Ford has shared more details about the Transit Custom and Tourneo Custom, vans that debuted earlier this year in Europe. The Transit is designed purely for cargo, while the Tourneo custom is meant as a people hauler, with seats that can be arranged in 30 different configurations.
Ford once again confirmed that there will be just one powertrain option, a 2.2-liter turbodiesel with a six-speed manual transmission, which in turn propels the front wheels. The engine is available in three different power levels depending on trim: the base version makes 99 hp and 229 lb-ft of torque, the mid-grade level has 123 hp and 258 lb-ft, and the top-spec engine has 153 hp and 284 lb-ft.
As expected, the vans are much more fuel efficient than their predecessors, with economy equivalent to as much as 36 mpg. To help keep consumption low, the Transits employ an auto stop-start system that kills the engine when the van is stopped; a smart alternator; and a 7.5-percent reduction in drag compared to the older vans, bringing the coefficient down to 0.37. Other features include upshift indicators, maximum speed limiters, and a feature called "Acceleration Control" that limits peak acceleration of the vans when they are unloaded.
The driving experience is meant to be more akin to a car, not a van -- in fact, the manual transmission is lifted directly from the Ford Mondeo family car. That also means that the cabin of both the people-hauling Tourneo Custom and cargo-toting Transit Custom have an interior broadly similar to that of other Ford products. Sync voice recognition is available, and the dashboard has the same modern, button-heavy layout as cars like the Fiesta and Focus. Tech toys that are still relatively unique in the van segment include automatic high-beam headlights, a backup camera, lane departure warning, and a driver-fatigue warning system.
In the Ford Tourneo Custom, the passenger compartment can be configured in 30 different ways depending on how many passenger must be transported. All seats have three-point belts, and leather upholstery is available. The interior has even been specially insulated so that it's easier for passengers to have conversations without shouting.
The Transit Custom, by contrast, is engineered specifically for hauling gear. The cargo area can reportedly hold three European-size pallets stacked three feet high. The distance between the wheel wells and overall load volume is claimed to be class-leading. Cargo tie-down hooks and anchors have been relocated from the floor to the walls, for easier cleaning and sliding on the floor. And there's even a fold-down roof rack for carrying more equipment.
If these vans are only for the European market, why should we care? Well, later this year Ford will launch a larger, heavier duty Transit van that has rear-wheel drive. It will be sold in the U.S., replacing the aging Ford E-Series cargo vans in our market. Based on Ford's hints, we can assume that much of the content we see on the Euro Transit Custom and Tourneo Custom will arrive on the American van.
In addition to an EcoBoost V-6, for instance, Ford has confirmed that the American Transit will get a diesel engine option. It's almost certainly the same 2.2-liter mill as in the European vans, but as the larger van will put a bigger strain on the engine, we doubt it will quite return 36 mpg. We also doubt the decades-old interior design from the E-Series will be continued; most likely, the American transit will get a car-like cabin that somewhat resembles the ones pictured here.And it goes without saying that Ford will want to apply tech toys like lane-departure warning, Sync, and so on to its new cargo hauler.
Production of the European Transit Custom and Tourneo Custom begins later this year in Turkey.The American-market Transit will likely go into production on our shores next year.