There are many vans on today’s market and you have plenty of models to choose from. But one model however, had always stood out from the crowd.
The Ford Transit is one of the most appreciated vans in the segment thanks to its proven reliability and the tight pricing.
The fourth generation of the Transit was sold between 2000 - 2006 and despite the fact that it didn’t represented the huge evolution that everyone expected, it was still a highly capable workhorse build on the solid foundation of the previous model.
The Ford Transit was represented by a 1.2 tonnes payload capacity, low running costs, easy repairs and a wide choice of body styles.
The fourth generation of the Ford Transit has a pretty conventional design being the best representation of the “form follows function” concept.
The overall design is boxy and practical with a generous load area and a pretty low ground clearance to permit you make easy loading and unloading operations.
The short bonnet is heavily raked to improve the front road visibility and to make the vehicle slightly more aerodynamic.
The headlights feature a pretty rudimentary design, but they gel well with the rest of the body. The central radiator grille has the same dull design found at the rest of the vehicle, while the front bumper is also pretty simple and apart from its nicely integrated fog lamps there isn’t anything else worth to be mentioned.
As most of the vehicles in this class, the Transit is equipped with side sliding doors and rear side hinged doors.
The Ford Transit body styles include panel van versions, chassis cabs, box vans, dropsides and even tippers. The van versions are offered with either front or rear wheel drive with gross vehicle weights (GVW) of 3.5 tonnes and 3.3 tonnes, respectively.
Load volume capacity is of 6.6 cubic meters for the short-wheelbase low-roof models and 11.3 cubic meters on the long-wheelbase high-roof model, while the long-wheelbase model has a loading capacity of 14.3 cubic meters.
The Ford Transit interior looks pretty rudimentary and betrays the utilitarian character of the vehicle. As it was expected, space if far from being a problem and there is plenty of head and leg room for both the driver and passengers.
The Ford Transit’s dashboard is a bit cluttered for our tastes, but every control is placed within easy reach. On the other hand, all plastics are of poor quality and the fittings needed more attention as well.
Luckily, the main controls of the Ford Transit are placed within easy reach and the driving position is adequate. The seats aren’t the most comfortable units you’ll find around and can’t even be compared with the ones found in the new Transit. The good part is that there are a few adjustments designed to help you get more comfortable, but don’t expect to any wonders.
You have a commanding view of the road and the overall visibility is quite good. However we don’t like the long gear knob which is planted directly on the cabin floor as it’s a bit hard to use and it’s not as ergonomic as the dash mounted ones.
Storage is part of the first class and there are plenty of compartments where you can safely keep different things.
Engines and performance
The old Ford Transit was offered with both diesel and petrol engines with power outputs ranging from 75 hp to 145 hp. The front wheel drive models are fitted with a 2.0 liter, 75 hp unit while the rear wheel drive ones come with 2.4 liter, 135 hp units. Compared to the third generation diesel engines, the fourth ones are slightly better, but common rail technology was introduced only later.
The petrol engine is pretty capable and offers a maximum output of 145 hp, being also available in LPG guise with 141 hp on tap.
Equipped with these engines, the Ford Transit wasn’t a speed god but it offered decent fuel consumption and all units were reliable to the core. Unfortunately they weren’t as refined as the newer engines but they were able to get the job done without whining. The engines were mated on a five speed manual transmission which despite its rubbery feel, it was capable enough to cope well with the arduous missions of the vehicle.
Ride and handling
While driving, the fourth generation Ford Transit isn’t as refined as other vehicles in its class, as it feels a bit unbalanced due to its high stance. The body roll is also pretty big and you have to carefully plan you actions.
At front, the Ford Transit uses independent MacPherson struts, while at the back it gets a multilfeaf spring configuration. The ride is far from being a charming and relaxing experience, but with some load at the back things will start to feel a bit better.
Unfortunately the steering wasn’t well weighted and could’ve been more precise.
TheFord Transit was a capable and reliable partner that offered a generous payload capacity and was also available in a wide range of body styles which made it perfectly suited for various commercial applications.
The engines were also fairly capable and the fuel consumption wasn’t too bad either. The best parts however, were the vehicle’s reliability and its cheap costs of maintenance.
We also liked the spacious interior, but weren’t fond of the poor built quality and the third class ergonomy.
The ride and handling weren’t something to rave about either and compared to other vehicles in its class, the Ford Transit was a half step behind.
Overall however, the fourth generation of the Transit remained the preferred choice when it came to light commercial vehicles.