Ford’s response to Volkswagen Transporter and Renault Traffic is ready to take center stage at the upcoming 2012 Commercial Vehicle Show, as the company has officially announced the debut of its new LCV prior to sales launch later in 2012 in Europe.
The new Ford Transit Custom is based on the Ford Tourneo Custom Concept and except for some minor exterior modifications it bares the same look as its donor.
The company declared that the Ford Transit Custom will be available with a full range of van, combi, and double-cab-in-van models and won’t be sold in North America.
Jesus Alonso, director CV Marketing, Sales and Service, Ford of Europe said, “The launch of this new range marks the start of a far-reaching transformation of Ford’s global commercial vehicle range. With more new models set to be revealed in the coming months, 2012 is destined to be a very exciting year for our commercial vehicle business.”
The main rival of the new Ford Transit Custom is the Renault Traffic and the French rival set very high standards in terms of exterior design. Ford had do bring at least a similarly stylish vehicle if he wanted to compete against the current segment leaders with success. Luckily its new Transit Custom looks like it means business and has anything it takes to be considered a strong player in the segment.
Though, we’ll have to admit that at the first sight, the car-inspired front fascia looked a bit odd on a LCV and we needed a few seconds to digest the innovative style penned by Ford ’s designers.
Overall we like how Ford ’s kinetic design was seamlessly integrated into the Transit Custom as the vehicle offers a good mix between dynamism and practicality.
The front is dominated by the typical trapezoidal grille, which became Ford’s signature, and by two sharp headlights that look great and offer a touch of dynamisms that can’t be seen at many vehicles in the segment.
We also like the strong muscular shoulder line that starts flowing from the front headlights and goes along the sides further enhancing the dynamic look of the Transit Custom. The prominent wheel arches are also nicely integrated into the body and make the vehicle stand out from the crowd.
The Transit Custom will offer a choice of short wheelbase (SWB - overall length 4.97 metres) and long wheelbase (LWB - overall length 5.34 metres) versions. For the moment we don’t know if the vehicle will also be available with chassis cab options, but we could expect them to arrive soon after the launch.
Ford didn’t reveal any interior shots of its new Transit Custom, but we could expect to feature a very close design to the Tourneo Concept cockpit. The materials should also be better than what we get from the Renault Traffic, while the build quality shouldn’t be a big concern either, as Ford ’s latest models never disappointed in this department.
The interior will have a car-like appearance with a design oriented towards functionality. For enhanced practicality the gear lever will be mounted into the dash and we can also expect to a good overall ergonomy and an intuitive layout for most of the controls and switches.
The modern, cockpit features a wicked instrument panel with a modern style and smart stowage solutions for bottles, phones and papers. The driver is treated with a highly adjustable seat and a steering column adjustable for both reach and rake.
Despite its utilitarian nature, the Transit Custom will be fitted with a host driver assistance technologies also featured on Ford’s latest passenger cars. Among them there are the SYNC voice-activated in-car connectivity system, Emergency Assistance and rear-view camera. Moreover, the new Transit Custom will also be available with the Lane Keeping Alert and Driver Alert systems which can’t be seen at many vehicles in the segment and work by alerting the driver if the vehicle is inadvertently drifting out of the lane, or the driver is becoming tired behind the wheel.
The Transit Custom also comes with an optimized body structure which uses ultra-high-strength Boron steel for the first time on a Transit. Ford says that over 40 percent of the body is made from high-strength or ultra-high-strength steels, improving the vehicle’s safety and also keeping the total weight to a low level.
The new vehicle is also available with curtain airbags for the front seat occupants, in addition to driver and passenger airbags and seat-mounted side thorax airbags.
Engines and performance
The Ford Transit Custom is equipped with the 2.2 liter Duratorq TDCi diesel engine which is available in three power outputs with 100hp, 125 hp and 155 hp. The engine features Auto-Start-Stop technology as standard on Stage V vehicles and offers a mixed fuel consumption of only 6.6 l/100km with 174 g/km CO2 emissions (8% smaller than the current Ford Transit).
Ford said that its new global one tonne platform is combined with a capable suspension and an advance steering system to offer a significantly improved ride comfort, along with more precise and agile handling.
For enhanced safety and traction, the Ford Transit Custom is equipped with Electronic Stability Program technology with Torque Vectoring Control.
Ford’e engineers have also paid extra attention to cab’s NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) isolations and the new model will feature a quieter and more relaxing environment for the driver and passengers.
Production of the new Transit Custom will start from mid-2012 at Ford ’s plant in Kocaeli, Turkey, with the market launch programmed later this year.
Video: Ford Tourneo Custom Concept