MOTORING NEWS - Ford's latest model Transit Custom, the top-selling one-ton commercial van in Europe, is now available in South Africa.
It sports a bold new front-end design with three-bar Transit grille and provides drivers with the ideal mobile office environment, featuring a practical cabin that offers stowage, improved comfort and ergonomics.
"With a proven pedigree in the demanding commercial vehicle market, the new Transit Custom raises the game," says Doreen Mashinini, general manager of marketing at Ford Motor Company Southern Africa. "We listened carefully to our customers and are proud to deliver a one-ton van that is more stylish, productive and packed with smart features."
Introduced in South Africa in 2013, the Transit Custom was the first of Ford's expanded all-new Transit line-up to go on sale.
It was later joined by the Transit medium commercial vehicle (MCV) line-up and a key driver in Ford becoming Europe's number one commercial vehicle brand in 2015. The vehicle has held this position ever since.
The new Transit Custom has a dynamic and professional new front-end appearance with a high-mounted trapezoidal grille and dynamic, slim headlamps. The latest lighting technology offers distinctive new signature daytime running lights and automatically activated quad-beam halogen headlights.
The cabin retains its practical and versatile layout, with an array of useful touches designed for drivers to use the cabin as a mobile office during long hours in the vehicle.
Outstanding interior storage is provided with convenient compartments located throughout the cabin, including a closed unit above the instrument panel, large bottle holders on either side of the dashboard and spacious binnacles within the door panels.
All-day comfort is enhanced by new seat designs featuring revised foam padding and geometry for support, while trim materials have been completely renewed throughout. The focus is on outstanding quality, durability and appearance. This includes seat fabrics that have been subjected to Ford's toughest ever abrasion tests.
The new Transit Custom sports a range of advanced driver assistance features that are found on Ford's latest models. Active driving safety is enhanced with the fitment of the electronic stability programme (ESP) as standard across the range, incorporating hill launch assist (HLA), load adaptive control (LAC), roll-over mitigation (ROM) and optional trailer sway control (TSC) which is activated with the fitment of a tow bar at a Ford dealer. This is bolstered with ABS brakes including electronic brake force distribution (EBD).
Driver and passenger airbags are standard across the Transit Custom range. Across the line-up, parking is made hassle-free with the inclusion of front and rear sensors linked to a parking camera display in the rear view mirror. Driver comfort and convenience are assured with the provision of air-conditioning with integrated pollen filter, electric windows and steering wheel controls for the built-in audio system.
Vehicle security is provided by means of remote power central locking with double locking facility, drive-away locking with crash unlocking, along with a perimeter anti-theft alarm. Cruise control with speed limiter is standard across the range. All models are equipped with a built-in audio system incorporating Bluetooth, USB and Aux connectivity and steering wheel-mounted controls.
The new Transit Custom offers commercial vehicle operators outstanding capabilities from a vehicle line-up that includes two wheelbase lengths, two body styles in the three-seater panel van or the kombi van that provides seating for up to six occupants, as well as three trim levels (Ambiente, Sport and Trend).
Load-carrying ability is a primary consideration for commercial customers. This is where the award-winning Transit custom panel van excels. The new model offers a gross payload ranging from 1 155kg on the Sport SWB to a hefty 1 505kg on the 92 kW Ambiente LWB.
Innovative load space features enable owners to carry a wide variety of goods, such as the load-through hatch in the bulkhead for extra-long items up to a maximum length of 3 452mm.
The Transit Custom LWB models have a maximum load area of up to 6,83m³ up to the full-width steel bulkhead, or 5,95m³ on the Sport SWB model. Up to eight DIN-compliant tie-down loops are fitted in the load compartment to safely secure loads.
Access to the load area is through the sliding door on the passenger side, with the Kombi Van Trend benefiting from dual side doors. This can be selected as an option on the other models.
The rear-hinged doors open to 180º for ease of access, incorporating a positive stop at 90º and click-lock functionality. Depending on model, the cabin has either partial or full rubber insulated floor covers designed for easy cleaning. A sealed easy-clean load floor is supplied in the Sport and can be ordered as an optional item on the other panel van derivatives. All derivatives are approved for towing a 750kg unbraked trailer and between 1 300 and 1 800kg for a braked trailer, depending on the model.
The line is led by the dynamic and popular Sport series, available exclusively in short wheelbase high-performance panel van configuration.
The Sport's signature twin bonnet stripes and exterior body kit have been redesigned for the new model, featuring a lower front skirt for the front bumper with unique fog light bezels, body-colour side skirts, rear bumper skirts and muscular wheel arch extensions. In keeping with its athletic character, the Sport has 18" alloy wheels with low-profile 235/50 R18 tyres.
The sporty style continues inside the cabin with partial leather interior trim that combines striking new embossed fabric inserts with leather bolsters.
The new Transit Custom is powered by Ford's proven range of Duratorq TDCi four-cylinder turbodiesel engines that employ common rail direct injection to deliver the ideal combination of performance, fuel economy and reliability. Three versions of this engine are offered in the panel van line-up, starting off with a 74kW unit in the long wheelbase Ambiente that delivers 310Nm of torque from just 1 300r/min.
A higher-output version is also available, credited with 92kW and 350Nm. The Transit Custom Sport is the only model in the range to be powered by the 114kW version of this engine, matched to a peak torque output of 385Nm - thus giving it the dynamic potential to suit its sporty appearance.
In the versatile Kombi Van range, two models are offered: the Ambiente long wheelbase derivative and the higher-specification Trend short wheelbase variant. Both use the 92kW and 350Nm Duratorq TDCi engine, with a six-speed manual transmission common to all models.
Ford Transit Custom recommended retail prices are:
Panel Van 2,2 TDCi LWB Ambiente 74kW 6MT - R436 000; 2,2 TDCi LWB Ambiente 92kW 6MT - R443 400;
2,2 TDCi SWB Sport 114kW 6MT - R482 200.
Kombi Van 2,2 TDCi LWB Ambiente 92kW 6MT - R480 400; 2,2 TDCi SWB Trend 92kW 6MT - R505 500.
All models come standard with Ford Protect, comprising a four year or 120 000km comprehensive warranty, three year unlimited distance roadside assistance and five year unlimited kilometre corrosion warranty.
A six year or 90 000km service plan is included, with 15 000km service intervals.
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