Well, this is a departure from my normal car reviews or information blogs. A commercial van review.
Last weekend, I had the good fortune to do a great deal on a new ride on mower, (No review here unfortunately) but, I had to go and collect it. Here at Barlo Motors Thurles, we have a courtesy van of a Transit Custom, 300 LWB in base specification so as our local trades people do not have to take a day off just to get their van serviced. It is the 2.0 TDCi 105PS model and if I wanted to end the review there, the word I would use, is Wow.
I have been lucky enough to drive many cars over the years from €1000 way up to €250,000 but have never been a fan of vans, they just were not my thing. I have hired a few over the years, but they have been a necessary evil in my world. That view changed on an early Saturday morning in August.
My journey was from Ninemilehouse where I live to Roscrea in Co Offaly, so about 75KM or so there, then back for a day’s work in Thurles and home again. A good wee journey and one I was dreading in a van. Well, the first thing I noticed was just how comfortable the seats are. I guess this is because of the amount of time a prospective owner will be perched on them, but still, very comfortable.
The layout from steering wheel to the radio to the switches, are all designed for maximum ease of use, everything is to hand. The quality of the materials are not like a car which are all soft touch and feel, the materials in this vehicle are made to last, for easy clean, to be efficient. There are reasons that Ford commercials last so long and complete so many miles.
I set off expecting the power of a 105PS engine to be light and for me to have to rev the limiter of it, but no, the engine purred like a kitten and set off like Usain Bolt. (Well, maybe not just as quick). Now, at this point I was unladen, nothing in the rear but some cardboard for the floor, so possibly that was why I was flying, I would see better when my mower was loaded.
The next thing that struck me as I was driving around the country lanes, was just how good it held the road, where I expected plenty of role, there was little. The engine didn’t roar at me like I was expecting and apart from having to work the gears a tad more, I was being won over by, a van!
I arrived at my destination and jumped out, again taken slightly by surprise as there was none of the groaning from my lower back that I was expecting. “This is actually rather good” I said aloud to no one in particular, as there was no one about to hear me anyway.
My quite large ride on mower was loaded with ease and shockingly, there was more room to be had. I thought to myself, I will have to write a review on this when I get into work. Ergo, this review. LOL. Driving back, the 275KG that my mower weighs, had zero effect on my vehicles handling or acceleration etc. Now, these vans are built to carry much more in the rear and I am convinced that if mine was fully laden, then it would have some effect, but I am guessing that the handling and performance would still be class leading, even fully loaded.
Ford have been at the forefront of vehicle technology for over 100 years but what has always gone under the radar, are their commercial range. They are the best-selling range of commercial vehicles worldwide and have been for some time. Now I know why, they are simply a great vehicle that drives well, are well built and that build quality is robust and built to last. What their current van range has in spades, is its driveability, they have brought comfort and ergonomics to the range because they now understand the builders needs better, the delivery drivers schedule, what the plumber wants from his van.
I for one was genuinely impressed, won over, am now a fan. I have driven older yokes from other manufacturers in the past as I said, but I could never wait to get back into my comfy car. The Ford Transit Custom showed me why it is not just best in class but has been for decades. Well done Ford. Feel free to come down to the dealership and test drive it for yourself, you WILL be impressed.
Thank you for taking the time to read another car (Van) review by James Mc Vicker, Sales Manager, Barlo Motors Ford.