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Ford’s new-generation Transit Custom offers a lower height, among other improvements

Ford South Africa president Neale Hill

19th June 2024

By: Sabrina Jardim

Creamer Media Online Writer

     

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Featuring enhanced load-carrying capacity and improved driver comfort and convenience features, automotive company Ford South Africa has begun the introduction of the new Transit Custom commercial vehicle range.

The Transit Custom launches in South Africa with the Base Long Wheelbase Van initially, with additional derivatives to follow later this year.

The next generation of the one-ton van is designed to help small and medium-sized businesses reduce cost of ownership, work more effectively and achieve greater levels of productivity.

Speaking at the launch on June 18, Ford South Africa president Neale Hill noted that the Transit Custom had undergone a comprehensive redesign, with a focus on enhancing load-carrying capacity, driver comfort and overall performance.

“I think those three components are absolutely critical when you look at how this vehicle has been re-engineered to meet those requirements, and it's about how do you carry loads easily, functionally, practically? How do you make the driver's life easy?” he noted.

He noted that, as this vehicle was often a tool of trade, it had to be efficient, affordable to operate and provide a high degree of uptime.

The new Transit Custom includes a clean-sheet design that is stiffer and 100 kg lighter than that of the previous-generation vehicle. It also features a lengthened wheelbase for optimum cargo capacity.

To maximise fuel efficiency, the new model’s body design was developed using extensive aerodynamic simulation. Together with a reduced frontal area, the company notes that this has resulted in a 13% lower coefficient of aerodynamic drag compared with the previous-generation model.

Moreover, the vehicle architecture was optimised to help achieve an overall height of under 2 m  to improve access in height-restricted areas such as multi-storey car parks, garages and underground loading bays.

Optimised packaging of the chassis and body structure enables the vehicle’s load floor to be lower than that of the outgoing model to facilitate loading cargo and cab access.

The company notes that, for the first time, the Transit Custom van is also fitted with a new semi-trailing arm independent rear suspension design that contributes towards a 100-mm-lower floor height for improved ease of loading, while also aiding steering precision, handling and traction.

“One of the key things that we really worked very hard at doing when we designed this vehicle was to drop the overall height of the vehicle without sacrificing load carrying capacity, especially because there's a lot of constraints in terms of roof heights when going into multi-storey parking garages.

“Drivers can now do this with confidence knowing that the Transit actually comes in below 2 m in height,” said Hill.

As a large-capacity panel van, the Transit Custom offers a total load volume of 5.8 m3 with the standard roof height, along with a payload of up to 1 269 kg and a maximum load length of  3 050 mm using the load-through feature.

Additionally, the vehicle’s maximum braked trailer weight is rated at 1 500 kg, should owners need to tow additional cargo.

The company notes that the front wheels and strut towers have also been repositioned further forward, resulting in better cross-cab access, more foot space and footrests for occupants in the front, as well as a shorter front overhang for more confident parking and manoeuvring.

“[There are] lots of little tweaks and changes that really making a big difference to the vehicle,” said Hill.

POWERTRAIN

The Transit Custom is powered by Ford’s efficient and economical 2.0 l Single Turbo EcoBlue diesel four-cylinder engine which produces 100 kW of power at 3 500 rpm, along with 360 Nm of torque between 1 750 rpm and 2 500 rpm.

The 2.0 l diesel engine uses AdBlue diesel exhaust fluid to transform nitrogen oxide into harmless nitrogen and water, significantly reducing the impact of its exhaust emissions. A 20 l AdBlue tank is standard.

Power is delivered to the front wheels using a six-speed manual transmission.

The company notes that the powertrain can be optimised for a range of use cases using selectable drive modes, with productivity-enhancing options including normal, eco and slippery, enabling drivers to easily tune Transit Custom’s performance to suit different operating requirements and driving conditions.

An electronic parking brake is standard, providing seamless ease of use while freeing up cabin space.

The new Transit Custom also includes various safety features, such as ABS brakes, electronic stability programme with traction control, hill launch assist, electronic brakeforce distribution and emergency brake assist as standard.

Vehicle security features comprise keyless entry and start, shielded power door deadlocks, a two-step door unlocking system and a standard immobiliser. A Thatcham Category 1-specification alarm is optionally available too.

The integrated 5G-capable FordPass Connect modem enables remote locking and unlocking via the FordPass app, along with the vehicle locator, health alerts and oil life status features.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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