What is it?
When the old Ford Courier city van bit the dust back in 2004 it left a small but significant hole in the manufacturer’s range.
Buyers wanting a small van were limited to FiestaVan or the larger Transit Connect and at the time, bosses at Ford said they believed these two vehicles would adequately serve the requirements of its customers.
Frankly none of us journos really believed that – and the situation was further exacerbated by the arrival of the Fiat Fiorino, Citroen Nemo and Peugeot Bipper triplets in 2008.
Those very capable performers took the sector by storm, leaving Ford looking rather like a teenage girl with too few frocks for the party season.
It has taken quite a long time for Ford to address this problem but it’s finally been solved with the imminent arrival of the Ford Transit Courier.
Wishing to milk the Transit name for every drop (and why not?) Ford has split the name into four. The heavy panel van is still called just Transit, while the medium panel van is now Transit Custom, the small van is Transit Connect and this city slicker adds the Courier moniker.
So is it worthy of the Transit name?
You bet! It looks great, it drives like a dream and it comes with all sorts of technological fangle-danglery that the rivals don’t have.
Built at Kocaeli in Turkey, the Ford Transit Courier comes in a single wheelbase and roof height, either in panel van or five-seat kombi guise, and offers a payload of 660kg and a loadspace of between 2.3 and 2.6 cubic metres with the optional folding passenger seat and swivelling mesh bulkhead.
Engines on offer are a 1.5-litre turbodiesel with 75bhp, 1.6-litre with 95bhp and a three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine with 100bhp.
Meanwhile fuel economy figures range from 54.3mpg to 76.3mpg and prices go from £11,821 to £15,726.
Talk about the little van with the big kick! Gosh, where do we start?
- Styling: the Transit Courier beats the rivals into a cocked hat when it comes to looks. It’s elegant and chic and will speak volumes about any company which uses it for work.
- Cab: it may be small but there is plenty of legroom even for six footers like me. Also the steering wheel and driver’s seat adjust in all directions, so everyone will be able to find a comfy position. There are two coffee cup holders in the centre console, a space for A4 papers or a laptop, a mobile phone holder next to a USB port, and an overhead parcel shelf too, which all adds up to max cubby holes in a small space.
- Technology: unlike the Nemo, Bipper and Fiorino, the Courier has anti-skid Electronic Stability Program (ESP) as standard. It helps stops sideways skids and has been dubbed the best safety device since the invention of the seatbelt.
- There are shedloads of other gadgets you can choose (for a price!), including a connectivity package for your iPhone (with a clip on top of the dash to hold the gadget, called the ‘Device Dock’), connectivity to Ford’s SYNC system that includes Emergency Assistance, more airbags than you can shake a stick at, tyre pressure monitoring, Hill Start Assist and Roll-Over Mitigation. Mind you as most of these vans are destined to go no further than the edge of town, we’d question how many of these extras are really that relevant.
- Cargo area: it’s 10% bigger than the rivals for starters and comes with half-height protection and a full bulkhead. But just check out that optional swivelling mesh bulkhead and fold-down seat that comes as a £200 extra. It means you can carry loads of 2.5 metres in length, which is quite something for a van of this size.
- Engines: we tried the 1.6-litre 95bhp diesel and the new 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engines on our test drives in the hills around Frankfurt and while the diesel proved a real honey with plenty of grunt even with a 150kg weight in the back, the perky little petrol engine took us by surprise. It’s a lot smoother than the diesel and cheaper to buy too, so that’s the boy we’d recommend if you aren’t going to do many miles during the course of your business. It doesn’t do as many miles per gallon but then again petrol is cheaper to buy than diesel so you’d have to do a fair few miles to get your money back.
Blimey, that’s a question! We’d be tempted to say “absolutely nothing” but if you want to be nit picking, here goes:
- The overhead parcel shelf seemed a little on the flimsy side. Heavy-handed users might damage it over time.
- We’d have liked to see stop-start as standard as with the bigger Fiat Doblo Cargo. As this van is made for urban use, it is reckoned that this gadget can save 15% on fuel. On most variants it’s a £150 option.
- All models have a five-speed gearbox. On the German motorway section of our test route we reckoned we could have done with a sixth cog. Maybe Ford has one kicking around somewhere in the dark recesses of its Dagenham engine plant!
Business Vans Verdict
The Ford Transit range – and indeed Ford’s entire van line-up – has now been replaced in the space of two years and we reckon that the blue oval is light years ahead of the opposition in terms of technology, ride and handling, and cost-efficiency.
And the new Ford Transit Courier, despite being the smallest member of that rejuvenated Ford van family, is as brilliant at its job and as great to drive as the big 2 tonne Transit.
From smallest to largest, Ford now has a competitive van for every sector of the SME and trades sector.
And we’ve heard that the experts are predicting top residual values for the Courier. Click here for more.
What you need to know
|Prices (ex-VAT):||£11,821 – £15,726|
|Load width (max):||1488mm|
|Load height (max):||1244mm|
|Load capacity:||2.3-2.6 cu m|
|Towing capacity braked/unbraked:||N/A|
|Engine:||1.0-litre petrol, 1.5 and 1.6 litre turbodiesel|