This country doesn’t suffer from a shortage of vans and minibuses. That said, there are limited options for families, lifestyle and executive shuttle customers – exactly the market Ford is targeting with the Tourneo Custom and its panel-van sibling the Transit Custom.
A smaller version of the full-sized vans not yet available here, the Tourneo/ Transit nevertheless casts an imposing shadow. The slab-sided wagon is b-i-g.
In Tourneo form, it provides eight seats that can be comprehensively – and relatively easily – reconfigured into more than 30 permutations to adapt the load space. It’s available in either short wheelbase or luggage-friendly long wheelbase form. Twin sliding doors are standard, as is an integrated roof rack system.
From the driver’s seat… well, it’s a van. The Tourneo/Transit comes with a 2,2 DuraTorq turbodiesel in either a 74 Kw or 92 kW output, with a 6-speed manual transmission as standard. Our test drive took place up at power-sapping Gauteng altitudes and frankly we wouldn’t have minded a bit more get up and go. On the positive side, fuel economy is quoted at an impressive 6,5 litres/100 km.
But the Ford has a couple of trump cards. Safety, for one: the Tourneo Custom is the first new vehicle in its class to achieve a maximum Euro NCAP five-star safety rating. Curtain airbags are standard for the front seat occupants in addition to driver and passenger airbags and seat-mounted side thorax airbags. All seating positions provide integral three-point lap and shoulder style seat belts. On the active safety side, electronic stability control and torque vectoring control are standard.
In addition to this, the Tourneo can be ordered with Ford SYNC voice-activated in-car connectivity system, Lane Keeping Alert, Driver Alert, Auto High Beam and Hill Launch Assist.
The Transit, a fixture on its UK and European home markets, is a key part of Ford’s drive to make inroads into the commercial vehicle market in South Africa. This one-tonner is aimed at professionals, tradesmen and small businesses.
Like the Tourneo, it is available in short wheelbase or long. Innovative loadspace features include optimised bulkhead and loadspace design (the SWB model can carry three Euro pallets loaded to at least a metre high), a load-through hatch in the bulkhead, an integrated roof rack system, repositioned tie-down hooks and fixing points located on the body sides and an easy-clean load floor liner. It’s also available in a wide range of payload options from 600 to 1 400 kg.
Unusually in this market segment, like the Tourneo the Transit features stability control and torque vectoring. It can also be ordered with the same high-tech driver aids as the Tourneo.
Engine: 2,2 turbodiesel in 74 or 92 kW
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Economy: 6,5 litres/100 km
Price: Tourneo from R385 200; T ransit from R302 700