Ford Transit Courier review (2020)

The smallest Transit is a neat solution for those upgrading from a car-based van

Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

PROS

  • Large load area for its size
  • Well-designed interior
  • Good to drive
  • Impressive fuel economy
  • Holds its value well

CONS

  • Least practical Transit, unsurprisingly
  • Diesel engines feel slightly sluggish
  • Petrol engines not ideal for long distance
  • Small model range on early versions
  • Lacks latest active safety aids

Summary

The Ford Transit Courier was the fourth and final model to join the Transit family when it was first launched in 2014. It’s also the smallest, sitting below the Transit Connect, Transit Custom and Transit, and representing a slightly more practical (and often cheaper) alternative to the Ford Fiesta Van.

In 2018, the Transit Courier benefitted from a big overhaul, bringing new looks and technology to Ford's smallest van - full details of this are included below.

We're not expecting any major changes to the Courier in 2020, but with most of its rivals now discontinued there are few alternatives if you're looking for a lot of space in a little package.

So how practical is the Ford Transit Courier?

Unsurprisingly, most customers for this van are one-person operators or small and medium enterprises (SMEs). It targets buyers that need something more practical than a car-based van, but only just.

Ford Transit Courier review, 2015 model, blue, front view

While it takes up little more space on the road, the Courier's cargo area is twice the size and considerably more practical than the Fiesta Van's for example, offering more than double the load volume.

It doesn't offer double the payload, however, for while the Courier initially managed a 660kg payload inside a 2.3-cubic metre load space, this fell to 500-590kg with the 2018 update (though the load space grew to 2.4 cubic metres).

The current Fiesta Van has just 0.96 cubic metres of space in the back, but can manage up to 530kg in weight.

Variants and rivals

As well as a regular van, the Transit Courier is also available as a five-seater Kombi model with a second row of three seats that can fold and tumble in a 60:40 split.

Besides the Fiesta Van, Transit Courier rivals include the Fiat Fiorino and its close relations the Peugeot Bipper and Citroen Nemo, though the latter pairing were discontinued in the UK in 2017.

The UK's only other car-based van, the Vauxhall Corsavan was discontinued in 2018, and we understand it's unlikely to return any time soon.

Ford Transit Courier 2018 facelift

Ford gave the Transit Courier a significant update in 2018 (pictured below). This included updated, more efficient engines and gearboxes, an upgraded media system and visual tweaks the front of the van.

Ford Transit Courier review, 2018 model, front view

New driver-assistance kit to boost safety also became available at this point.

Inside, the centre console has been redesigned for easier use, with a new, larger 6.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system available on higher-spec models. running the latest Ford Sync 3 software and positioned closer to the driver for improved visibility.

The updated powertrains meet the latest Euro 6.2 emissions standards, with the option of a frugal 1.5-litre diesel and revised 1.0-litre petrols.

All versions gain six-speed manual transmissions in place of the previous five-speed unit, with improved shift quality, cruising refinement and better real-world fuel economy.

Helping to lower fuel consumption further in diesel models is a new efficiency package, including an Active Grille Shutter that shortens warm-up times and reduces aerodynamic drag.


Ford Transit Courier verdict

Practical, cleverly designed, good to drive and very fuel-efficient, the Courier was a fine addition to the Transit family when it was first introduced, and it continues to wear the badge well.

Updates for 2018 and the phasing out of several rivals only serve to make the Courier stand out further.

To find out more, read on for the full Ford Transit Courier review.


Ford Transit Courier driving experience

4.5 out of 5 4.5
  • Petrol and diesel engine choices
  • Very good to drive
  • Comfortable ride quality

The Ford Transit Courier was available at launch in 2014 with a choice of three engines:

  • 75hp 1.5-litre TDCi four-cylinder turbodiesel
  • 95hp 1.6-litre TDCi four-cylinder turbodiesel
  • 100hp 1.0-litre EcoBoost three-cylinder turbo petrol

The engine range was updated in 2018 with a new, more powerful 100hp 1.5-litre diesel replacing the previous 1.6-litre unit.

What's the Transit Courier petrol like to drive?

The EcoBoost is a niche choice (targetting around 5% of sales), which is a shame as it’s the nicest engine to drive.

Although it has less torque than the diesels, it’s more flexible and has a less laggy power delivery from low revs. If you drive primarily in towns and cities, or do journeys with frequent stops, it’s arguably the best choice, although on longer journeys it won't match the fuel economy of the diesel models.

Diesel engines best for most users

For higher-mileage use, the diesels make more sense, especially if you regularly drive long distances. The entry-level 75hp 1.5-litre version is capable and popular if you're looking for a low-cost option. It's also the only engine available to buyers of the five-seat Kombi model.

Ford Transit Courier review, 2019 facelift model, front view, white, driving, Sport

As for the now-phased-out 1.6-litre diesel, we tested this model with ballast equivalent to a half the Transit Courier's maximum payload. Performance certainly doesn’t set the world alight but it is quiet, and Ford claims impressive fuel economy figures.

That leaves the 100hp 1.5-litre diesel as the best option for those buying new after plenty of pulling power for dealing with heavy loads, or who do mostly motorway trips.

Car-like driving experience

The Courier handles very well - happily it shares the same excellent control weights, steering response and snappy gear change as many Ford cars.

Whether a part-laden van or an unladen Kombi, when tested we found the Courier to have superb ride quality, especially for such a small van with a short wheel base.

Ford Transit Courier review, 2019 facelift model, rear view, white, driving, Sport

Sound-proofing seems very good indeed, as well – there’s no need to raise your voice in conversation at motorway speeds. We imagine the fabric-covered bulkhead in the van versions we drove is partly to thank for this.

In driving experience terms, no rival comes close. This is a compact van that can genuinely put a smile on your face.

Ford Transit Courier cabin & interior

4.5 out of 5 4.5
  • 2018 updates improve on already strong cab
  • Simple but robust design
  • Lots of car-like touches

The attractive, well-designed cabin is one of the Courier’s real strengths. Much of the dashboard and switchgear is familiar from Ford’s car models, such as the B-Max and the equivalent Fiesta, and it all feels high-quality and durable.

Ford Transit Courier review - cab interior pre facelift

The updated infotainment system added during 2018 only adds to this impression, being located up high and offering crisp onscreen displays.

Now the steering wheel adjusts for rake and reach, it should be easier than before for drivers of all sizes to get comfortable behind the wheel. And there’s lots of leg room, even for very tall drivers.

Ford Transit Courier review - cab interior after 2018 facelift

A deep storage slot between the two seats has enough space for clipboards and laptops or digital tablets and the cup holders are spacious and easy to access, too.

Ford Transit Courier running costs & value

0 out of 5 0.0
  • Promises very good fuel economy
  • Should be cheap to run
  • Plenty of choice

The Transit Courier has plenty going for it on the running costs front.

Every model is competitively priced, the cost of options isn’t outlandish, and healthy residual values mean it holds its value well - good for attractive finance costs.

Ford Transit Courier service intervals and warranty

Service intervals are at 20,000 miles and the van comes with a three-year/100,000-mile warranty.

Ford’s Assistance package is standard, including ‘load continuation’ whereby if a Courier breaks down on a delivery run, its contents can be delivered free of charge while the van is repaired.

Ford Transit Courier mpg

On the fuel economy front, the lowest Ford Transit Courier running costs belong to the 1.6-litre diesel, which claims a 74mpg average as standard, though this has since been discontinued.

A special low-emissions version of the same engine was also available, which, with a claimed 76.3mpg (and CO2 emissions of only 97g/km), made the Transit Courier the most economical van currently on sale.

The 1.5-litre diesel is pretty good too, managing 72mpg.

On the face of it, the petrol EcoBoost lags well behind at 54mpg, but for journeys around towns and cities it could actually be the more economical proposition as diesel engines don't typically like short journeys. This will depend on your driving style, however.

Following the introduction of tougher WLTP fuel economy tests in mid-2018, the title of most economical Transit Courier is now shared between the 75hp and 100hp 1.5-litre diesels.

These promise around 67mpg – still extremely good for a modern van.

Ford Transit Courier standard equipment

The Transit Courier launched with two equipment grades in 2014: Base and Trend.

Ford Transit Courier Sport, 2017 model, front view, red, driving

In 2017 an additional Sport model (above) joined the line-up, partially in compensation for the (temporary) death of the Fiesta Van Sport, which was popular and sold in good numbers.

Since then range-topping Limited trim has been introduced, and sits alongside Sport, offering extra interior kit rather than sporty design details.

As such these are the latest standard equipment highlights (at the time of writing in January 2020).

Ford Transit Courier Leader van (formerly known as Base) standard equipment highlights:

  • DAB radio
  • Bluetooth
  • USB connectivity
  • Device Dock smartphone holder and docking station on top of the dashboard
  • Reach and rake adjustable steering wheel
  • Lidded glovebox
  • Full-size spare wheel
  • Fixed, moulded bulkhead
  • NOTE: no side loading door

Ford Transit Courier Leader Kombi M1 standard equipment highlights (in addition to Leader van):

  • Full front, side and curtain airbags
  • Fully-glazed, flip-out second-row windows
  • Dual sliding doors
  • Glazed, heated rear cargo doors with wash/wipe
  • Second row 60:40 split, fold/tumble seats
  • Electric supplementary heater
  • Tyre pressure monitoring

Ford Transit Courier Trend van standard equipment highlights (in addition to Leader van):

  • Ford Sync 3 4.0-inch infotainment system (replaces Device Dock)
  • Powered, heated door mirrors
  • Electric windows
  • Driver's seat with height and lumbar adjustment plus armrest
  • Leather steering wheel and gearknob
  • Overhead storage
  • Underseat storage
  • Single side load door
  • 12-volt socket in load area
  • Automatic headlights and wipers
  • Front foglights
  • 15-inch wheels with hubcaps

Ford Transit Courier Limited standard equipment highlights (in addition to Trend):

  • Ford Sync 3 with 6.0-inch touchscreen
  • Body colour front bumper and upper rear bumper end caps
  • Body colour door handles and side trim
  • Side load door track cover
  • Manual air-conditioning
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Cruise control with adjustable speed limiter
  • 15-inch alloy wheels

Ford Transit Courier Sport standard equipment highlights (in addition to Trend):

  • Body colour bumpers with integrated skid plate
  • Body-coloured side mouldings
  • Black painted door mirrors
  • Sport stripes
  • Side load door track cover
  • Manual air-conditioning
  • Leather gear knob with red stitching
  • Leather steering wheel with red stitching and radio controls
  • 16-inch black alloy wheels

Sat-nav is available as an option on all models.

The price difference between Base and Trend is very modest (around £800 excluding VAT at the time of writing), making the upgrade almost a no-brainer given the masses of additional equipment you get for your money - especially as this should also deliver better resale values when you come to sell the van on.

The difference in price between Trend and Sport is a little greater (around £1,250 ex. VAT at time of writing), but again you get good value for money and a distinctive-looking compact van that could help your business stand out from the crowd.

Clever design helps to save money

The rear bumper has a multi-piece design to make it cheaper to repair, while Ford’s Easyfuel system is fitted as standard, which supposedly makes it impossible to fill up with the wrong type of fuel. We understand that some people still manage to do this, however, so best to try and pay attention at the pumps!

Ford Transit Courier reliability, common problems & faults

4.5 out of 5 4.5
  • Based on well-established, proven tech
  • No reports of horror stories
  • If you have had issues let us know via our feedback email address

The Ford Transit Courier is assembled in Turkey. Ford says it has covered nearly a million miles in testing, and - for example - doors have been opened and closed 250,000 times to make sure the mechanisms can cope with working life.

Further helping the van’s case is that its engines are already well-known from other Ford products, and much of its structure is well-proven too.

The front section of the floor and the majority of the Courier’s architecture in general is based on Ford’s B-Max small people carrier, which in turn borrows components from the Fiesta.

With that in mind, Ford Transit Courier reliability should be very strong.

Ford also reckons the keyfob is waterproof – handy if you drop it in a puddle.

Ford Transit Courier safety & security

3.8 out of 5 3.8
  • Safety equipment ok rather than brilliant
  • No alarm fitted as standard on any model

Ford Transit Courier safety levels are reasonable, if not outstanding. The Tourneo Courier passenger version achieved a four-star Euro NCAP rating when it was tested in 2014, but the test has been made considerably tougher since then.

Standard Ford Transit Courier safety items include:

Base Kombi models also feature no less than six airbags as standard, plus tyre pressure monitoring (this is optional on the rest of the range), while the Trend and Sport panel van models with Ford Sync include an emergency assist function.

In the event of an accident, this can automatically place a call direct to local emergency service operators if the occupants’ mobile phone is connected to the Bluetooth system. It can provide the van’s exact location and uses the correct local language to give the information, based on GPS information. Very clever.

However, while you can specify blindspot monitors as an optional extra, active safety aids such as autonomous emergency braking and lane-keeping assist are not available at all.

As for security, the Transit Courier features remote locking and an immobilser as standard. You will have to pay extra for an alarm system, though.

Which Ford Transit Courier is best for me?

With no different body sizes available, your choice of Transit Courier comes down to what sort of level of standard equipment you want and whether a petrol or diesel engine will suit you better.

The lower the trim level the lighter the van, which helps to maximise payload and fuel economy. However, this is such a small van that maximum payload is unlikely to be a major concern for most buyers, and fuel economy is very good throughout.

So in this instance you may be better off simply going for the specification you want or can afford. We've a number of individual model variant reviews below to help you make up your mind - though the latest versions are pretty generously equipped regardless.

As for choosing petrol or diesel, the diesel versions will have greater fuel economy if you regularly do lengthy journeys. But modern diesels are not especially keen on short journeys - this tends to cause problems for diesel particulate filters and so on - so if you're most doing quick hops between jobs around town a petrol version may actually be more suitable.

Ford Transit Courier individual model reviews

We have individual reviews of each of the following Transis Courier models (click the text to jump straight to the one that most interests you or simply keep reading to view them all):

Ford Transit Courier Sport 1.5 TDCI EcoBlue 100hp review

By Christofer Lloyd

Ford Transit Courier Sport review - 1.5-litre EcoBlue 100hp model, 2019, white, front view, driving

  • Facelifted Sport model tested
  • Slightly more power from newer engine
  • Still a stylish small van

It may only have 100hp, but this Sport model looks sharp enough to justify its higher price over lesser Trend models.

The diesel engine is surprisingly quiet at idle and pulls off reasonably promptly thanks to 215Nm of pulling power, with sufficient muscle to deal with heavy loads.

While quiet at low engine speeds, the volume level ramps up as you pick up speed, though this is what you’d expect in a small, diesel van. There is enough low-down heave to not have to work the engine too hard to make progress, however.

Making the most of the engine’s power is a very slick gearbox and an easy-to-balance clutch, which makes you feel like you’re driving a small car, rather than a tiny van. With six gears the engine is reasonably quiet at speed.

There’s not too much wind noise on the motorway either, though a lot of noise does resonate up from the road. The fabric-covered bulkhead in our test model did successfully prevent any noise from the load bay echoing into the cabin, though.

As for the suspension, it is quite firm, potentially exaggerated by the 16-inch alloys that come with Sport trim, meaning less rubber and more metal between you and the road.

The Courier is well set-up, though, meaning it’s mostly very comfortable, proving firm enough to feel up to lugging heavy loads without bouncing around the road, while remaining planted around corners. The brakes also feel strong and up to the task of keeping heavy loads in check.

Adding to this sense of security is nicely weighted steering that provides a good sense of control.

While the seat provides adequate back support, it took us plenty of fiddling with the seat to find a comfortable position in this version.

Ford Transit Courier Limited 1.0 EcoBoost 100hp review

Tested November 2018 by Christopher Lloyd

Ford Transit Courier Limited review - front view, 2018

  • Can petrol power make sense in a small van
  • Smooth and refined power delivery
  • Firm ride

Petrol power might still be a leftfield choice, even for a small van, but the turbocharged 1.0-litre in the Transit Courier makes a lot of sense.

Though it only has 100hp, it feels more than up to the task of punting the lightweight Courier along – provided you don’t plan on testing out the payload seven days a week.

That’s partly because the engine is so quiet and so smooth, it never feels like you’re working it hard. It’s an eager, responsive engine and while the Courier is not fast, it feels light and nimble with this tiny motor under the bonnet.

The engine is practically inaudible in the bottom half of the rev range and remains refined even in the top half, emitting a muted, but pleasant thrum.

We found the suspension a little on the firm side, not quite smoothing out roads that the diesel did. We wonder whether this is down to the petrol engine’s lighter weight not being matched with softer springs, effectively making it feel firmer as it taxes the suspension less than the diesel.

Fill the load area, however, and we’re sure that the ride would smooth itself out and even unladen, the Courier is still one of the most comfortable small vans.

As with the diesel, the gearbox is slick and easy to use, with six gears helping to make the most of the petrol engine’s power. Similarly, the steering is nicely weighted and gives a good sense of connection with the front tyres.

With the engine making less noise than the diesel, road noise is a little more noticeable, but still quieter than the diesel in Sport trim.

Ford Transit Courier Sport 1.6-litre TDCi 95hp review

Tested April 2017 by CJ Hubbard

Ford Transit Courier Sport review - 1.6-litre 95hp model, front view

  • Distinctive looks for Ford’s top-spec small van
  • Sport image and kit targets Fiesta Van owners
  • Good value, fun to drive, 1.5 diesel tested

Available with either the 100hp 1.0-litre EcoBoost turbo petrol engine or – as tested here – the 95hp 1.5-litre TDCi turbodiesel engine, the Sport becomes the new top-of-the-range model for the Transit Courier.

And yes, that red stripe is meant to be there. Even if it does look uncannily like someone forgot they left an open tin of paint on the roof and drove off. Let’s give it a whirl.

What’s special about the Transit Courier Sport?

The stripe, which comes in a choice of colours depending on the van’s body colour, makes an instant impression. Emphasising this further, the Sport is the only Courier to come with completely body-coloured bumpers and side mouldings as standard.

You also get a front and rear skid plates, a ‘Magneto Grey’ finish for the door mirrors and unique 16-inch alloy wheels, plus special Sport rocker panels. It’s no Transit Connect M-Sport, but it is striking, nonetheless.

Ford Transit Courier Sport review - 1.6-litre 95hp model, rear view

On top of that, standard equipment includes:

  • Manual air conditioning
  • Leather-trimmed steering wheel with red stitching
  • Part-leather seats (with more red stitching)
  • Glovebox illumination

Any chassis upgrades for the Courier Sport?

Sadly not. Unlike its Transit Custom Sport big brother, which gets lowered suspension and new anti-roll bars, the Transit Courier Sport uses the same basic chassis set up as the rest of the Transit Courier range.

So what’s it like to drive?

Turns out the lack of chassis mods is no real downer when the basic van is already great to drive.

In fact, we can’t think of any rival that will genuinely bring a smile to your face in the corners like this Ford can. It rides really nicely even if there’s nothing in the back, and the suspension easily checks body movement to stop it leaning over too far in the turns.

The only thing the Courier Sport really left us wanting was more performance than the 95hp and 215Nm this 1.5-litre turbodiesel engine can provide, and an extra ratio for the five-speed manual gearbox.

What’s it like in the cab?

Spacious. Headroom is vast and the windscreen feels like it’s miles away. The general design is influenced by Ford’s passenger cars, which means it looks quite smart – if also rather cluttered – but doesn’t have as many storage areas as it might if functionality had been placed ahead of finesse.

Ford Transit Courier Sport review - 1.6-litre 95hp model, cab interior

Still, the build quality feels rock solid – creaking far less than most VW vans, for example, including the Caddy – and refinement is good. It’ll be a comfy environment even over long journeys, even if the Ford Sync infotaiment system could certainly be less fiddly.

And the running costs?

Should be reasonable. Ford quotes 70.6mpg for this diesel model – and that’s without the optional stop-start system (74.3mpg) or the 62mph speed limiter (76.3mpg, when fitted with stop-start).

Realistically, you can expect to see 50+mpg, depending on how often you travel fully loaded.

Sohuld I buy a Ford Transit Courier Sport

The Transit Courier Sport is spacious for its size, good to drive and well equipped. Value for money remains high, and fuel economy is also impressive.

As for the way it looks, well, that’s over to you…

Ford Transit Courier Trend 1.6 TDCi 95hp review

Tested June 2015 by Liam Campbell

Ford Transit Courier Trend review - 2015 model, blue, front view

  • Smallest and lightest Transit ever
  • Great productivity, handling and e­­­conomy
  • £13,221 price tag may turn some off

The Ford Transit Courier is the lightest and smallest vehicle in the Transit brand. It's also the latest van to compete in the ‘Compact Panel Van’ sector, which was pioneered by the SEVEL alliance (Citroen, Fiat and Peugeot) with the launch of their Nemo, Fiorino and Bipper in 2008. The only other competitor in this market is the Mercedes Citan Compact.

In the cab

The well-finished cab is equipped to suit drivers of all shapes and sizes. An eight-way adjustable seat with lumbar support and armrest is standard on the Trend model, together with a steering wheel which is reach and rake adjustable.

Trend models also feature DAB radio with Ford SYNC, which features Emergency Assistance (can automatically alert the emergency services in the event of a crash), Bluetooth with voice control and eco-mode (gives the driver a fuel-saving score based on their driving style).

Clever, spacious storage compartments hidden under the seat are another feature to benefit Trend customers as is an overhead storage shelf.

Safety

It’s disappointing that passenger airbags still aren’t a standard feature on cargo vans, although the Courier is fitted with Electronic Stability Control (ESC/ESP), Hill Start Assist, Emergency Brake Assist, Emergency Brake Warning, Traction Control, Roll-Over Mitigation and Trailer Sway Control.

Remote control double locking (separate buttons for load area and cab) is also standard across the range.

Engine

At 215Nm, the 1.6-litre TDCi diesel is by far the torqueiest of the three engines offered. However, for this size of van and the nature of businesses it is aimed towards, the three-cylinder petrol engine might be worth a shout as it’s both powerful and economical when running around the city.

On the road

There’s no doubting that the 1.6 TDCi is the most refined of the three engines, but it seems unlikely that the engine will be carried through to Euro-6. It’s very smooth and quiet, and with 95hhp and 215Nm of torque, it’s very quick off the mark. The van also handles well, with minimal body roll into corners.

Conclusion

The Ford Transit Courier is a solid little van, offering respectable productivity, handling and fuel economy, but at £13,221 plus VAT, it’s not exactly cheap for a van of this size -especially when top end SEVEL vans are selling for around £10,000 maximum.*

For city users especially, Ford’s 1-litre ecoboost petrol engine may be worth considering rather than the heavier diesel.

*Prices correct at the time of writing