Special report by Ralph Morton with Barry Gale, chief engineer, Commercial Vehicles, Ford of Europe
IF you’re in a trade running your own business, then you need to have a good look at the new Ford Transit Custom.
Because it has been brilliantly designed to offer best in class loadspace and a whole host of easier to use features to make working conditions better. These include:
- largest side door opening in class;
- best width between wheel arches; and
- the ability to carry three loaded Euro pallets
More to the point, here’s a Transit that can carry 3m length loads in the SWB model thanks to a load-through hatch in the bulkhead.
So decorators, plumbers and electricians can load pipes, ladders or copper tubing safely inside a short wheelbase van.
There’s also the really clever three-bar roof rack system that folds away into the roof when not in use.
Barry says that not only does the system provide useful functionality within the cost of the vehicle, but the roof rack system can be folded away when not required to improve fuel consumption.
It also means the Ford Transit Custom will fit below 2m high car park restrictors. The integral roof rack can take loads up to 130kg.
“We watched different trades using their van over several months, and then asked them what features would make life easier,” explains Barry Gale, who is the chief engineer of commercial vehicles at Ford of Europe.
“Using a combination of our observations and their feedback, we designed and developed a van that is bigger inside than any of its competitors – and that has smarter storage solutions too.”
Barry says that the new Ford Transit Custom has been designed to extend the van’s appeal to trades and small businesses who may not have put a Transit on their van shopping list in the past.
“Builders, carpenters and other tradespeople, who need to load vans with bulky items every day, will also like the Transit Custom’s side loading doors. These are taller and wider than any rival and with more space between the wheel arches can accommodate wide loads.”
Ford reckons that four standard 8 feet x 4 feet (2440mm x 1220mm) boards can be carried inside the new Transit Custom either vertically at the edge of the bulkhead or laid flat on the floor.
One small business that has already been won over by the Ford Transit Custom is Andrew Wilkonson, says Barry.
Andrew, who runs a window cleaning firm – H2O Cleaning Contractors – recently picked up the keys of a new Ford Transit Custom from James Walton, sales manager of Ford dealer Evans Halshaw.
Clearly Andrew will be the first of many. Not surprisingly, Barry agrees.
“The Ford Transit Custom has been built for small businesses and trades. So yes!”
For business van reviews of the new Ford Transit Custom, see our road test: Ford Transit Custom on test: great for your business, and your pocket