Having had the Transit Custom crew van on our fleet for several weeks I’m coming to rely on its many virtues as both a long-distance motorway cruiser and civilised van about town.
Apart from the likes of regular supermarket runs, other recent assignments have included making use of the van’s five passenger seats to ferry almost half a boys’ football team to an away fixture on a rainy day, when the rubber-floored load bay proved the perfect place to chuck all the muddy boots and kit on the return journey.
On another weekend I employed the Custom to take my eldest daughter back to Leeds for the start of her second year at university. As she was moving into new accommodation there was plenty of stuff, such as crockery, furniture and bedding, to bring along to help her get settled in. This all fitted easily into the 6.2m3 load space.
On the long slog up the M1 (and back the next day) I was impressed by how the adaptive cruise control took the strain out of the journey. Having set the desired speed you can then programme the space you want the van to keep from the vehicle in front. Without requiring the driver to use the foot brake, unless the traffic slows to a complete stop, the engine then dutifully brakes automatically to keep you at a safe distance. The feature was especially welcome due to the great stretches of the motorway on which maximum speed is restricted to 50mph.
With less than 5,500 miles on the clock, though, it came as a bit of a surprise when a light flashed up on the dash telling me the van would require an AdBlue top up within about 600 miles – so at least it gave plenty of notice!
But this was followed shortly by another alert warning that an oil change was needed, which seemed altogether more urgent.
With the first full service not due until two years or 36,000 miles it came as a relief to be told upon booking an appointment at Ford dealership Bristol Street Motors, Orpington, that both matters were under warranty, apparently as part of an early service requirement.
A word of warning when it comes to AdBlue – if you delay topping up until the vehicle goes into limp mode, then the warranty is invalidated.
Much of the inconvenience the visit to the dealership caused was negated by the smooth and efficient service I received. I dropped my van off at 9am and the service advisor promptly gave me the key to a base-spec short-wheelbase Transit Custom for the day.
While this van could have done with a bit of a clean inside and out it was a decent attempt at short notice to supply a like-for-like replacement that would have coped with load-lugging duties if required.
Bristol Street called during the afternoon to let me know everything was done and on my way home I was able to return the courtesy vehicle, swap back into my van and continue on my way. Sorted.
Report Card: Customer Service Score = 3/5
Helpful staff and efficient service, including the provision of a courtesy vehicle, took the pain out of a visit to the workshop.
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
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