- UK’s most popular medium van gets a makeover
- Sharper looks, greater practicality, 50mpg
- On sale late 2017, in dealers early 2018
The Ford Transit Custom is getting a makeover, and these are the first official pictures and details of what is a bold new facelift for the UK’s most popular van.
The updated Transit Custom goes on sale late 2017 ahead of first customer deliveries in around February-March 2018, and features numerous changes inside and out.
UPDATE: we have now driven the 2018 Transit Custom, click here to read the full Parkers Vans review
In addition to the striking new look, the 2018 Custom gets an ‘all-new’ cabin and a host of new technology, while the existing model line-up will be joined by efficient new Econetic and plug-in hybrid electric variants.
The Econetic boasts an official fuel economy figure of nearly 50mpg, while the Transit Custom PHEV (that’s Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) promises several miles of emissions free driving yet the ability to refuel at any petrol station.
As you’d expect, the Tourneo Custom receives a similar reworking; click here to jump straight to information about Ford’s practical passenger carrier.
We've now also seen the first picture of the new Transit Custom Sport Van.
Here’s what we know about the 2018 Ford Transit Custom so far.
New look for the Transit Custom
You won’t have much difficulty spotting the facelifted Ford Transit Custom.
Taking cues from the firm’s passenger car range, the 2018 model features a prominent, high-mounted ‘trapezoid grille’, which sharpens up the lines at the front of the van quite dramatically.
The headlights are now slimmer and more high-tech looking as well, though they’re limited to HID Xenon and not available as full LED units like you’d find in the car world. You do get LED daytime running lights, however, and the overall shape blends effortlessly into the Transit Custom’s muscular shoulder lines.
There is less sign of change at the rear, but the range-topping Sport trim level’s trademark bonnet stripes and bodykit have been redesigned – at this stage Ford is yet to release any official pictures, but we have seen a leaked brochure image that confirms some of this (click here to read more).
Even more dramatic changes on the inside
If anything, the interior of the 2018 Ford Transit Custom is even more outstanding than the outside.
Ford has completely redesigned the Transit Custom’s cab. The result is not only a much more modern dashboard – heavily influenced by that of the 2017 Ford Fiesta – but also what the manufacturer claims is class-leading amounts of stowage.
With an emphasis on ‘smart device’ (that’s phones and tablets to the rest of us) connectivity as well as hardwearing materials, the new Transit Custom is said to be even more suitable for use as a mobile office.
Fancier models even get a ‘floating’ iPad-style 8.0-inch touchscreen central display in place of the pokey little monitor in current versions; this runs Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system, features pinch and swipe control capability, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in addition to sat-nav, Bluetooth and DAB radio.
Expect to pay extra for at least some of these luxuries, however.
How practical is the new Ford Transit Custom’s cab?
Stowage improvements mean there’s now up to 25 litres of storage in the dashboard – although three of these areas are open rather than lidded bins on the dashtop. Which means their contents will be visible and potentially the cause of annoying reflections in the windscreen.
In better news, the glovebox can hold A4-size hanging files in its lower compartment, which should prove handy for keeping track of job sheets, and the interior door panels have been completely redesigned to make them more useful.
There’s also a new fold-out cupholder below the gearlever – in addition to four existing drinks holders – and the Transit Custom’s seats have been comprehensively upgraded.
The new seats are intended to be both more comfortable and more supportive, with revised foam padding and ergonomics. The seat material has apparently been subject to Ford’s ‘toughest-ever abrasion tests’ to ensure they resist wear for as long as possible.
In fact, all of the trim inside the cabin has been renewed, with an emphasis on ‘quality, durability and appearance.’
2018 Ford Transit Custom engine range includes new Econetic
The new Custom carries over the three 2.0-litre EcoBlue turbodiesel engines from the current model. Replacing the old 2.2-litre diesel, these are available with 105hp, 130hp and 170hp, and meet Euro 6 emissions requirements while managing to be smoother, more responsive and more efficient.
However, 2018 will also see the return of the Transit Custom Econetic – a version specially optimised to deliver low CO2 emissions and higher fuel economy, in this instance based on the short-wheelbase 105hp EcoBlue.
Econetic upgrades include unique engine calibration, a stop-start system, low rolling resistance tyres, a fixed 62mph speed limiter and Ford Accelerator Control (to rein in any attempts to thrash it). As a result it claims to emit just 148g/km and return 49.6mpg.
Don’t expect to see that level of efficiency when fully laden…
Ford has also confirmed plans to launch a Transit Custom plug-in hybrid. This is covered in loads of detail in a separate story, which you can read by clicking here.
As you’d expect, the recently introduced SelectShift six-speed automatic gearbox continues as an option; you get a six-speed manual transmission as standard.
There have been some teething issues with the 2.0-litre EcoBlue engine, following its introduced in late 2016 – which has led to some warranty issues, particularly in relation to overly-frequent oil-change requests. But Ford should have ironed out these niggles by the time the revised Transit Custom reaches customers.
How many different types of Transit Custom are there?
While Ford hasn’t mentioned trim levels specifically – beyond announcing there will still be a wide selection of Sport models at the top of the range – we’re expecting these to carry over from the current Transit Custom, meaning base, Trend and Limited variants, too.
More generally, the 2018 Transit Custom will continue to be available in two wheelbase lengths, two roof heights and with a gross vehicle weight (or mass, as Ford has it) from 2.6 to 3.4 tonnes.
Maximum payload will be 1,450kg – which places it among the very best in the medium van class.
As before you will be able to buy the Transit Custom as a conventional panel van, a Double-Cab-in-Van (meaning a second row of seats) and as a kombi (for carrying more people than stuff); we’ve covered the more passenger orientated Tourneo Custom update in detail below.
Other practical features available include a load-through hatch in the bulkhead for long items and a collapsible integrated roof rack.
New technology for the 2018 Ford Transit Custom
Ford is making a number of active safety systems available on the new Transit Custom:
- Intelligent Speed Limiter – automatically adjusts the set cruise control speed according to speed limits, detected using the Traffic Sign Recognition system
- Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Alert – not only watches your blind spots but also warns you of approaching traffic when reversing, potentially very handy in a van
Those are in addition to the following features, already available:
- Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection – an autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system that recognises people as well as cars
- Lane Keeping Assist – warns you if you’re veering out of lane
- Side Wind Stabilisation – corrects for cross winds
- Adaptive Cruise Control
There’s also a new Upfitter Interface Module, to better integrate aftermarket conversions and accessories into the vehicle’s electrical system.
M1 kombi’s are available with rear air-suspension, too, just like the Tourneo Custom.
2018 Ford Transit Custom price
We would anticipate a slight rise over the current range, which as of July 2017 started at a basic ex-VAT retail price of £20,395.
Anything else to report about the Transit Custom facelift?
Well, some operators may be a little dismayed that there’s no announcement from Ford about upgraded security. A recent spate of thefts from parked vans has seen some owners complaining that the Transit Custom’s standard locks are too vulnerable when attacked.
Ford has also released the first images and details of a facelift for the Tourneo Custom.
The Tourneo Custom is the passenger carrying version of the Transit Custom, and the makeover goes on sale later in 2017, ahead of first deliveries in early 2018.
Like the Transit Custom, the Tourneo Custom gets a new ‘high-mounted trapezoidal grille’ and slimmer headlamps, which merge smoothly into the creases along the side of the van.
LED daytime running lights give the Tourneo Custom a more contemporary appearance, too.
Any changes on the inside?
The Tourneo Custom gets an all-new instrument panel, inspired by the latest Ford Fiesta.
Material quality is said to be higher, while increased use of horizontal lines make the cabin feel wider (can’t say lack of width was a particular concern previously, but hey).
Higher-spec models even get an 8.0-inch touchscreen that stands proud of the dash like an iPad.
This is powered by Ford’s latest Sync 3 infotainment system, one of a number of modernising touches that also include various new safety systems, up to six USB ports and what’s described as faster, more effective air-conditioning.
There are also more lidded compartments on the top of the dashboard. Which is a genuine bonus.
How many seats in a Tourneo Custom these days?
Ford is keen to point out that it’s the only vehicle in its class available with six individual seats – though eight- and nine-seater versions are also offered, in both long- and short-wheelbase variants.
The individual seats can be arranged in forward facing and conference format, tumbled and folded, or removed completely if required. The latest seat design promises enhanced comfort, too, with ‘revised padding and geometry for optimised support’.
Again, material quality is improved in the back, with a new range of trims and finishes.
2018 Ford Tourneo Custom engines and trim levels
No major changes for the engines, as the Tourneo Custom carries on with the recently introduced 2.0-litre EcoBlue TDCi turbodiesel, with a choice of 105hp, 130hp or 170hp. Ford has not mentioned an Econetic version of the Tourneo yet.
Buyers can option the six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission in place of the standard six-speed manual gearbox, however, plus rear air suspension for greater passenger comfort.
There are two new trim levels of note – super-posh Titanium X, with leather, sat-nav, HID Xenon headlights reversing camera as standard, and Sport.
Introduced as an extension of the Transit Custom Sport van line-up, this gets a bodykit, 17-inch alloy wheels and bonnet stripes. Probably a better bet for lifestyle buyers than airport shuttles…