When you’re out and about in a big, long-wheelbase van it’s great to feel you’re well protected by a wealth of safety technology and driver-assistance features, particularly if, like me, much of your time behind the wheel is spent negotiating tight city streets populated with pedestrians, cyclists, moving traffic and parked vehicles.
On a fairly fundamental level, I’ve been grateful for our Transit Custom’s excellent dual-section wing mirrors, which provide both a wide and near view of what’s lurking behind the vehicle and are particularly useful when it comes to the preservation of cyclists and the legions of always-in-a-rush scooter-mounted pizza-delivery riders.
Our crew van does have a rear-view mirror too but this cannot be relied upon as it only affords a limited field of vision through the small window in the bulkhead and the glazed rear doors.
Another feature I’ve found invaluable has been the excellent rear-view camera, which comes as part of the optional £1,334 Visibility Pack Premium. Not only does this reduce the chances of reversing into pedestrians or parked vehicles, it also allows you to accurately gauge where the legal parking space ends and the dreaded double yellow lines begin.
All-round sensors provide comprehensive protection to the rest of the van’s body too.
I have previously remarked on how the adaptive cruise control enables safer and more relaxing long-distance journeys and other welcome features include side wind stabilisation and lane keeping alert.
Sometimes, however, it feels that all this radar and camera technology gets a tad over zealous.
The Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection alert, for example, is inclined to hysterically over react – frantically blaring and flashing orange on the dashboard when you do nothing more hazardous than drive down a residential street with parked cars on either side or pull out to pass a bus picking up passengers at a stop.
Another bugbear is the distance warning that begins frantically flashing when the van is moving steadily in traffic – keeping a perfectly safe distance behind the vehicle in front. Then there is the speed limit alert that is impressively vigilant in detecting when you pass between, say, 30mph and 20mph zones, but bleeps irritatingly every time you so much as touch upon the upper limit.
Still, better safe than sorry eh?
Report Card: Driver assistance features = 3/5
Comprehensively equipped but alerts are unnecessarily overzealous.
V362 Transit Trend D/Cab In Van 2.0TDCI 310LWB
Official combined consumption 44.8mpg
Our average consumption 33.3mpg
Price (ex VAT) £27,140.83
Price range (ex VAT) £21,240–£32,461
Service intervals 36,000mls
Load length 2,922mm
Load width (min/max) 1,390/1,775mm
Load bay height 1,406mm
Gross payload 884kg
Load volume 6.2m3
Engine size/power 2,000cc/128hp
On sale September 2016
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