We do not think of copying machines, we think of Xerox. We don’t think of plasters, we think of Elastoplast. These are just two examples of the most successful marketing of products products that one single player identifies the entire market.

In Europe, in motoring terms, they do not think of panel vans, they simply think of the Transit. Proof of this success is the Transit range was the No 1 selling range in the UK in 2022 and just beaten into secondd place in 2023 ……..by the Ford Puma.

Ford Transit Custom loaded

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Ford has just unveiled the all-new Transit Custom in South Africa. An entirely new model and not just a facelift or update. A new platform, new design, much larger and packed full of tech and spec. A longer wheelbase and wheels pushed out to the corners enhance loadablity and ride comfort. In fact, driver comfort is at a whole new level for a commercial vehicle.

Initially, just one model is available in SA. Powered by a 2,0-litre turbo-diesel engine delivering 100kW and 360Nm through a 6-speed manual transmission. ADBlue technology is included for improved emissions.

Load space is cavernous with a payload of 1,2 ton, sliding door on the passenger side (a second sliding door on the other side is optional) dual doors at the rear that can open through 180 degrees that allow for backing up against a doorway for ease of loading and a load floor that is 100 mm lower than the previous model. A really nice touch is LED lighting in the load area to allow parcel labels to be easily read for example.

Ford Transit Custom icabin view

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The cabin is where I was particularly surprised by the comfort and luxury provided. A 13-inch infotainment screen, a 12-inch instrument cluster, six crash bags (for a vehicle that carries only two passengers) and extremely comfortable seats. The clutch and gearshift are light and easy, making this a vehicle where a driver can easily spend long periods of time.

As part of the launch event, Ford South Africa included our participation in one of their Corporate Social Responsibility events. While giving us a chance to experience the Transit on the road, we loaded the vans at Santa’s Shoebox Project and then delivered the contents to a crèche in Soweto.

Personally, I was touched by the hordes of small children singing and dancing to greet our arrival and then lining up to be given their bags full of sanitizers, socks and other goodies.

Related Content: More load from Ford's updated Custom

Ford Transit Custom on the road

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Carrying a full load had no effect on the ride, handling or performance of the Transit. At first thought, I felt that 10 0kW sounded rather low but the van cruised along at freeway speeds with ease laden or unladen. We were challenged to see who could achieve the best fuel economy for the day and, yours truly won the day with a figure of just 6,2 l/100km. Note that this was at freeway speeds where possible and keeping up with the convoy.

The new Transit Custom Panel Van is priced at R692 500.

Alan Rosenmeyer