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Car reviews - Ford - Transit - Commercial van range

Launch Story

Ford logo7 Sep 2006

By ANDREW MACLEAN

Ford Australia has added three new variants to its hardworking Transit range as it attempts to increase its share in the commercial vehicle segment.

The new additions include a pair of entry-level front-wheel drive vans for inner-city couriers and small business operators and, at the other end of the spectrum, a seven-seat dual cab extended frame cab chassis primarily designed for teams such as maintenance crews and councils.

Thew new-look Transit range now consists of 20 variants across vans, cab chassis and bus models that all feature updated exterior styling, revised interiors, better safety and a strategically simple method of customising each model to suit individual operator’s requirements.

"We think light trucks will be more and more exciting for Ford of Australia in the coming months, starting with the availability of the new Transit range," said Ford Australia Vice-President of marketing and sales, Mark Winslow.

"Transit currently represents between 10 and 12 per cent of the light commercial vehicle segment. We hope we will enhance our participation and sales in the market segment…by listening to our customers who drive and own these trucks and providing them with what they want."

The van range starts from $32,990 and extends from short wheelbase through mid wheelbase to long wheelbase models. The front-wheel drive models are only available in short and mid wheelbase with a low roof and powered by an 81 kW 2.2-litre turbo-diesel with a five-speed manual transmission.

All rear-wheel drive models feature a 2.4-litre turbo diesel with 103kW and 375Nm that is hooked up to a six-speed manual gearbox. Ford Australia will add a 2.3-litre petrol engine to the rear-wheel drive range from the first quarter of 2007. This engine produces 104kW and 206Nm and is already compatible for LPG conversions.

An automatic transmission is not available on any Transit model at this stage, though Ford Australia said it would maintain pressure on Europe to develop an adequate self-shifter and would not rule out the possibility of it being added in the future.

The cab chassis range is much simpler with single cab or dual cab models while there is only one 12-seat bus in the Transit family, which tops the price list at $49,990.

All models now come fitted with a driver’s airbag and four-wheel disc brakes. ABS brakes are standard equipment on all rear-wheel drive variants and Ford Australia has implemented an optional safety pack that adds a passenger airbag, traction control and dynamic stability control for $900 on all van and bus models.

A similar option is offered for cab chassis variants with just the passenger airbag and traction control for $600. Side airbags can also be ordered on models with a single passenger seat set-up.

The exterior styling is new and clearly follows Ford’s global truck design theme with its bold two-bar grille and vertical stacked headlamps.

But it is inside where the most noticeable change has been implemented with a much more modern dashboard that now incorporates the gearlever for more convenient walk-though access, more storage spaces and features such as aircon and CD sound as standard.

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