‘Space, the final frontier’ is a phrase What Van? readers of a certain vintage and a penchant for science fiction television shows are likely to be familiar with but it is also arguably one of the last challenges Ford has to overcome before confirming the Transit Custom’s reputation as the outstanding medium van in the marketplace.
The first facelift of the Custom arrives early in 2018 sporting a completely new cabin, after the brand responded to customer feedback that the interior needed additional storage space and a more user-friendly dashboard.
The original cabin layout, which is the one installed in our long-term Custom DCiV, cannot be faulted for style but I have began to find it falls a little short in terms of practicality.
There is no overhead shelf above the windscreen to store folders and documents discreetly out of sight, which means the seats can become cluttered with paperwork, and the lower storage bin in the front door is difficult to reach while the one above it is not big enough to hold a large (2.0-litre) water bottle. An open shelf on the passenger side of the dash tends to allow items to fly out when cornering or traversing uneven surfaces while a lidded compartment in front of the driver is awkwardly positioned but does house one of the two 12V power points in the cab.
The central dashboard display is attractively designed but the buttons are fiddly to use while other controls, such as the temperature dials, are off-centre and difficult to reach from the driver’s seat.
On the plus side, however, the middle seat back folds down into a useful table top with two cup holders, a pen tray and an elasticated band to hold documents in place. There are also cup holders and bottle holders at either end of the dashboard and a lockable glove box. A feature I have found particularly handy is the generous stowage space located underneath the passenger seats that can comfortably accommodate a briefcase, tool box or work boots. It should be remembered though, that this is where over-length items from the load bay also need to slide into.
Report Card: Interior storage
The Custom DCiV cabin is attractively designed but falls a little short when it comes to practicality.
V362 Transit Trend D/Cab In Van 2.0TDCI 310LWB
Official combined consumption 44.8mpg
Our average consumption 35.1mpg
Price (ex VAT) £27,140.83
Price range (ex VAT) £21,240–£32,461
Service intervals 36,000mls
Load length 2,922mm
Load width (min/max) 1,390/1,775mm
Load bay height 1,406mm
Gross payload 884kg
Load volume 6.2m3
Engine size/power 2,000cc/128hp
On sale September 2016
See previous reports below