First Drive: Ford Transit High Roof

Date: Friday, June 06, 2014   |  

The latest addition to Ford’s Transit Custom range is the High Roof version, which adds an extra 370mm of load height compared to the standard roof model.

Costing an extra £500 over the regular lower-roofed alternative, the High Roof is available across all vehicle weight, powertrain and trim options on the standard panel van, with the exception of Econetic and Sport Van variants or he crew van layout, but can be specced in the Kombi minibus derivative.

The High Roof offers an additional 370mm of load height, which increases the load area height too 1778mm. that equates to a load space, in long-wheelbase form driven here, of 8.3m3, compared with 6.8m3 on the regular lower roof van. The short-wheelbase Custom goes from 6.0 to 7.2m3 when the High Roof is added.

Ford claims the all-steel roof construction is unique in the sector and offers more durability than a composite roof construction, and it can take a 100kg roof rack load. 

Payload is impacted slightly, with the High Roof offering 47kg less in short wheelbase form and 49kg less as a long wheelbase model, and there will predictably be a small efficiency loss with the less aerodynamic larger vehicle.

Double Van of the Year award winner in the What Van? Awards, the Custom’s appeal remains strong in terms of cabin quality, road manners and looks, though the High Roof isn’t quite as well balanced proportionally as its regular sibling, although not as ungainly as some rival high-roof medium vans.

The extra height and raised centre of gravity is noticeable when taking roundabouts in particular, though the Custom’s excellent handling and driving experience are relatively undiminished and still at the head of the field.

The cost is also reasonable for the step-up in carrying capacity. A VW Transporter has three roof heights, with a £445 jump from standard to medium, though that only offers a loadbay height of 1626mm and volume of 7.8m3, compared to the Ford’s 1778mm and 8.3m3. To get to 9.3m3 and 1940 of load area height, the Transporter cost a further £315, totaling £760 to get a larger area than the Custom. It’s a similar story for the likes of the Mercedes-Benz Vito, where an extra £998, all prices are quoted before VAT, takes Merc’s medium van from 5.2-6.5m3 and up to 1745mm of loadbay height.

So the Transit Custom’s High Roof alternative appears good value, and only very slightly diminishes the class-leading handling and styling. Another worthy addition to the multi award-winning line-up.

 

Verdict:

Inexpensive way to extra loadspace in the excellent Custom           



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