The first facelift of Ford’s Transit Custom will feature a completely new cabin when it comes to market at the start of 2018 after the manufacturer responded to customer feedback that the interior needed additional storage space and a more user-friendly dashboard.
Interior designer Niko Bechtel admitted customers had complained of a lack of storage facilities on the current model and said some of the controls were difficult to reach and off centre.
The brand claimed the instrument panel alone now offers 25 litres of storage, including three open bins on its upper surface with space for clipboards or mobile devices, and glovebox stowage capable of storing A4 files in the lower closed compartment.
A foldout cup holder beneath the gear lever has been added to the cup holders and two-litre bottle holders at each end of the instrument panel. The door panels now house three stowage spaces and a new grab handle has been integrated into the door trim.
Based on the design of the new Fiesta passenger car, Ford said the “user-centric” interior layout was influenced by consumer use of smart devices and tablets.
Although Ford has not yet conformed trim levels and prices, flagship models will get a floating, tablet-inspired eight-inch colour touchscreen with Ford’s Sync 3 communications and entertainment system that can be operated with pinch and swipe gestures.
For vans not equipped with eight-inch or four-inch displays, the MyFord Dock in the centre of the instrument panel provides a location for drivers to mount and charge smartphones, MP3 players or satellite navigation systems. USB and 12-volt power sockets are found in the upper stowage bin in front of the driver, and alongside the gear lever to enable device charging.
On the outside the front-end now sports a new three-bar grille and slimmed-down headlamps while the sliding door track for the nearside loading door now sits flush with the side of the vehicle and no longer stands out.
Ford claimed the addition of its Intelligent Speed Limiter to the facelifted model is a first in the LCV sector and allows automatic adjustment of maximum speed to remain within legal limits via the Traffic Sign Recognition system. Other new safety kit includes Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Alert, which warns drivers reversing out of a parking space of vehicles about to cross behind them.
The engine line-up is the 2.0-litre Ecoblue introduced in 2016 with outputs of 105, 130 and 170hp but new to the range is the Econetic (based on the 105hp unit), which delivers an official 49.6mpg with CO2 of 148g/km – a 6% improvement over the most efficient current van. Available in short-wheelbase form only the Econetic features a unique engine calibration, auto stop-start, low rolling resistance tyres, Ford’s Acceleration Control device and a fixed 62mph speed limiter.