Ford has split the old Transit range into two models.
The smaller van, the Transit Custom, launched last year, weighs in at 2.6 to 3.0 tonnes gross vehicle weight (gvw) and received a warm reception.
Now it’s the turn of the bigger Transit. Not only is it a completely new model, but Ford is planning to sell it globally for the first time – in 118 different markets.
A mind-boggling range of new variants will be on offer – 450 in all – and will be rolled out between now and the end of the year. Three thousand orders have already been placed.
With prices starting at £20,795 ex-VAT, the Transit is available in front-, rear- and all-wheel drive at weights of between 2.9 and 4.7 tonnes.
A single 2.2-litre turbodiesel powerplant offers 100hp, 125hp and 155hp.
There is also the choice of new HDT6 engines at 125hp and 155hp which meet the Euro 6 emissions standard, although these use an additional AdBlue tank which will have to be filled at regular intervals.
Econetic versions feature stop-start technology and a speed limiter. These help increase the official combined fuel economy figure to 44.1mpg – 6% higher than the outgoing Econetic model.
Three lengths and two roof heights are available, with load volumes from 9.5 to 15.1 cubic metres and the usual body choices such as chassis-cabs, box vans, lutons and minibuses, all of which can be ordered straight from the dealer.
There are two trim levels – Base and Trend – and both feature electronic stability control as standard. Trend adds a heated windscreen, fog lamps, cruise control, leather-trimmed steering wheel, Ford’s Sync system with emergency assistance and front and rear parking sensors.
The new Transit offers up to 11% more loadspace than the old model. The side loading doors have been enlarged for easier loading with a forklift.
Ford has put a lot of work into lowering maintenance costs. Service intervals are now two years/30,000 miles and the maintenance time in the garage has been cut over 90,000 miles from 5.4 to 4.2 hours.
Ford is at present setting up 110 special Transit Centres across the UK from its 200-strong dealer network and this van can be ordered only from one of these new sites.
It isn’t until you climb aboard that the real differences between this and the old model become clear.
The cab is completely new and abounds both with style and practical innovations.
The dashtop storage compartment complete with 12-volt take-off is carried over from the old model.
There is a handy overhead storage shelf, a fold-down desk in the back of the middle seat and a huge stowage area under the outer passenger seat so items can be left out of sight.
Our drive was in the 125hp long wheelbase high roof variant.
This Transit is as close as you’ll ever get to driving a big car. Squeaks and rattles are totally non-existent and even with a half-load on board, the engine glided us effortless round the test drive route.
Forty-eight years at the top of the tree – with new models like this Ford can confidently look forward to many more years of success to come.
On first impresions, If you asked us for a list of valid criticisms of the new Transit, we’d have to admit: “There are none.”