Long-term test: Ford Transit Econetic


Do you remember when you were a child?

Waiting for Christmas took a lifetime didn’t it?

November and December dragged on forever as we fantasised about what presents Santa would shove down the chimney, despite the fact that we didn’t actually have a chimney in our house!

It’s been a bit like that waiting for our new long-term Transit, which has just arrived at the time of going to press, resplendent in pillar box red paintwork and with just 90 miles on the clock.

We’ve been running a last-model Transit for six months now and the idea is to match the two key for key and assess just how much better the new model is.

Both are the Econetic variety and the old van did actually achieve Euro V emissions standards.

But the new model is reckoned to be much better on fuel economy, so that’s a claim we’ll be looking into closely.

To make the wait even worse, I had attended the new model Transit launch in Germany some two months ago and, knowing how much better this model is than the one it replaces, I then had to get back aboard my old Transit until the new one arrived from the factory in Turkey. Torture or what?

Let’s first of all look at what hasn’t changed because the upgrades have largely taken place under the bonnet.

The cab is the same – and none the worse for it – although the driver’s seat (which I had complained about in the old model as being rather uncomfortable) is still as is.

The rear end is the same too, as is the body, although the new Transit now sports a rather snazzy metal-coloured grille to distinguish it from the old one.

But what a transformation has taken place under the bonnet.

A single 2.2-litre engine now powers the Transit, in place of the old 2.2 and 2.4-litre units, and our Econetic model has the lowest powered 100bhp engine.

To improve fuel efficiency it has a stop/start system as standard together with a 70mph speed limiter and combined fuel economy is rated at 43.5mpg as opposed to 39.2mpg in the old van.

But the real bonus for the driver is that this van is now noticeably quieter and it’s the main complaint I had with the old one.

As the old van loosened up, our fuel economy figure began rising, but we never quite managed to achieve the magic 40mpg. If we don’t in this new van, I’ll be very disappointed.

One item I didn’t try out on the old Transit was the built-in sat-nav unit, which comes as a £1,000 extra.

The same unit is in the new van and I’ve been experimenting with it, but it doesn’t come anywhere near the TomTom one I own.

I still haven’t exactly got the hang of how to use it (I just keep jabbing buttons until the right thing comes up on the screen!) and the map is so small that I can hardly see it.

Mind you, the very nice lady hidden behind the dashboard gives clear precise instructions so I can’t complain too much.

One annoying fact is that within two days of the van arriving here, some careless car driver put a small ding in the middle of our offside door, having opened their door and cracked ours into the bargain.

It’s not really bad enough to get fixed immediately – and if we did the likelihood is that it would happen again.

I suppose it’s one of the things we have to learn to put up with in these modern times but incredibly frustrating all the same.

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.