The Transit has been the UK’s most popular CV range for all of its 49 years on sale, one year more than the 48 years of their consecutive leadership of the UK’s new car sales league.
Mark Easton, product marketing manager for Ford of Britain told the motoring media that sales of all commercial vehicles in the UK, 203,965 units for the first seven months of this year, were 12% up on the same period last year. Sales are being driven by customer demands for more fuel and CO2 emission Euro 6 emission engines, customers are downsizing to reduce their operating costs and buying safer vehicles to comply with their Duty of Care obligations for employees.
He said that Ford introduced the first all-new generation of Transit models in 2012 and so far this year our total CV sales have reached 46,223 units which equates to 22.7% of the market. The new compact Courier range has already received 560 orders in a new and fast-growing market sector for us. Courier van prices start from £11,045 ex VAT and the five seater dual purpose Kombi people carrier/van starts from £12,413 ex VAT.
Asked about the full year sales potential of the new Courier van and Kombi models he said, “This is a new market sector for us with Transit and sales depend very much on how well our dealers achieve conquest customers from Citroen, Peugeot, Renault and Mercedes-Benz.
“We could achieve anywhere between five thousand and eight thousand annual UK sales but there is strong demand for this product from other markets so supply of right hand drive units from our Turkish factory might limit its true sales potential.”
The Transit Courier range is available with a choice of three fuel efficient engines, the 1.5-litre 75PS turbodiesel with CO2 emissions from 103g/km and returning an official 72.4mpg, a 1.6-litre 95PS TDCi turbodiesel achieves 97g/km CO2 emissions and 76.3mpg and the International Engine of the last three years running Ford’s hugely successful 1.0-litre, three-cylinder EcoBoost 100PS petrol unit which has CO2 emissions of 119g/km and returns 54.3mpg. All these figures are obtained with the fuel saving auto Start-Start function which is an option through the range.
The Courier Van is available with Basic and Trend specification levels, the Kombi is available only with Basic spec. Ford initially expects 90% of customers to choose diesel power – it’s what they know best but the EcoBoost petrol engine will grow in popularity once businesses understand a small petrol engine offers more spritely performance without being prohibitive in terms of purchase price or running costs. Around 30% of customers will choose the Trend specification and around 1 to 2% of customers will choose a Kombi version. But as this is a new market sector for them Ford admits these figures are only estimated at the moment but generally reflects how competitor model ranges are performing.
The smartly styled Courier models offer 10% more load volume than their direct competitors say Ford with the maximum payload for the van version being 660kg and the Kombi 575kgs. The vehicles have a bed length of 1.6-metres and can be loaded with a Euro pallet.
At the rear are side hinged asymmetrically split 60/40 doors whilst Trend van and Kombi versions have sliding rear side doors for easy access, fitted either as standard or as an option. In the Kombi the 60/40 split three rear seats tip and tumble forward to maximise load space whilst retaining the on-demand seating facility making it ideal for business or personal use. The Courier Van version is aimed at the urban delivery market but both versions will equally appeal to retail customers who need carrying space to accommodate their lifestyle and recreational activities. For the Van there is a full-height, full-width steel bulkhead, glazed or unglazed or an optional folding mesh bulkhead. The cargo area has six tie-down points and multiple pre-installed bodyside fixing points to mount racking or framework. There is optional ultra-bright LED loadspace lighting available for the Van version.
The cabin is Ford car-like and there are lots of storage compartments including a full-width overhead shelf, a drawer under the front passenger seat and a large centre console capable of storing A4 sheets of paper or even a laptop.
The cloth seat coverings look hard-wearing and the plastic trim used for various linings and finishes seem durable and up to a hard-life.
Other features include a Device Dock which comes with a standard radio system and Bluetooth connectivity and is used to store, mount and charge mobile devices such as phones and navigation systems.
Ford’s Sync with Emergency Assistance is an option as is a Speed Limiter. The standard electronic stability control function features hill start assist, traction control and roll-over mitigation.
The Courier in Van or Kombi versions looks a really distinctive, smart and roomy load or people carrier. Even its boxy shape doesn’t detract from its appeal and the clever touches include the 60/40 split rear doors and the option of single or twin sliding rear side doors for really easy and safe kerbside access. The suspension and steering has been specifically tuned to nimble and comfortable handling. It offered a flat ride with little body-roll during cornering so that should keep the load or passengers safe from damage. The steering was light and precise so operating in town traffic was easy and on the open road it was precise during cornering and didn’t allow the vehicle to wander in cross-wind conditions.
I got to grips with both the Kombi and Van versions, both powered by the 1.5-litre TDCi 75PS turbodiesel engine mated with a standard five-speed gearbox. This unit will be the most popular as it potentially offers 72.4mpg with CO2 emissions of 108g/km.
The mid-range engine response and flexibility was very workmanlike making driving pretty stress-free. On a combination route taking in urban and rural Glasgow area driving conditions the Courier Van and Kombi versions both returned around 54mpg, but were free of load weight – apart from me.
Ford Transit Courier Van/Kombi models.
Price: Van with Trend spec £12,821, Kombi with Base spec £12,413, both ex VAT.
Engine/transmission: 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder TDCi turbodiesel 75PS (74bhp), 190Nm (140lb ft) from 1,700rpm, 5-speed manual. Performance: 98mph, 0-62mph 16-seconds, 72.4mpg Combined Cycle (54mpg on test).
For: More stylish than a boxy shaped van or van derived MPV has been in the past, comfortable ride, nimble handling, roomiest in its compact CV class, van and seated versions available so it meets a wide variety of work and social needs, extended 20,000-mile service intervals.
Against: Nothing really but some options like fuel/saving Start-Stop could be standard.