Vans of the Year

Date: Monday, December 8, 2008


Ford Transit

Yet again Ford’s Transit has driven off with What Van?’s Panel Van Security Award of the Year, and it’s not hard to see why. For a kick-off all Transits come with a Ford Safeguard Passive Anti-Theft System (PATS) engine immobiliser certified to Thatcham Category 2. Thatcham is shorthand for the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre which happens to be based in the Berkshire town of the same name.

Your vehicle is additionally protected by shielded door locks with strengthened mountings and featuring a lock-in-latch arrangement. This means that there are no cables and rods linking the locks and latches, and as a consequence nothing for the thief to manipulate.

The remote central double-locking system features deadlocks. A warning sounds if the doors haven’t been locked properly and they are all locked automatically when you drive away.

You need the ignition key to open the bonnet, a feature we can only applaud. It’s a sensible anti-theft measure and we’d like to see it adopted more widely.

Transit owners can enjoy a reasonably secure cargo area with the presence of unglazed rear doors and a full-height steel bulkhead. A lockable fuel filler, a visible Vehicle Identification Number and VIN-protected audio units should help frustrate the criminally-inclined too, as should what Ford describes as a ‘torque slip’ anti-theft steering wheel. The act of wrenching it as hard as you possibly can in order to break the steering column lock has the effect of rendering the wheel useless.

If you feel all the foregoing may be insufficient to protect your pride and joy, then it’s worth noting that a Thatcham Category 1 alarm is available. It includes an interior scanner plus an independent battery back-up should a thief try to disconnect the vehicle’s own battery.

Transit can also be ordered with a trailer monitoring alarm. It sounds the alert if somebody unauthorised tries to separate your trailer from your van.

Another useful option is configurable unlocking. It allows the driver to choose which doors to unlock, and in which order, when selected buttons are pressed on the remote key fob; handy to have if you happen to be on multi-drop delivery work.


Ford Transit Connect

Ford’s Transit Connect boasts many of the security features of its Transit big brother and that’s more than sufficient reason for granting it our Light Van Security Award of the Year.

The cordon that surrounds it includes Ford’s Safeguard Passive Anti-Theft System engine immobiliser, shielded door locks with strengthened mountings, and the lock-in-latch system employed by Transit. For your money you also get central/double locking, a bonnet release operated by the ignition key, a locking fuel cap and a visible Vehicle Identification Number.

Remote keyless entry with rolling codes is standard on almost all models and the options list includes a perimeter alarm plus a choice of bulkheads.

All the anti-theft devices in the world are pointless, however, if you forget to take your key out of the ignition while you’re busy making a delivery or paying for your fuel at a service station. It’s equally worthless if you leave the key hanging on a hook by your front door where it can be found by any passing opportunist criminal. Manufacturer-fitted systems are no substitute for being security-conscious at all times; and using your common sense.


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