The Transit Custom Sport has now spent about six months on the What Van? fleet, undertaking a variety of people and load-carrying assignments, and so far I have been impressed by the crew van’s build quality. Everything seems to be securely bolted together, made from sturdy materials and no unwanted rattles or squeaks have developed.
Indestructible build quality in the medium van sector used to be the USP of the German brands Volkswagen and Mercedes, with their respective Transporter and Vito models, but the Transit Custom can now stand shoulder to shoulder with the best in the business. Even the UK’s pothole-festooned city streets and country lanes have failed to knock the van out of its stride, while firm but forgiving suspension ensures driver and passengers remain comfortable in the cabin.
One minor blip occurred when a front-seat passenger slipped when stepping into the cab and managed to dislodge with their shoe the small body panel that sits below the hinged panel covering the fuel and AdBlue filling nozzles. It clicked simply back into place, however, so no harm was done to van (or passenger).
The short-wheelbase (SWB) Custom Sport DCiV has a tight turning circle of 11.6m, which helps it to steer clear of hazards during tricky manoeuvres and compares with 12.4m for the SWB Renault Trafic, 12.9m for the SWB Peugeot Expert, Citroen Dispatch and Vauxhall Vivaro and 11.9m for the SWB Volkswagen Transporter T6.1 Kombi.
Extra peace of mind is provided by vigilant all-round distance sensors and the excellent rear-view camera.
Inside the cab, the knobs, dials and buttons are not just intuitive but sturdy and durable too, and the glove box is lockable, which is always good to see. The interior is pretty well-insulated against road and engine noise when travelling at speed on motorway journeys, for example, but it can occasionally be difficult to hear the radio.
The provision of remote central door locking with deadlocks should deter thieves from getting into the van and another common, but nonetheless welcome feature is the ability to lock the load and passenger areas separately. If all else fails the Custom Sport is fitted with a Thatcham category 1 alarm.
If a van needs repairing, or even just a regular service, then Ford has taken steps to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum. Since 2019, the Transit Custom, as well as Ford’s other vans bearing the Transit nameplate, have come equipped with the brand’s built-in FordPass Connect modem. This automatically sends vehicle health data to the brand’s new telematics application FORDLiive, which provides vehicle-specific maintenance information to customers.
Small businesses with up to five vehicles receive notifications through the FordPass Pro app, while managers of larger fleets are kept informed by a vehicle health dashboard in a version of Ford Telematics. Ford claims FORDLiive will deliver fewer breakdowns, fewer time-consuming trips to dealers and quicker workshop repairs. The service
is free to operators of connected Transit-badged vans.
Report card: Build quality – 4/5
The Transit Custom Sport is a well put together medium-sized van.
Ford Transit Custom Sport DCiV
Official combined fuel economy 38.2mpg
Our average consumption 31.7mpg
Price range (ex VAT) £23,040-£43,925
Price (ex VAT) £35,177
Service intervals 25,000mls
Load length 1,577mm
Load width (min/max) 1,351/1,775mm
Load bay height 1,406mm
Load volume 3.5m3
Gross payload 904kg
Engine size/power 1,997cc/185hp
Gearbox 6-spd auto