It’s no fun getting stuck in city traffic, but as Steve Banner discovers, at least it provides an opportunity to appreciate some of our Ford Transit Custom’s virtues
While our long-term Transit Custom has not covered a huge distance over the past month, the arduous nature of the mileage it has completed means it has been worked hard. It has spent much of its time crawling through the traffic congestion that bedevils Bristol city centre, and the nature of the capital of the West Country’s topography means that that has involved grinding up quite a few steep hills.
As we crawled along behind buses and taxis we were more
than grateful for both the slick change offered by the standard six-speed manual gearbox – we had no great desire for the typically jerky change offered by the automated manual ’boxes offered as options in some of Transit’s rivals – and the accompanying smooth clutch action. We were just as appreciative of the clear vision – ahead, to either side and down the van’s flanks – courtesy of the exterior rear-view mirrors that enabled us to keep a look out for the city’s numerous cyclists.
Our long-wheelbase standard- roof van is powered by the 125hp version of the 2.2-litre TDCi diesel, which is fine for urban work. Indeed, you could probably get away with the 100hp variant that is also offered – you can order it at 155hp too – but vans on city centre delivery runs also have to venture onto dual- carriageways and motorways from time to time, and it’s then that a few more horses come in handy.
We remain impressed by the ability of the 6.8m3 cargo area to swallow more stuff than one might initially expect, with packaging material and old computer kit among the loads it has handled recently. Fuel economy has improved a little and is within an acceptable distance of the official combined consumption figure.
The Transit Custom is now attracting less attention from other road users than it did when we first took charge of it, a reflection of the fact that more and more of them can now be seen on the public highway as sales quite rightly begin to rise.