It’s been four nearly decades since Ford last had a competitive van on the local market. The original Transit was built in Port Elizabeth from 1967 to 1974 and, although its successors have been a consistent hit on the UK and Euro markets, they never featured here.
The latest Transit and its Tourneo passenger equivalent launched in Johannesburg this week offer a compelling package of practicality and features. Safety, in particular, is being punted strongly: the Transit is the first van to earn a 5-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash test programme. (The pair is called Custom to distinguish it from the bigger 2-ton version due to be launched here next year.)
The Tourneo/Transit combo is available with a 2,2-litre DuraTorq diesel in three output options – 74 kW/310 N.m, 92 kW 350 N.m and 114 kW/385 N.m, all of them with a 6-speed manual gearbox. There’s a choice between a short wheelbase and a long wheelbase body; in the passenger version, this adds no seats to the standard 8, but provides more space. Ford says that the Tourneo’s flexible seating, with combinations of folding and sliding, allows for 30 different configurations.
Prices for the Transit start at R302 700. Tourneo prices range from R385 200 to R414 700. A 5 year/90 000 km service plan is standard on all but entry level level models.