At the media launch this week of the first new generation Ford Transit models to appear in the UK I had a brief spell behind the wheel of the new Ford Tourneo Custom, a large MPV people-carrier cum up-market 8/9 seater executive minibus.
The new Tourneo takes the best features from Ford’s passenger car people-movers such as the C-Max, S-Max and Galaxy models and enhances them for use in Transit SWB/LWB body options. The vehicle has two front side-hinged doors and two sliding side doors plus a huge and high opening, low load sill, low floor aerodynamic bodyshell. In the front of the vehicle the fascia looks like a larger version of that found in the Focus, new Kuga or any of the Ford MPVs so it will be home from home for Ford passenger car drivers moving up to the larger Tourneo. Front row seats are either two individual ones or a three seater layout can be had as an option. There is a middle and rear row of three individual seats all of which can have their seat backs folded flat, or fold and tumble forwards or can be unclipped from the vehicle all together. Even with all three rows in use there is huge load space behind the rear seats.
Larger families who have used the Galaxy MPV or any other big MPV but found them not to have enough load space will be target customers. Because of the flexibility the Tourneo Custom offers it will also be used by the business and travel chauffeuring fraternity, minibus operators, private-hire companies, converters who provide vehicles for the disabled both a as passenger or self-drive. The only drawback for this group will be the lack of an automatic transmission option for the immediate future. Taxi converters are also keen about the new Transits but again the lack of an auto gearbox will be a drawback but Ford already has a design concept for a new taxi based on the Transit Custom Kombi.
My test model, the Tourneo Custom LWB Limited, had the 155PS version of the 2.2-litre, four cylinder turbodiesel engine, the core powerplant for all new generation Transits. There are other power-output options from 100PS upwards. The 155PS version gives 385Nm of torque and is mated with a 6-speed manual gearbox operated by a short high fascia mounted gearlever. Officially this vehicle will return 45.6mpg but might short drive around country lanes returned just 26.6mpg but this will improve on a longer journey. CO2 emissions are 172g/km so VED road tax is £275. Being based on a commercial vehicle, Ford doesn’t provide performance figures but it will cruise easily well in excess of the legal maximum 70mph and the acceleration didn’t seem slower than most other road users given today’s busy traffic conditions.
The spec is high as is the overall comfort with low noise intrusion. Road holding is precise given the vehicle’s size with some cornering bodyroll at higher speeds but this is a family/business workhorse not a family passenger car. It has an Electronic Stability Programme as standard with head, curtain and side airbags. Electric front windows, front and rear air conditioning, electric door mirrors with blind spot warning lights, remote central locking, side steps, carpeted floor, cruise control, automatic headlights and wipers, heated windscreen, DAB radio, multi-function display, on-board computer and 16-inch alloy wheels are just some of the specification items. It’s just like driving a well equipped MPV only with more space for passengers and most importantly their luggage or sports/recreational equipment.
MILESTONES. Ford Tourneo Custom LWB Limited (8-seats). Range price incl. VAT: From £28,285, (test model £33,495 + £780 for 9-seat option). Engine/transmission: 2.2-litre, 4-cylinder, TDCi turbodiesel, 155PS (152bhp), 385Nm (284lb ft) of torque, 6-speed manual. Performance: Speeds n/a, 45.6mpg (26.6mpg on rural roads test drive), CO2 172g/km, VED road tax £275. Insurance group: tba. Dimensions: L 5,339mm, W 1,986mm H 1,909mm. For: Practical easy to use space for passengers and their luggage, car-like specification, 5-star safety, good looks, easy to drive, lots of uses for lots of user-groups from families to business. Against: No auto gearbox option, no electric close function for the tall tailgate. Miles Better News Agency