Ford introduced the Transit Courier in 2014 and for three years offered it alongside its other well-established and much-loved small van: the car-derived Fiesta Van.
Since this summer, however, the Courier has been going it alone as the manufacturer chose not to add a light commercial version to the new Fiesta passenger car range. The Transit Courier competes with the compact cubed vans created by PSA Peugeot-Citroen and Fiat Professional, namely the Bipper, Nemo and Fiorino.
Much of the car-derived model’s appeal, however, came from its sporty driving characteristics, which customers who didn’t need the extra space or payload capacity tended to prefer. Last year, Ford sold 4,076 Fiesta Vans compared with 3,050 Couriers.
So in May 2017 Ford launched the Transit Courier Sport Van to bridge the gap to operators looking for something a little more stylish and to highlight that the Courier, too, is a good vehicle to drive.
Designed purely as an LCV, it offers a more practical load-carrying proposition than the Fiesta Van with a 660kg payload and a load volume of 2.3m3 compared with the Fiesta Van’s 508kg and 1.0m3 dimensions.
Features include twin body-contrast stripes and black, painted power-heated door mirrors, and like the rest of the line-up it is available with either the 100hp 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol engine or the 95hp 1.5-litre TDCi diesel engine driven here.
The Sport Van is priced from £13,845 (all prices exclude VAT) with the Courier range as a whole kicking off at £11,945. Specification levels on the Courier are decent even on the entry-level Base model, which gets features such as a full-sized spare wheel, rake- and reach-adjustable steering, DAB radio with Bluetooth and USB connectivity and, reassuringly, a full-sized bulkhead
Step up to Trend and extras include, for example, a nearside loading door, front fog lights, automatic headlights, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, underseat stowage, an overhead shelf, a fancier infotainment system with Ford Sync, a 3.5-inch dotmatrix display and iPod functionality, leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearshift knob, a fuel-usage display, lockable glove box, and a 12V socket in the load box.
Move on up to the Sport and the additions are largely cosmetic – you get 16-inch alloy wheels, body colour front and rear bumpers and bodyside mouldings, front and rear skid plates, and Sport rocker panels. The interior is adorned with manual air-conditioning, red stitching on the leather-trimmed steering wheel, black patterned seat inserts with leather touches, and an illuminated glovebox.
The overall affect may not be subtle but achieves the aim of giving the Sport a racier, stand-out-from-the-crowd appearance. There is a reasonable £650 price uplift from Base to Trend followed by a sharp £1,250 increase to Sport, which seems a bit steep.
Our van also came with parking sensors for an extra £150 (always a sensible option even on a small van), metallic paint for £300, magnetic roof rails for £150, and power front windows with one shot up and down for both driver (standard from Trend) and passenger (a £25 option on Sport).
It was good to find that the inside of the load bay was ply-lined on the walls and floor, while that side door certainly improves access.
On the road the Courier Sport handles excellently, particularly in its urban element, and it would be churlish to quibble about the lack of a sixth gear on motorway trips.
The 95hp engine is not especially powerful but is nippy enough and delivers a fun drive in conjunction with the slick, five-speed manual gearbox – the gear lever is placed within the easiest possible reach of the driver, an impressive touch – and sharp, responsive steering.
Ford Transit Courier Sport Van 1.5 TDCI 95hp
|Price (ex VAT) £15,570|
|Price range (ex VAT) £11,945-£15,570|
|Service intervals 12,000mls|
|Load length 1,620mm|
|Load width (min/max) 1,012/1,488mm|
|Load bay height 1,244mm|
|Gross payload 661kg|
|Load volume 2.3m3|
|Engine size/power 1,498cc/95hp|
|Combined fuel economy 70.6mpg|
An impressive addition to the Transit Courier line-up that should help customers quickly get over the loss of the Fiesta Van.