April 28, 2017
It’s no secret that Ford is the leading manufacturer of commercial vehicles in the UK. Its vans regularly out-sell their rivals by significant margins – and the trend shows no sign of stopping.
Ford topped the new van registration charts yet again in 2016, with the best-selling Ford Transit Custom out-performing even the evergreen Transit by almost 2 to 1.
In fact, no fewer than FOUR of Ford’s six commercial vehicles finished in the top 10 for the last 12 months with total sales topping 100,000 units. When you realise that the total number of new van registrations was just 375,687, you understand just how dominant Ford is.
The smallest van in Ford’s commercial vehicle range is the Fiesta van, based on the passenger car of the same name. It’s basically the same, albeit with panels instead of windows and a load bay instead of seats in the rear. As you can imagine, the Fiesta van is well-refined, comfortable and easy to drive. Its 1 cubic metre of loadspace is very small, but if you’ve chosen a car-derived van then chances are that loadspace is not a concern.
Moving on then, the first ‘proper’ van in the Ford range is the Transit Courier. It’s also one of the youngest, having only made its debut three years ago in 2014. Again, this van is also based on the Fiesta passenger car, so it carries the same characteristics – refinement, comfort and driveability. Despite its small size the Courier can carry a Euro pallet, and all models can accommodate a minimum payload of 577kg.
There’s a common theme here – driveability. Ford really have done the best they can with their vans, most of which drive as well as a passenger car. The Transit Connect is no exception. It also boasts fantastic efficiency with some engines achieving up to 72.4 mpg, according to Ford. The Connect is deceptively big – short wheelbase models can take two Europallets and 3-metre long items while long wheel base versions can even accommodate up to four standard 8’x4’ sheets. The best news?
Do we need to introduce this one? As already mentioned the Transit Custom sold nearly 50,000 units last year, making it by far the UK’s favourite van. It looks good, it’s safe and reliable and features some excellent ideas like the ‘load-through’ bulkhead which extends the load length of this great van. The Transit Custom has led by example – it was the first medium van to be awarded a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating and the first to be able to carry THREE Euro pallets in a short wheelbase model. If you need extra seats, the Custom crew cab (sorry – double-cab-in-van) is as capable and practical as its panel van counterpart.
Knocked off its perch by its little brother, the Ford Transit remains an excellent choice of large van. It’s excellent to drive with great handling and impressive refinement. New 2.0-litre engines provide more power and torque while reducing fuel consumption and emissions. The Transit can take FOUR Euro pallets in even the smallest version, which offers a usable loadspace of 10 cubic metres. A dual passenger bench seat is included as standard, as is a sliding side door and full width bulkhead.
Last but not least, it’s the Ford Ranger. As far as pickups go, it’s one of the better-looking models on the market. Oozing American influence, the Ranger is an attractive and stylish vehicle. Offering a range of cab styles to fit your requirements, the Ranger has seating for up to five people in double cab versions. Entry-level ‘XL’ models are lacking in terms of standard features, but the rest are well-equipped with alloy wheels, fog lights, air conditioning, digital radio and cruise control.
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