or high roofs. Gross vehicle weights range from 2.8 tonnes to 3.5 tonnes and power comes in either 100bhp, 115bhp or 137bhp guises.
The model on test is the long wheelbase high roof 3.5-tonne gvw and weighs in at £19,800 ex-VAT. Prices in the SilverBlue range start at £14,750 and go up to £21,150. What makes the SilverBlue range special is its list of standard spec.
On top of the usual driver’s airbag and ABS brakes, it comes with a radio/CD player, power/heated mirrors, power windows, a Quickclear windscreen, tinted glass, metallic paint, front foglights, partial wheel covers, mudflaps and a second key fob.
Behind the wheel
THE Ford Transit is big, tough, reliable and cost-effective. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t have been top of the sales charts for 40 years.
Drivers will certainly love their fleet managers for choosing this vehicle over its ordinary brother.
Anyone who has driven a van in warm weather and has tried reaching across the passenger seats in a vain bid to open the nearside window will appreciate electric windows and that Quickclear screen and heated mirrors prove a real safety plus in winter weather.
Under way, there is plenty of power from the 115bhp motor but on the minus side it is one of the old-fashioned TDdi units which doesn’t have common rail technology. This means it is more raucous than its more sophisticated TDCi brothers.
The Transit is also one of the few panels vans to have a floor-mounted gearstick.
As such it lacks the smooth action that the others have. The driver’s seat is also not the best in class. It has a nasty hard lump across the shoulder blades and no lumbar support.
DESPITE the above criticisms, Transit is a cracking vehicle. With its extra spec in SilverBlue format, it makes an even better fleet proposition.
Model tested: Ford Transit SilverBlue MWB/HR
Gross vehicle weight (kg): 3,500
Payload (kg): 1,529
Load volume (cu m): 9.69
Max power (bhp): 115
Max torque (lb-ft): 210
Price (ex-VAT): £19,800