THE Ford Transit Custom has finally come of age.
It has gone through the stages most of us go through.
From the fresh-faced new boy phase, to the spiky-hair-and-shell-suit phase, to the handsome thing it is now. It has found its look.
Ford has grafted the wide F O R D grille from the Raptor pick-up on to the nose of its best-selling van. And it looks mint.
But this new Custom Trail is more than just a mean face, skid plate and blobs of contrast cladding.
It is much steadier on its feet thanks to a Quaife mechanical limited-slip differential lifted from the Focus RS and Fiesta ST.
Unlike those fast Fords, it is more about grip on a snotty building site than track day performance.
Now we all know Transit is Ford’s bread and butter and everything else about this medium-sized Custom Trail is pretty much faultless: One-tonne payload in the back, car-like comfort up front — including touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, cruise control and leather seats — combined with rock-solid engines.
If you’re running a business from a trusty old Transit, this is like stepping on to a plane — remember them? — and turning left.
The entry 130hp 2-litre diesel is smooth and easy and does good numbers. If you want more poke, the 170hp version costs another £1,250.
Need something bigger? The two-tonne Transit Trail has the same F O R D grille, plus the option of intelligent all-wheel drive with a lock mode to split torque 50:50. Which means it has the minerals to back up the glamour muscles.
Here’s an interesting stat: The Transit Custom and Tourneo Custom (that’s the passenger van version) chalked up 47,500 sales last year — second only to Fiesta.
I repeat, second only to Fiesta and ahead of Corsa, Golf and Focus.
The whole Transit family, including the two-tonne Transit, Connect and Courier, topped 85,000 sales.
That number will only go north in future as Ford’s van range continues to multiply like a wet gremlin.
There’s the new Custom Tourneo Active for, er, active people. The rear seat mounting points can be used for in-vehicle bike racks.
There’s the Custom Nugget camper van (sleeps four) and the Custom PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) that can do 30 miles on pure electric as well as long distances.
The first pure electric Transit — called e-Transit — goes on sale next year and by 2024 the whole Transit family will have the option of plug-in hybrid or pure electric.
I’m not done yet. Ford has also just launched two jumbo Transits: One that can cope with my daughter’s daily ASOS delivery (3.5 tonnes) and one with a load length of 7.4 metres. An ambulance version is on the way too. Plus there’s all sorts of height, length and seat combinations and chassis cab conversions.
Britain’s grafters have relied on Transit for 50-odd years and now it really is all things to all people.
Backbone of Britain, Ford say. Yep, I’ll give them that.
KEY FACTS: FORD TRANSIT CUSTOM TRAIL
- Price: £30,445 exc VAT
- Engine: 2-litre turbo diesel
- Power: 130hp, 360Nm
- Economy: 42mpg
- CO2: 158g/km
- Out: Now
GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL email@example.com