What Car? says...
The Ford Transit Custom was a runaway success from the start, and has consistently been the UK's best-selling van, popular with owner-drivers as well as fleets.
That success is partly down to the fact that the Ford Transit name is synonymous with medium and large vans – so much so that in the UK many people simply call any van of this size a 'transit van'.
A fully electric Ford E-Transit Custom model is in the pipeline too, and is expected to have an official range of up to 236 miles.
Buyers have the choice of four trim levels – Leader, Trend, Limited and Sport – and there's a huge range of options. There are also more specialised Ford Transit Custom Active and Ford Transit Custom Trail models. Those are the more lifestyle variants of the van range and are also available as a Ford Tourneo Custom passenger version.
If you’re in doubt as to which one suits your needs, the Active model is closer to an SUV in terms of its abilities and style, while the Trail is a more of a rugged off-roader, complete with macho pick-up truck styling and a bold F-O-R-D grille.
However, it’s worth noting that not every engine is available with every trim level. For example, you can’t get the PHEV in Active, Trail or Sport trim.
As well as its name recognition, the breadth of the Custom range is perhaps why it attracts so many customers. You can get short or long body versions of diesel variants, as well as a standard or high roof, making it almost as flexible as the larger Transit.
In this review, we'll tell you just how useful it is, how its performance and load-lugging ability compares with the VW Transporter and other medium vans plus what it's like to drive, how comfortable the seats are and what it'll cost to buy and run.
Don't forget, whichever van suits your needs, we can help you find the best leasing deals for personal or business use through our free What Car? Leasing service.
The Transit Custom has an excellent reliability record compared to many of its rivals. However, buyers tempted by the 2.0-litre engine should be wary: it’s oil hungry and can experience problems relating to the injectors, which can be costly to replace. A software update at the dealers can lessen the problem. Also check recall work has been done – on older models that includes brake booster work, so is safety critical.
The Transit Custom is sold from new with a three-year or 60,000-mile warranty, whichever comes first, giving an indication of how long its maker thinks it should be ultra-reliable for. We’d expect a well-maintained van to provide reliable service for much longer. Ford has a lot of fleet customers, who typically study historic reliability data in great detail before committing to orders. The only weak spot regularly identified are the injectors on older 2.0-litre models.
If you want the best blend of performance, cost and capability we’d recommend the regular 128bhp engine for the Transit Custom. It does everything well, and is available on every variant of the van except Sport models. The top-powered 182bhp engine is only worth considering if you want very rapid performance, while there are also mild hybrid options which improve fuel economy marginally.
Yes, there will be soon. The electric van version – the Ford E-Transit Custom – is due in 2024, and is expected to offer up to 236 miles of range per charge officially. Using a 115kW charger it should be able to recharge from 15-80% in as little as 34 minutes. Full technical details are yet to be revealed.