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 Transit name itself 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.
All Transits come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, but there is also the option of a six-speed 'SelectShift' automatic that you can have all but the entry-level engine.
As well as its name recognition, the outstanding breadth of the range is perhaps why it attracts so many customers. You can get short or long body versions, as well as a standard or high roof, making the Transit Custom 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 rivals, and other crucial information, including 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 the free What Car? Leasing service.
The Ford 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 this includes brake booster work, so is safety critical. Read more Ford Transit Custom running cost details.
All versions of the Ford Transit return good fuel economy on the official test cycle; the mild hybrid model tops the charts at more than 40mpg, but the lowest and highest powered units are less than two miles per gallon behind. Bear in mind, however, that a more powerful engine may be more economical if a van is fully laden. Read our full Ford Transit Custom review.
The Ford 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. However 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. Read our full Ford Transit Custom review.
There are plenty of reports of vans powered by diesel engines breaking down at 50,000 miles, and others of the same make and model of van being reliable beyond 250,000 miles. What’s critical is how well maintained the van is. However, it is also worth bearing in mind that an engine that has done high-mileage is attached to a van that has done high mileage; it is therefore more likely to have suffered wear and tear and to cost more to maintain. As a rule of thumb, for longer-term ownership we’d advise sticking to buying a van under 100,000 miles. For more information on running costs, see our Ford Transit Custom review.
If you want the best blend of performance, cost and capability we’d recommend the regular 128bhp engine for the Ford 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. A fully electric Ford E-Transit Custom model is also launching in 2023. Read more in our Ford Transit Custom engine review.
A Ford E-Transit Custom will launch in 2023, powered by batteries and offering up to 236 miles of range per charge. Using a 115kW charger it can recharge from 15-80% in 34 minutes. Full technical details are yet to be revealed, but we do have the first details and pictures of the Ford E-Transit Custom.