Ford Transit dropside LWB
What is it?
If you run a building firm, or maybe a garden landscape business, you may well have invested in one of those natty Japanese builder’s trucks such as the Nissan Cabstar or Toyota Dyna.
And if you did, you may also have recently visited the dentist to have a few fillings replaced. Those trucks are willing workhorses that will go on almost for ever, but boy, are they unrefined!
Nowadays, this LCV sector is being severely challenged by the mainstream manufacturers, who are offering a range of dropsides that are more comfortable to drive yet have similar payloads to their more rugged brothers at 3.5 tonnes GVW.
And the latest dropside kid on the block is the one on review here – the Ford Transit dropside, which has just been launched and is new from the nuts and bolts upwards.
We flew to Barcelona to try out this new contender and after a couple of hours behind the wheel, we were left massively impressed with what’s on offer.
The Transit is available in 450 different variants including this chassis-cab and if you are looking at the pictures and thinking that maybe there isn’t enough length for your needs, then let us tell you there is one model which will take a staggering five metres! It’ll be on sale in October, along with double-cab versions.
Our Ford Transit dropside review vehicle was the long wheelbase model with the top engine power of 155bhp on tap. You can also specify the dropside at 100bhp and 125bhp (all at 2.2-litres) and to be honest, unless you need to lug around huge loads and maybe tow a concrete mixer or two, we reckon the 125bhp variant will do just as well.
- Just about everything! The old Transit was beginning to feel a little tired against some of the newer opposition but this new model brings Ford straight to the head of the queue again.
- This may essentially be a truck but it’ll feel like driving a big car. The seats are big and comfortable (that includes the passenger ones) and there are loads of handy cubby holes and spaces to stow items, including a large area under the outer passenger seat so that valuable items can be hidden from prying eyes.
- There’s also a useful stowage space on top of the dash including a 12V take-off, so if you plug in a sat nav you won’t end up with wires dangling everywhere.
- The rear end features a solidly constructed cargo space courtesy of Ingimex and it feels extremely well built. You order this vehicle straight from the Ford dealer and it is warranted as one under Ford’s One-Stop Transit offering. So if there is a problem with the back end, you won’t have to go back to the original maker to get it fixed, unlike some of the opposition.
- Our review model had a 500kg load on board and it certainly ironed out any skittishness – not that we expected such shenanigans in the Transit even with the truck empty.
- The 155bhp is delivered smoothly and surely right up the rev range and even on the steep slopes nothing is going to affect its progress.
- The engine is whisper quiet and gearchanges are the slickest of slick. In fact at one stage we tried buzzing through the box from first to sixth and back using a single index finger – and it worked a treat.
- Some users swear that front wheel drive trucks aren’t up to lugging heavy loads around, so just to keep everyone happy, this one can be specified in front or rear wheel drive.
- Cost of ownership: service intervals are set at 30,000 miles or two years.
- Apart from the odd nitpick, we could find nothing to complain about with this vehicle. We weren’t keen on that great gaping grille but it’s there for a purpose – the Transit is set to go on sale in America for the first time and the Yanks just love this big, brash appearance.
- Also the Transit will only be on sale at 110 special Transit centres across the UK. As there are 200 Ford dealers altogether you might pitch up at your local dealer wanting to buy one, only to be turned away. How daft is that?
Business Vans verdict
If you are in need of a dropside for your building business and you want something smooth and sophisticated to drive around in, then we couldn’t recommend a better vehicle than this.
And it’s backed up by Ford’s three-year/100,000 mile warranty and free Ford Accident Management service.
What you need to know
|On the road price ex VAT (as tested):||£27,495|
|Load width (max):||2138mm|
|Load height (max):||750mm (chassis frame)|
|Load capacity:||To follow|
|Towing capacity braked/unbraked:||To follow|
|Engine:||2.2-litre 4-cyl diesel|
|Economy (combined):||To follow|
|CO2 emissions:||To follow|