Van of the Year & Small Panel Van 2013 Small Panel Van Nominations: Ford Transit Custom, Mercedes-Benz Vito, Nissan Primastar/Renault Trafic/Vauxhall Vivaro and Volkswagen Transporter
Ford Transit Custom
Offering top-notch handling, exemplary ride, flexible and fuel-efficient engines, a super-slick gearchange and low in-cab noise levels, Ford’s superb new Transit Custom is a more than worthy winner of our Small Panel Van of the Year accolade. Indeed, this outstanding newcomer is so impressive that it’s received our coveted overall Van of the Year Award for 2013 as well.
Far better built than any of its predecessors and with a well-thought-out cab interior, the front-wheel drive one-tonne Custom is the first of a new line-up of Transits that will appear over the next 12 months. It is on sale with two wheelbases, one roof height, and with the choice of three different versions of the latest 2.2-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel at 100hp, 125hp or 155hp. An Auto-Stop-Start system is either standard or available across the range.
High roof derivatives are being launched at the 2013 Commercial Vehicle Show, alongside Custom’s two-tonne bigger brother, the Transit, and the short- and long-wheelbase Transit Connect.
Custom is available in Base, Trend, Limited or Sport specification, and comes configured as a van, a Double Cab in Van crew cab, a versatile nine-seater Kombi or high specification Tourneo people-carrier.
Van load volumes start at 6.0m3 for the short-wheelbase, expanding to 6.8m3 for long-wheelbase models. Gross payloads on offer range from 683kg to 1,484kg, depending on variant.
Safety, both active and passive, was a priority during the design process. So successful has Ford been that the Tourneo Custom was recently awarded five EuroNCAP stars; an industry first for a panel van-based people-carrier. No other similar vehicle currently comes even close in terms of crash protection.
In addition to ABS, Transit Custom comes with load-adaptive Electronic Stability Programme, Roll-Over Mitigation, Traction Control, Emergency Brake Assist and Emergency Brake Warning. Hill Start Assist prevents it from rolling backwards when pulling away on an incline.
Standard on most models is Ford SYNC with Emergency Assistance which automatically contacts the emergency services if the driver is involved in a crash and one of the many airbags available is inflated. It also allows the majority of Bluetooth-enabled phones, MP3 players and USB drives to be operated with voice commands and reading out any incoming text messages.
Ford has raised the small panel van bar to new heights with the introduction of Transit Custom. In terms of dynamics, refinement, safety and clever, functional design features it is untouchable..
Highly Commended Volkswagen Transporter Its name has been around longer than any other and it’s now in its fifth generation; the Highly Commended Award goes to the excellent Volkswagen Transporter..