Ford Revolutionises One-Ton Van Productivity with the New Transit Custom

Ford South Africa has commenced the introduction of the new Transit Custom commercial vehicle range with the launch of the Base Long Wheelbase Van initially, with additional derivatives to follow later this year.

The next generation of Europe’s best-selling one-ton van and five-time winner of the International Van of the Year is designed to help small and medium businesses reduce cost of ownership, work more effectively and achieve new levels of productivity. Ford engineers developed a new platform designed to optimise load carrying and access, improve driver comfort and convenience, and deliver outstanding performance and handling, while delivering uncompromised cargo space.

“The Transit Custom is designed and developed in Europe, where it is the top-selling van and was the best-selling vehicle overall in the UK in 2021 and 2022, so it has a proven pedigree of being trusted by business owners to enhance their productivity,” says Doreen Mashinini, General Manager for Marketing at Ford South Africa.

“Ford pulled out all the stops to deliver another huge leap forward for our customers,” Mashinini says. “The new generation Transit Custom’s ground-up customer-led design will set a new benchmark for what small and medium businesses can expect from a commercial vehicle.”

The Transit Custom launches in South Africa with the Base Long Wheelbase Van initially.  

New platform, new level of productivity

Before Ford designers began sketching the new Transit Custom, the company’s D-Ford in-house human-centred design lab spent years engaging with business customers to research their needs and pain points, and identify innovative solutions to help improve productivity.

Underpinning the Transit Custom is a new platform designed around optimum load carrying, access, performance and powertrain flexibility. The clean-sheet design is stiffer and 100 kg lighter than that of the previous-generation vehicle, and features a lengthened wheelbase for optimum cargo capacity.

To maximise fuel efficiency, the new model’s body design was developed using extensive aerodynamic simulation. Together with a reduced frontal area, this has resulted in a 13 percent lower coefficient of aerodynamic drag (CdA) compared to the previous-generation model. The vehicle architecture was optimised to help achieve an overall height of under two metres, to improve access in height-restricted areas such as multi-storey car parks, garages and underground loading bays.

A larger side load door aperture enhances loading, and the side door features a new integrated access step to make entering the load compartment even easier. Optimised packaging of the chassis and body structure enable the vehicle’s load floor to be lower than that of the outgoing model to facilitate loading cargo and cab access.

As a large-capacity panel van, Transit Custom offers a total load volume of 5.8m3 with the standard roof height, along with a payload up to 1 269kg and a maximum load length of
3 050mm using the load-through feature.

Practical features are found throughout the load compartment, including eight load area tie-down loops, partial rubber floor covering, twin 180-degree opening rear barn doors and ultra-bright LED interior lighting. Buyers can select a range of optional features to suit their requirements, including dual sliding side doors, a close assist function for the side doors, a full-width metal bulkhead with a window, as well as a load area protection kit with full height walls and a moulded floor. Also available are an integrated and foldable roof rack, heavy duty battery, Mobile Office Pack, lockable glovebox lid, pre-fitted Trailer Tow Electrics, automatic dual-zone climate control, heated and power-folding mirrors, and the standard 55-litre fuel capacity can be extended to 70 litres.

The voluminous load compartment can accommodate up to three standard Euro pallets, while the vehicle’s maximum braked trailer weight is rated at 1 500kg should owners need to tow additional cargo.

For the first time, the Transit Custom van is fitted with a new semi-trailing arm independent rear suspension design that contributes towards a 100mm lower floor height for improved ease of loading, while also aiding steering precision, handling and traction. The front wheels and strut towers have also been repositioned further forward, resulting in much better cross-cab access, improved foot space and footrests for occupants in the front, as well as a shorter front overhang for more confident parking and manoeuvring.

High-tech interior

The Transit Custom is fitted with a large 13‑inch landscape touchscreen angled towards the driver for ease of use, supporting Ford’s latest SYNC 4 communication and information system that includes Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with optional wireless charging. The advanced cockpit is completed by a 12-inch instrument cluster that incorporates an eight-inch configurable display.

Ford designers matched the high level of digital innovation with ergonomic features designed to make Transit Custom more comfortable for drivers spending long shifts in the cab. The new platform enables a more car-like driving position, while the flat cabin floor along with the electronic handbrake and help cross-cab access.

The cabin design was also optimised around a segment-first roof-mounted passenger airbag. Changing from the traditional dashboard location creates storage space large enough for a laptop or A4 file, and increases flexibility for upfit panels and devices that can now be fitted closer to the driver using industry-standard AMPS mountings.

The integrated 5G-capable FordPass Connect modem enables remote locking and unlocking via the FordPass app, along with the vehicle locator, health alerts and oil life status.

Efficient powertrain

The Transit Custom is powered by Ford’s efficient and economical 2.0-litre Single Turbo EcoBlue diesel four-cylinder engine which produces 100kW of power at 3 500 r/min, along with 360Nm of torque between 1 750 and 2 500 r/min.

The 2.0L diesel engine uses AdBlue diesel exhaust fluid to transform nitrogen oxide into harmless nitrogen and water, significantly reducing the impact of its exhaust emissions. A 20-litre AdBlue tank is standard.

Power is delivered to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. The powertrain can be optimised for a range of use cases using Selectable Drive Modes, with productivity enhancing options including Normal, Eco and Slippery, enabling drivers to easily tune Transit Custom’s performance to suit different operating requirements and driving conditions. An electronic parking brake is standard, providing seamless ease of use while freeing up cabin space.

Exceptional safety

There’s no shortage of safety equipment in the Transit Custom, which features ABS brakes, Electronic Stability Programme with Traction Control, Hill Launch Assist, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) as standard. This is complemented by Driver Alert with impairment monitor, Collision Mitigation, Lane Keeping Aid, Roll Over Mitigation, Intelligent Speed Assistance with Speed Sign Recognition, and Tyre Pressure Monitoring System. Six airbags are fitted, comprising dual front and side and curtain airbags.

To aid parking manoeuvres, the Transit Custom features standard rear parking sensors, while front sensors and a 180-degree split view rear camera are available as options as part of a Driver Assistance Pack that also adds navigation and Intersection Assist. An optional LED lighting package can be specified, including LED headlights with daytime running lights and automatic headlight activation.

Vehicle security features comprise Keyless Entry and Start, shielded power door deadlocks, a two-step door unlocking system and a standard immobiliser. A Thatcham Category 1-specification alarm is optionally available too.

Pricing (includes VAT):

  • Transit Custom Base Long Wheelbase Van  2.0L SiT 6MT              R692 200

Included as standard is a four-year/120 000km Ford warranty, four-year/unlimited distance Roadside Assistance and five-year/unlimited distance corrosion warranty. The recommended service interval is 15 000km or annually, whichever occurs first. In addition, over the counter parts (OTC) and service parts warranty (SPW) are covered for two-year/unlimited distance.

Customers have the option of purchasing a Ford Protect Service or Maintenance plan upgrades up to eight years or 165 000km. The warranty can be extended up to seven years or 200 000km, while the Roadside Assistance can be extended for an additional one or two years.

View the launch images