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We video test the 2018 Ford Transit Custom van which is an immensely drivable and impressively car-like experience with an impressive load space.

When it comes to load haulers, there aren’t many names that are as legendary as the Ford Transit. Launched in 1965, the Transit has become virtually interchangeable with the word “van”, with more than 8 million sold worldwide since then.

Currently the Transit name is affixed to two vans in Ford’s commercial range in New Zealand, with the large Transit Cargo handling the big loads and is rear-wheel drive, while the medium-sized FWD Transit Custom was launched in 2012 to take on the likes of the Mercedes-Benz Vito and Volkswagen Transporter.

While the smaller Transit Custom was always a strong competitor for the German vans (and far superior to the likes of the Toyota Hiace) in terms of comfort, quality and load space, one area it was sorely lacking was the option of an automatic transmission.

Now, for the 2018 model year, Ford has handily fixed that omission by not only adding a new six-speed auto to the Transit Custom’s spec sheet, but also an all-new 127kW/405Nm 2.0-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder engine.

The engine is an impressively refined unit that produces all its torque down nice and low – peak torque kicks in at just 1,750rpm, then carries on in a nice, flat line across the majority of the rev range. The six-speed transmission is also a very slick operator, and the two combine to produce an immensely drivable and impressively car-like experience.

Safety features are also impressively high in the Transit Custom, with hill hold assist, trailer sway assist, load adaptive control, a backing camera, front and rear parking sensors, roll mitigation control, cruise control with an adjustable speed limiter function and six airbags all coming standard.

The Transit Custom comes with a choice of two wheelbases, with the LWB model coming with a higher roof, while a glass pack is also available on the SWB model. Up the back, the Transit Custom has a large and flexible load space that is 2,555mm long in the SWB model (2,922 in the LWB), 1,406 high and 1,775mm wide (with 1,390mm available between the wheel arches), the additional 530mm load extension under the passenger’s seat allows for longer items, while a good number of load tie down points are scattered around the rear.

On top of this impressive load space, the Transit Custom is also capable of towing up to 2,800kg on a braked trailer.

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