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Ford Transit Custom
It’s a great working vehicle that’s also a joy to drive

Ford Transit Custom 290 SWB Limited

What is it?

Ford’s new Transit Custom – voted International Van of the Year 2013 – has received much praise – and justifiably so.

It looks terrific, is an absolute joy to drive and on the face of it offers compelling running costs. And its stylish looks will turn heads for your business.

It looks terrific, is an absolute joy to drive and on the face of it offers compelling running costs.

Indeed, while test driving the 157PS model for Business Vans, I actually experienced the driver of another van in front deliberately pulling in to let me past so he could follow and check out this handsome Ford from behind.

When we eventually parted company at a junction, the other driver was craning his head to take in as much as he could of the Ford. I wouldn’t be surprised if a new Transit Custom was on his shopping list next time he’s due for a replacement van.

The Transit Custom is aimed at the 1-tonne sector, sitting between the bigger Transit, and the more compact Connect, and it’s set to find a host of enthusiastic fans.

There are four trim levels – Custom, Trend, Limited and Sport. The Custom is well specified in standard form, while the Limited is positively lavish.


Ford Transit Custom
Packing it all in: the SWB Transit Custom has a 5.36cu m capacity and 1,083kg payload

What’s hot?

  • The 157PS engine is smooth and satisfyingly torquey, delivering strong acceleration from low speed
  • Precise handling and a very good ride, even unladen
  • Super-slick six-speed gearbox makes swapping ratios easy

    Ford Transit Custom
    In the Limited version tested here, it’s lavish inside
  • The cab is quiet and comfortable with excellent seating (driver’s seat has eight-way adjustment). Driving position is first class
  • Safety features aplenty, such as ESP, Roll-over mitigation, Load Adaptive Control, Hill-Start Assist, full-width DIN/ISO-compliant steel bulkhead with load-through facility, rain-sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors, heated front windscreen and Thatcham category 1 alarm. Additionally, the Transit also has a Five-Star EURO Safety rating
  • Great on comfort too – air conditioning, height and reach adjustable steering column, cruise control with adjustable speed limiter, trip computer, DAB radio/CD player with Ford SYNC Emergency Assist, USB connectivity and remote steering wheel-mounted controls, heated driver and passenger seats, lift-up dual passenger seat cushion with under-seat storage as well as storage compartments, two 2-litre bottle holders and driver and passenger cup holders, plus two 12v power points
  • Optional extras on test model included a very useful 230V power converter for £36, and super-bright LED load compartment lighting (£96).

What’s not?

  • Finding fault with the Transit Custom isn’t easy, but from the driver’s seat, the heating and ventilation controls are a little difficult to see and a bit of a stretch to operate
  • And don’t leave anything small loose on the seats, either. My house keys slid down the back of the passenger seat and were a devil to retrieve!

Ford Transit Custom
Go to work with a smile on your face

Business Vans verdict

The Transit has long been Britain’s favourite van and Ford has pulled out all the stops with the new Transit to ensure it stays that way. It’s safe, practical and a pleasure to drive.

After this Ford van review, if I had this van as a tradesman or SME driver, I’d go to work with a smile on my face every day.

We’ve also driven the less powerful 125PS version. You can read about it here.


 What you need to know

On the road price as tested (ex-VAT) £23,698
Load length/Extended underseat 2,555mm/3,085mm
Load width (max) 1,775mm
Load height 1,406mm
Load capacity 5.36cu m
Payload 1,083kg
GVW 2,900kg
Towing capacity braked/unbraked 2,000/750kg
Engine 2.2-litre, 4-cyl diesel
Power/Torque 157PS/385Nm
Economy (combined) 44.1mpg
CO2 emissions 178g/km


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