The What Van? Road Test: Ford Transit Custom

Date: Monday, July 23, 2018   |   Author: Steve Banner


Transitrear 3:4


The Custom is protected by a three-year/100,000-mile warranty plus a 12-year perforation corrosion warranty. Service intervals are set at two years/36,000 miles.

Like the bumpers, mirror casings and door handles, the side rubbing strips are colour-keyed on Limited models and help protect the Custom from minor damage.

Front and rear parking sensors make more serious harm less likely, with warning beeps and a schematic on the aforementioned touchscreen alerting you when you get too close to an obstacle.

If you still manage to reverse or drive into something, then at least there is the consolation that multi-piece bumpers are fitted.

That means they may not have to be replaced in their entirety if they suffer damage.

It seems a pity that the manufacturer has abandoned a long-standing approach to security that means the ignition key has to be used to unlock the bonnet.

A clearly marked lever in the cab plus a catch under the lid’s leading edge are employed instead.

It’s good to see that the van is protected by a Thatcham Category 1 alarm though which is standard with Trend trim. All the doors automatically lock at speeds above 5mph too.

Furthermore, if you unlock your van and none of the doors is opened after 45 seconds, they all lock again.

Fuel economy is exemplary. Despite high-speed runs down the M5 and trips up and down the switchback hills of Gloucestershire’s Forest of Dean, we were unable to push the Custom below the claimed combined economy figure of 46.3mpg.

Make stop/start standard and doubtless it would be even better.

Transit Custom Limited 280 L1H1 2.0 TDCi 130hp EcoBlue


Price (ex VAT)


Price range (ex VAT)


Gross payload


Load length


Load width (min/max)


Load bay height


Load volume


Loading height


Rear door aperture


Side door aperture


Gross vehicle weight


Braked trailer towing weight


Residual value

22.2% *

Cost per mile


Engine size/power

1,995cc, 130hp @ 3500pm


385Nm @ 1,500-2,000rpm



Fuel economy


Fuel tank

80 litres





Service intervals


Insurance group


Price as tested


* After 4yrs/80,000mls; Source: KwikCarcost



The Final Verdict



Well thought-out and attractive package with user-friendly cab.



Ample storage space and easy-to-use controls.



Competent enough but at times struggles with poor surfaces. 



Noise is, generally, not an issue and the van is well put together. 

Load area


Good to see two interior lights and a load-through facility.



Both are to a high standard.



A well-matched combination.

Standard equipment


Most of what you need is in place.

Operating costs


Decent warranty, long service intervals and respectable mpg.

What Van? subjective rating


An excellent package that is sure to be a marketplace winner.


Peugeot Expert
Price (ex VAT) £19,090-£28,515
Load volume    4.6-6.1m3
Gross payload    1099-1499kg
Engines     95hp, 115hp 1.6 diesel, 120hp, 150hp, 180hp 2.0 diesel
Verdict: An impressive package with most of the facilities a driver is likely to need, while a decent warranty, sensible service intervals and acceptable economy should keep operators happy. The Expert is also marketed through Citroen dealers as the Dispatch and with Toyota as the Proace.

Vauxhall Vivaro
Price (ex VAT) £21,680-£27,180
Load volume      5.2-8.6m3
Gross payload    989-1,280kg
Engines    95hp, 120hp, 125hp, 145hp 1.6 diesel

Verdict: It’s a rebadged version of Renault’s Trafic. That explains why it won’t be around for too much longer now that Vauxhall is owned by PSA Group, which also owns Citroen and Peugeot. Expect it to be replaced next year by a new model that will use the same platform as Citroen’s Dispatch and Peugeot’s Expert.

VW Transporter
Price (ex VAT) £19,870-£37,790
Load volume 5.8-9.3m3
Gross payload718-1274kg
Engines 84hp, 102hp, 150hp, 204hp diesel

Verdict: Seemingly built to last forever, offering a pleasant driving experience, and with a strong focus on safety, the VW loses out on styling. Neither the interior nor the exterior is inspiring. But balance that against RVs that are to die for and the support of a professional van-oriented dealer network.


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