When Ford decided to enter the most lucrative LCV sector, it benchmarked the class leading VW Transporter. However, Ford took its time over it, the Transit Custom only hit the streets in 2012, but since then has been hounding the VW, mile for mile, tonne for tonne and like for like. Ford’s reward was not only making the Transit Custom the best selling van of its class, but the best-selling Ford product in the UK. 

It doesn’t offer the mind-boggling myriad versions of the full-size Transit, but instead hits right at the heart of the middle-class of LCVs. Built upon two wheelbases of 2,933mm or 3,300mm its L1 and L2 guises give overall lengths of 4,975mm and 5,340mm. External width stands at 2.1 or 2.25m, mirrors in or out, and overall heights are 1.92m to 2.36m in H1 and H2 roof options. The load bay measures from 2.55 to 2.92m in L1 and L2 forms, with internal widths of 1.77m at maximum, pinching-in to 1.35m between the wheel arches. The H1 and H2 variants offer headroom of 1.4m to 1.77m. All that lot combines to offer a range of load volumes from 6 to 8.3m3. Gross vehicle weights range from 2.5 tonnes to 3.4 tonnes and these allow for payloads of between 700kg to 1,490kg, depending upon options, but nearly 1.5 tonnes is very impressive for this class of van.

Pulling all this along is one of the most underrated engines in the LCV sector. Whilst V6-this, and BiTurbo-that, grab the headlines, the humble four-pot 2.0-litre Ford lump – with the addition of mild-hybrid-ing where required, turns out 105 to 170hp with front-wheel drive and torque from 360 to 405Nm.That lowest figure is most noteworthy – it’s generated from just 1,350rpm – that’s HGV territory and it means you can use sixth gear everywhere apart from a traffic jam! The gear change is slick, the steering light and accurate – but the Fiesta’s wheel feels too small in here – frontal visibility is good, the mirrors even better, with decent seats and low noise levels.

Standard kit follows the usual Ford logic, with even the basic Leader version having a load-through bulkhead, DAB, touchscreen infotainment and steering wheel buttons for Bluetooth phone. The Trend version adds power-fold mirrors, parking sensors, cruise control and electrically heated front windscreen – on its own worth going for a Trend model. Then the Trail is for those who really hanker after a Ranger, with Ford moulded grill, body-cladding and limited slip differential. The Limited has the best mix with all from a Trend plus 16in alloys, heated seats and A/C. The Active is all tinsel and no substance whilst the Sport adds 185hp, Tyre Pressure Monitoring and rear view camera, but is festooned in a body kit and stripes. Overall, the Custom is a good used bet, the lower mileage the better – clutches can be weak – and only go for genuine dealer-fit accessories.

Five best options

1) 105hp engine

2) 130hp engine

3) L2 Long wheelbase

4) Trend trim

5) Limited trim

Five best avoided

1) 170hp engine

2) Leader trim

3) Sport trim

4) L1 Short wheelbase

5) H2 roof 

Second-hand buys





Price ex VAT

L2 130 Limited 





L2 130 Limited 





L2 130 Leader





L2 130 Limited 





L2 130 Limited