Ford’s Transit Courier Sport may not be the zippiest small van available – that title must surely go to its resurrected sibling, the Fiesta Sportvan – but it offers more practicality while still serving up a nimble and engaging drive as you duck and dive about town.
Its compact dimensions allow it to fit into the parking spaces most vans have to pass by, although the somewhat mystifying lack of parking sensors means you have to keep your wits about you when manoeuvering into tight spaces. Sensors are optional across the range, although rear sensors do come as a standard fit on Limited trim.
It’s a curious-looking vehicle, neat and tidy on the one hand but with the twin sporty stripes (black on a white body in our van) looking a tad incongruous on the stubby bonnet that rises via the expansive windscreen to the comparatively high roof, which is characteristic of a compact van. But the fact that the Courier Sport handles so well enables it to just about get away with these stylish indulgences, which also include 16in alloy wheels, body-coloured front and rear bumpers, and black door mirrors.
The 100hp 1.5-litre TDCI engine delivers keen enough performance but you need to work the slick, six-speed manual gearbox quite hard to get the most out of it. As is the way with pretty much all of the Ford’s LCVs we have tested, the power-assisted steering inspires confidence by offering plenty of feedback while doing exactly what you want it to. Peak torque of 215Nm gives the little van impressive load-carrying muscle when called for.
We didn’t push the 556kg payload too close to its limit but did make use of the 2.3m3 cargo space by packing it full with chopped-down bamboo from the garden, employing both the twin rear doors and nearside sliding door to do so. A handy feature allows you to open the load box while keeping the cabin safely locked as you go to and fro to fetch more bags. In Sport Van trim a full bulkhead protects the cab from the load area. Other options, including a folding mesh bulkhead with a ‘fold-and-dive’ passenger seat to increase load length to 2,593mm for longer items like pipes, is available with Trend and Limited specifications.
The cabin is both stylish and well laid out (the previous version scored highly for aesthetics but lost points for practicality) and includes Ford’s Sync3 connectivity package. A 4in colour screen with DAB radio comes as standard on Sport but we got the 6in touchscreen version that includes swipe and pinch-to-zoom functionality, Bluetooth hands-free and Emergency Assist. This is bundled in with the Ford Navigation System (Ice pack 61) option for £509, excluding VAT.
Features to assist the driver include a tyre pressure monitoring dial and steering column-mounted mobile phone (once paired) and radio volume controls, which are operated by buttons within easy reach of the driver’s left thumb.
Sport does not get the cruise control with adjustable speed limiter that comes with Limited trim but it does get the 12V power socket in the load space that is added above mid-range Trend, and manual aircon is standard on both Limited and Sport versions.
Useful stowage in the compact cabin includes a centre console that can hold A4 documents and small laptops, a drawer under the passenger seat for clipboards and laptops, an overhead shelf and a lockable glovebox.
Safety features in addition to the mandatory ESC (electronic stability control) include hill-start assist, trailer sway control, which is not likely to be required too frequently on such a small van, and roll-over mitigation. And you get full-size spare wheel.
Our van also came with the following options: roof rails (£144), heated windscreen with heated washer jets (£96), LED loadbox light (£39), and Seat Pack 8, comprising heated driver and passenger seats with driver and passenger side airbags, plus eight-way adjustable driver and four-way adjustable passenger seats (£336). All prices exclude VAT.
Ford Transit Courier Sport 1.5TDCI
Price (ex VAT) £24,745
Price range (ex VAT) £11,721-£15,970
Insurance group 3E
Service intervals 1yr/20,000mls
Load length 1,620mm
Load width (min/max) 1,012/1,488mm
Load bay height 1,244mm
Gross payload 556kg
Load volume 2.3m3
Engine size/power 1,498cc/100hp
Combined fuel economy 62.8mpg
The Sport derivative adds ‘look at me’ appeal to the already refined and practical Transit Courier line-up.