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WATCH: How Ford dominated the 2024 What Car? Van Awards

The All-New Ford Transit Custom, the all-electric Ford E-Transit and the Ford Ranger pick-up cleaned up at this year’s What Car? Van Awards. Here’s how Ford did it...

We’d like to think a What Car? Van Award sits among the most prestigious, trusted and valued trophies in the commercial vehicle sector. After all, What Car? uses the extensive expert insight and discerning credentials of its vastly experienced road-test team to spot, identify and name the most hard-working, the most versatile, the most intelligently connected and the most financially savvy vans on the market today.

And that’s why Ford can naturally be thrilled with its performance in the What Car? Van Awards over the last two years.

Back in 2023, Ford won an unprecedented five out of 10 trophies, becoming the most successful manufacturer in the history of the What Car? Van Awards. Now, in 2024, Ford has done it once again, snatching another five trophies with the capacious all-electric Ford E-Transit, the best-selling Ford Ranger pick-up, and the All-New Ford Transit Custom.

It’s testament to the sheer breadth and depth of Ford’s commercial vehicle line-up. So, in order to find out exactly why Ford’s vans deserve such acclaim, we’ve picked the brains of our expert editors to explain exactly why Ford’s award-winning lineup is so good.

Ford E-Transit front three quarters static

Ford E-Transit: Best Large Van and Best Large Electric Van

The all-electric Ford E-Transit has plenty of room to carry more than a few trophies; and it needs it. Not only did it win the Best Large Van and Best Large Electric Van in both 2023 and 2024, it was also named the overall What Car? Van of the Year in 2023.

It all comes down to the Ford E-Transit’s outstanding load-lugging ability (up to 1758kg[1] and 15.1m
3 of load volume) its smooth and torquey acceleration (up to 269PS and 430Nm), its impressive all-electric real-world range (up to 196 miles[2]), its outstanding value, and its near-endless adaptability and configurability.

But the overarching reason why the Ford E-Transit has scored so much success is far more poignant, as What Car? editor Steve Huntingford explains: “The Ford E-Transit represents a watershed moment for electric vans. From now on, rather than seeing if one will fit into their operations, fleet managers will need a good reason not to go electric.”

While the Ford E-Transit wasn’t named overall winner in the 2024 What Car? Van Awards, our discerning road test team still had plenty to say when we asked them about its two category wins: “We’re not just talking about Best Large Electric Van, we’re talking about Best Large Van, period,” they said. “The fact that the Ford E-Transit is electric is completely by-the-by. Regardless of what powers it, the Ford E-Transit still has the measure of all the other large vans out there.

“Why? Well, because the best large vans not only need to be adept at shifting large, heavy loads in a manner that’s as easy and as fuss-free as possible. But they also need to offer the versatility to suit all manner of different uses, and the financial package to make their use affordable – nay, profitable – for businesses. The Ford E-Transit nails all of these diverse briefs perfectly, and it does so in a way that makes it an even more compelling alternative to any of its diesel-powered rivals.

“Add in a relatively plush driver environment with plenty of storage and a slick 12.0in touchscreen infotainment system inspired by the Ford Mustang Mach-E electric SUV, and the Ford E-Transit is also one of the most pleasant large vans in which to spend time.”

Find out more about the Ford E-Transit

Ford Ranger front three quarters static

Ford Ranger: Best Pick-up Truck

Used by everyone from farmers and landscapers to builders and electricians, pick-up trucks are among the most hard-working and versatile commercial vehicles available, striking the perfect balance between work and play. So, which is the very best one you can buy right now? Well, that would be the Ford Ranger.

With head-turning looks, class-leading towing ability (up to 3500kg[3]), outstanding payload capacity (up to 1200kg[4]), heaps of clever connected technology, staggering off-road performance and a wide range of trims and engines to choose from, it quickly becomes obvious why the Ford Ranger isn’t just our overall pick-up of the year, but the best-selling truck in the UK.

“The latest incarnation of the Ford Ranger is even more deserving of its sales success than ever,” said the What Car? road test team. “Its chunky Tonka-toy styling – largely borrowed from the enormous Ford F-150 truck from across the Atlantic – immediately gives it a level of desirability that rivals can’t even hope to match, and that’s without upgrading to the higher-end Ford Ranger Wildtrak models that have become popular thanks to their big wheels, chrome garnishes and fancy interiors.

“XL trim Ford Rangers are the utilitarian workhorses of the range with plastic bumpers and steel wheels, while the XLT is slightly smarter, with a bit less plastic and more painted metal parts. A reliable 2.0-litre engine with 168bhp does the grunt work, while a 10in version of the portrait touchscreen found in the high-end Ford Ranger models provides all the infotainment functionality that buyers expect.

“As well as a sizeable load bed and payload capacity of up to 1200kg[4] with a single cab, or up to1098kg[5] as a double cab, the Ford Ranger XL and XLT are the most versatile trucks in the range, and are further improved by the option of Ford’s power to box system, which supplies 240v and 12v power outlets in the load bed for powering tools.

“The Ford Ranger XL would be our top choice, since it allows you to have the single cab while keeping costs low. And like all Ford Rangers,
has the ability to excel off-road, while also managing to keep you feeling comfortable and civilised on it.

“More traditional working pick-up trucks like the Toyota Hilux and Isuzu D-Max are just as capable off-road, but the Ford Ranger’s superior comfort and refinement – not to mention its more pleasant interior and more sophisticated on-board tech – make it a more complete and appealing package.”

Find out more about the Ford Ranger

Ford Transit Custom front three quarters

Ford Transit Custom: Best Medium Van and Overall Van of the Year 

Britain’s love affair with the Ford Transit stretches back more than five decades, and in that time the Transit has become a staple of British business – powering tens of thousands of companies across the nation to success. Now, the All-New Ford Transit Custom is poised to work harder and smarter for businesses owners and fleet drivers than ever before.

Available in three body styles and with two lengths and roof heights to choose from, as well as an extensive choice of powertrains – from ultra-efficient Ford EcoBlue diesel power to the plug-in hybrid, and most recent addition to the lineup, the all-electric E-Transit Custom – the Ford Transit Custom will not only cope with anything your business can throw at it, but it can also help you along the path to electrification.

Throw in a wealth of smart connected technology that works with the advanced online services and in-person expertise of Ford Pro™, a range of well-equipped trim levels and a bucketload of Ford-approved conversion options, and you’ll struggle to find a better all-round van.

Our What Car? road testers agree. “Quite simply, the new second-generation Ford Transit Custom does what Transits have always done, and that’s to go above-and-beyond in every area,” they said. “It’s by far and away the best van of its type to drive, with peerless comfort, impressive refinement and more driving engagement than a van has any right to offer.

“It’s also among the most practical and versatile vans of its type, and with a high-quality cab and lots of tech, it’s a genuinely pleasant place in which to spend large portions of your working day.

“What we really like, though, is the way that Ford has listened to the feedback of customers and solved problems. This has resulted in clever features like Delivery Assist[6], which is designed to speed up deliveries by automating actions like switching on the hazard lights, closing windows, and locking the doors when the driver leaves the van. There’s also the optional picnic table add-on to the steering wheel that allows drivers to eat their lunch in comfort – a clever touch which makes a big difference.

“Of course, all this would be in vain if Ford hiked prices to prohibitive levels. Sure, they’ve crept up a fraction, but the Ford Transit Custom still looks like great value for money compared with rivals, meaning businesses won't have to break the bank to get one onto their fleets. As an all-round package, then, the All-New Ford Transit Custom is nigh-on impossible to fault.”

Find out more about the Ford Transit Custom

[1] Max payload available on 425 GVM Medium Wheelbase, Medium Roof E-Transit Van. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and weight distribution. Max payload varies and is based on accessories and vehicle configuration.

[2] Based on 390 Series L2 H2 with full charge. Estimated range using Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP). Figures shown are for comparability purposes and should only be compared with other vehicles tested to the same technical procedures. Actual range varies with conditions such as external elements like temperature, driving behaviours, route profile, vehicle maintenance, and lithium-ion battery age and condition. 166-mile WLTP Extra High range reflects motorway driving and 196-mile WLTP Overall Range reflects a  combined driving cycle– both tests are conducted in controlled conditions with an ambient temperature of 23 degrees Celsius and no climate or electrical load.

[3] Max towing varies based on cargo, vehicle configuration, accessories and number of passengers

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