Car reviews - Ford - Transit - Commercial van range
Car-like interior, standard features, increased safety, unrivalled choice
Room for improvement
No auto, fit and finish, light clutch action, poor air-conditioning
7 Sep 2006
THERE is really no use trying to crucify something like the Transit by using the same criteria as you’d judge a passenger car. These things are for carrying stuff – and occasionally a passenger.
A novel drive with a small range of Transit variants from the headquarters of Ford’s V8 Supercar hero of the moment, Ford Performance Racing, to the Sandown Raceway circuit recently put the Transit to the test – particularly as all of them were loaded up with critical racecar cargo of varying weight.
As the petrol engine is not due to arrive until early next year, we only got to sample the turbo-diesel models in both front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive configuration.
For inner-city couriers or any small business that requires a van, the entry-level Transit is more than capable – and you wouldn’t even know it was front-wheel drive when you’re driving it.
The 2.2-litre engine is strong and smooth, with a meaty midrange that will ensure it can haul a full load. The 2.4-litre is even better, particularly with the greater ratio spread offered by the six-speed manual.
Not having driven too many vans or commercial vehicles of the like, it took me a while to get a feel for the light action of the clutch – but once the relationship between it and the boost-fed engine becomes second nature it was easy to use.
For those small business operators who have a multitude of employees helping out with odd jobs and deliveries, an auto option would be a Godsend and will certainly also prevent the embarrassment of watching the inexperienced bunny hop their way out of a driveway.
For those drivers that do spend most of the day behind the wheel of a Transit, the improvements to the interior are evident and will be a big selling point for Ford. There is plenty of nifty hidy holes, including cup-holders big enough to carry 2.0-litre bottles and thoughtful ideas such as the glovebox being able to store hanging folders in much the same way as a filing cabinet.
The seats are comfortable, there is good vision out the front and from the side mirrors, the standard CD player will be appealing and the relocated gearlever into the dash makes it so much easier to get through to the cargo area or carry a third person.
Credit has to be given to Ford for including aircon as standard equipment, but the system is obviously still set for Europe as it was struggling to represent anything that resembled cool air even on a moderately warm start to the spring in Melbourne.
Overall, the Transit is designed for those that need to carry cargo – and it certainly does that well.
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