New Ford Transit: the best get better
Global Auto Index
Ford Europe has issued the following press release:
The most successful commercial vehicle range in Europe – the Ford Transit – enters a new era in its long and successful life, with a series of extensive improvements to keep it ahead of the pack.
The new Transit is the first of many significant new products being unveiled by Ford of Europe in 2006. As befits its iconic image both within Ford and in the industry, the new Transit leads an impressive line-up of models coming from the blue oval this year. These include the all-new Ford Galaxy, and the Ford S-MAX - an additional model for the Ford of Europe product portfolio which has its origins in the Ford SAV Concept crossover shown at auto shows across Europe in 2005.
Previewing New Transit: Improved Throughout
The rugged yet stylish design of the new Transit is tough yet stylish; individual but functional. All attributes that Ford was keen to communicate with this new Transit.
Interior and exterior, back to front, on the surface and under the skin, every area of Ford's popular workhorse has been examined and improved. The extensive upgrade is the result of several years of development by Ford engineers, and are the most significant changes for six years.
New standard equipment, new model variants and engines, and a host of convenience features make the Transit a perfect 'mobile office' as well as durable load carrier.
Redesigned with real customer input
The real force behind the improvements in the new Transit has been customer needs. Ford's designers and engineers worked hard to reflect the needs of the today's commercial vehicle owner/driver in the final product. For example, the wide variety of security and locking options now available came directly from detailed customer research, as did many of the interior convenience features. Also, the all-new low-roof, medium wheelbase version is being introduced to respond directly to customer demand.
The extensive range of body choices, engines and configurations are all designed to ensure that customers receive the vehicle that is exactly right for them.
A fresh new look inside and out
Exterior design changes were intended to give the vehicle a stronger, more contemporary profile and strong graphics when viewed head on.
The most noticeable changes are at the front where the bold new three-bar grille sits between new, more vertical headlamps. Sited in the middle of the new grill, at nine inches (23.5 centimetres) it is the largest Ford oval within the company's European vehicle portfolio. The use of such a large oval is to demonstrate the great pride the company has in the vehicle, to denote it's long heritage in the commercial vehicle heritage, and to give the Transit a bold 'rear view presence'.
The Transit will feature a range of distinctive new colours, as well as new-style wheels, wheel trims and exterior trim detailing.
Major changes have also been made to the Transit interior, reflecting the desire of users that van interiors should contain the same level of user-friendly features as passenger cars. A completely new dashboard, instruments, switches and a new steering wheel face the driver, while new and innovative storage solutions ensure that Transit is now an even more convenient workplace.
A significant change in the cabin sees the gear lever moved up to the dashboard – giving a more car-like driving position, and improved ergonomics. It also gives a completely clear floor area from the driver's side to the passenger's side for "walk through" access. A two-tone instrument panel trim and higher grade cloth trim complete the picture.
New durable and economical engines
The new Transit range will offer six diesel engines and one petrol engine. The diesel options include new 2.2-litre and 2.4-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel engines, matched with either five-speed or six speed Durashift manual transmissions (depending on the chosen engine). These Ford-built 2.2-litre and 2.4-litre Duratorq TDCi engines form the backbone of the new Transit’s powertrain family. They are the newest products from Ford Motor Company's ongoing co-operation with PSA Peugeot Citroën on state-of-the-art diesel engines and are the first units to be designed specifically for light and medium commercial vehicle applications. All Transit diesel power units are compliant with Euro IV emissions standards and feature latest generation common-rail technology. They have been designed to accommodate forthcoming emissions legislation and to deliver improved performance with reduced fuel consumption, while the engine layout has been revised for ease of servicing and repair.
Spoilt for choice
With the new improvements, Ford is providing even more choice. There are 60 basic structures and body styles, including:
* Short, medium and long-wheelbase plus extended frame options
* A choice of low, medium and high roof vans, as well as single and double chassis cabs and low and medium roof buses
* A heavy-duty front axle
* Kombis and Kombi vans
* Transit customers can now also choose an all-new low roof, medium wheelbase version with three rows of seats and improved luggage space
Ford's Special Vehicle Operations team can also handle any specification or request not covered by the wide range choice.
The drivers' favourite
Ford has listened to its customers and made the Transit's interior a more enjoyable place to be, with a host of new convenience features. They include three levels of heating and ventilation, four trim options including leather, ten seating arrangement options, cruise control availability for the first time, and a new instrument cluster. The new Transit also boasts a self-charging waterproof ignition key – the first vehicle in the sector ever to be fitted with one. Configurable locking system covers are available, and security has been improved all round.
In terms of driving dynamics, Ford engineers have worked hard to ensure the new Transit has driving and handling characteristics that are even more like the company's acclaimed passenger cars. The basic suspension layout remains unchanged from the outgoing model, with MacPherson strut front suspension and a Hotchkiss rear axle, but a number of significant detail changes were made within this. As a result of these and other changes, NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) has been cut by some 20 per cent.
There is a high degree of commonality between front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive suspension in terms of configuration; the front anti-roll bar has been relocated, while a quicker steering ratio is employed. Safety features include Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Brake Traction Control System (BTCS) and an Electronic Stability Programme (ESP).
Security and Safety
The outgoing Transit received many international awards for its outstanding security features. The new Transit builds on this success with an even more comprehensive list of security features, engineered to frustrate and deter would-be thieves and so improve insurance ratings and lower insurance costs for owners.
Protecting the occupants in an accident is an important function of the vehicle’s structure and Ford engineers were keen to improve on the already high standards set by the Transit. A driver’s airbag is standard (120-litre passenger airbag optional), while seat-mounted side, head and thorax airbags are available as Transit options for the first time. In addition the redesigned front structure further enhances low speed impact resistance.