Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Go for the 182bhp engine and it transforms the Transit Custom into a rocketship – in van terms, at least. However, no matter which power output you choose, plenty of torque is available across a wide rev range, making this a good van to drive both around town and on motorways.
All Custom variants meet the latest Euro-6d emissions regulations, too. And there’s even a mild hybrid version of the mid-range 128bhp unit, which can help you save fuel by providing the engine with small amounts of electrical assistance.
The Custom is also the best-handling mid-sized van out there, with pleasantly weighty steering that provides you with good feedback without ever becoming tiring.
In fact, everything about how the Transit Custom drives is pretty much spot on, with it striking a great balance between comfort and body control, and the standard six-speed manual gearbox having a nice sharp action.
We would definitely choose the manual over the six-speed SelectShift automatic gearbox as well, because the latter isn't particularly fast shifting and can be caught out a bit. It’s also only available on the two higher-powered engines, and that might not be to everyone’s liking.
For those that need to go off-road, the Transit Custom Trail (and the Active, where the Quaife differential is an optional extra) is about as capable of tackling the slippery stuff as you’ll find in the mid-sized van segment without going for a proper 4x4 model. The diff expertly shifts power between the driven wheels in a mechanical way rather than using electronics.
Not only does it get you further off-road, but it is also a great safety net for wet or slippery roads, acting as a secondary form of traction control. It’s still a lot of torque going through the front wheels, though (there’s no four-wheel drive option on the Transit Custom as there is on the full-size Transit), so the Transit Trail still spins its wheels up if you accelerate hard in damp or slippery conditions.
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