Ford’s Transit comes in many shapes and forms, from various sizes of vans to the people carrier tested here.
The Tourneo Custom is an eight seater Transit-based people carrier aimed at large families, outdoors enthusiasts and private hire drivers.
If you want to carry lots of people in comfort it really does fit the bill. The six rear seats are made up of two benches of three which face each other, giving passengers acres of legroom.
Most buyers will go for Ford’s 2.0 litre diesel unit, available with 104, 128 or 168bhp. The more environmentally conscious may prefer the plug-in hybrid powerplant my model came with.
This PHEV model pairs a 1.0 litre petrol engine with a 92.9kW electric motor and 13.6kWh battery. According to Ford, it’s good for an all electric range of up to 35 miles. My model was the top spec Titanium version and as such came fully loaded with kit.
Seats were leather clad, electrically powered and heated. Rear passengers enjoy their own spotlights and USB connections – perfect for reading or recharging electricals on longer journeys.
Seats can be folded out of the way to accommodate large items such as mountain bikes. The driver enjoys a high up seating position and a commanding view of the road. Mine came with automatic transmission, making it even easier to drive.
The suspension occasionally betrays its commercial underpinnings but overall it’s a very comfortable car for long distances. Charging the battery takes around four hours and in the depths of January I managed around 15 miles on a full battery.
Ford is to be commended for offering a PHEV Transit, and it will suit some buyers – particularly those who do mainly short trips and can carry out almost all their travel on battery power alone.
For those who regularly range far and wide, diesel models remain a better option.
The PHEV model in top spec Titanium trim I drove costs an eye watering £61,000. Fair enough, it came with all bells and whistles but you could buy a similarly equipped diesel model for much less.
The real breakthrough will come if and when Ford introduce a fully electric Transit. Offer me the same experience as this car but with an electric range of 250-300 miles and I’ll be sold.