Ford Transit Custom Active amps-up the lifestyle with SUV-inspired makeover

  • A van with styling 'inspired' by SUVs and off-roaders
  • Available as a panel van and Tourneo Custom passenger carrier
  • Eye-catching outside and in, optional mLSD for added traction

The Ford Transit Custom is already the bestselling van in the UK – now it seems Ford is determined to chase down every possibly kind of buyer, as it launches new Active and Trail specifications, targeting some unusual needs.

We’ve covered the Transit Custom Trail in a separate story – there’s a larger Transit Trail as well – so here we’re concentrating on the new Active model, which is aimed at lifestyle buyers. As such, the Active spec is available on the Transit Custom van and the Tourneo Custom people carrier.

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Isn’t Active a Ford car trim level?

Correct – Active is the specification name Ford uses for its cars that have been given an SUV-style makeover. And guess what? That’s exactly what Active means on these new vans, too.

Ford Transit Custom Active - silver, rear side view, 2020

Intended to signal that the people inside are adventurous, outdoorsy types, the Transit Custom Active and the Tourneo Custom Active get extra cladding on the wheel arches, body sides, rear bumper and (weirdly) the door mirrors. As if they’re ready and willing to tackle some kind of off-road course – which isn’t quite the case with the standard kit (more on this below).

You also get a unique mesh grille treatment, 17-inch alloy wheels and roof rails as standard – the idea being that these vehicles will appeal to people who have a lot of kit to transport for their hobbies. Kit that won’t quite fit inside a regular Ford Focus Active, let alone the Fiesta version.

Ford Tourneo Custom Active - orange, front view, 2020

Just to make things super clear, there’s also a full-width Active decal on the back, and Active badges on each front wing.

Can I go off-road in one of these?

We probably wouldn’t advise any serious green-laning – unlike the car versions, the vans don’t get any increased ride height even.

However, if you are likely to find yourself on slippery surfaces – be that a damp field or a lake shore or whatever – Active models with the standard six-speed manual gearbox can be upgraded with the same mLSD traction system that’s fitted to the Transit Custom Trail.

Ford Transit Custom Active - silver, front view, driving, 2020

This mechanical Limited Slip Differential increases traction by directing power and torque to the wheel with the most grip, which should enable the Active to claw its way out of slippery stuff more easily than the regular van. It will be easier to drive in heavy rain and snow, too.

The mLSD is not compatible with the Custom’s optional six-speed automatic transmission, however.

Is it equally Active on the inside?

Well, you get some funky part-leather trim, if that’s what you mean.

Ford Transit Custom Active - cab interior, 2020

Tourneo Custom Actives also feature distinctive blue trim pieces as well.

How many different versions are there?

The Tourneo Custom Active comes as a short-wheelbase (SWB) model only, but the Transit Custom Active is available as short- and long-wheelbase (LWB) versions – and in both regular panel van and Double-Cab-in-Van (DCIV) bodystyles, the latter including a second row of seating separated from the load area by a full bulkhead.

Ford Tourneo Custom Active - rear seats, 2020

The Tourneo seats up to eight people, but is open from front to back, so may be less suitable for really heavy gear – though if you take some of the seats out you can use their mounting points for an internal bike rack. Which some buyers may find particularly attractive.

All are powered by the latest 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engines, with a choice of 130hp, 170hp or 185hp – all of which are available as fuel-saving EcoBlue Hybrid variants as well, using 48v mHEV technology (there’s more info on this in our full Transit Custom review).

Is Ford planning Active versions of any other vans?

It is – smaller Transit Connect Active and Tourneo Connect Active models are expected to join the range later in 2020.

Ford Transit Connect Active - front view, blue, 2020

We understand that as well as looking the part, these will also feature a ride-height increase for added bonus points (and ground clearance).

How much does the Transit Custom Active cost?

The Transit Custom Active is priced from £30,000, the Tourneo Custom Active from £37,950 –both excluding VAT. You can order one now, with first delivers set for ‘late summer’ 2020.

We’ll bring you a first review very soon.

Also read

>> Our main Ford Transit Custom review

>> Ford Transit Custom Trail – full details

>> Ford Transit Trail – full details

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