Men in tights - Ford Transit Custom Sport review NZ

We take a look at the icon that is Ford Transit

Maybe it’s because we’re living in a more enlightened, less judgemental (hmmm) age but going into the Windsor Park superette and asking for a pair of tights was far less of a drama than I thought it would be. Admittedly, owner Jay is a friend of mine but even so, he happily went on with the fact that was ‘making a movie’ of Ford New Zealand’s new Transit Sport - I fear this matter will raise its head again.

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Anyway, as I said, the reason why this middle-aged man was buying tights was to demonstrate the fact that according to Scotland Yard, during the 70s, the Mark 1 Ford Transit was involved in 95% of bank robberies due to its car-like performance and excessive room for swag in the back - the tights were a great prop (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it).

The Ford Transit as we know it came into production in 1965 and with over 8 million unit sales, four generations and numerous facelifts since, its popularity is evidently beyond reproach. The latest iteration, the Custom Sport that I got my hands on simply adds to the cargo van’s desirability.

Dressed in black with orange ‘go faster’ stripes, the Transit Sport looks like something the A-Team would drive rather than a tradie. It boasts the latest Ford language grille, a lower front scoop, adaptive Bi-Xenon headlights and LED DRL’s. 16-inch wheels offer plenty of purchase to the road below and both side and rear doors offer entry to a vast cargo bed that will take a 968kg payload. LED taillights and privacy glass make up the rear with more orange stripes to highlight its sportiness.

On the subject of sportiness, under the Transit’s bonnet is a surprisingly powerful engine. Just like the MK 1’s of yesteryear, the Sport has a 2000ccs, however, unlike its V4 (63kW) petrol ancestor, it now comes with a 2L diesel, transverse powertrain that produces well over double the output, 136kW and 415Nm to be exact. It’s also Euro 6.2 so produces just 187g/km of CO2 and has a fuel efficiency of 7.2L/100km.

The cabin is more ute than van, with enough creature comforts to satisfy the stroppiest of tradies. The driver’s seat is electrically adjustable and offers plenty of support for your day on the road. Plus it’s heated and comes with an armrest, what’s more, the driver’s door window ledge is ‘arm friendly’ too. The passenger bench seat is heated too and has a secret (well not anymore) stowage area below. In fact, the cabin itself is full of cubby holes and cup/bottle holders, they are everywhere.

Infotainment comes via a touchscreen on the dash and has the very versatile SYNC 3, what’s more, the instrument cluster is an analogue/digital cross that gives you ample of information to keep you occupied.

More than just ample is the Transit Sport’s driver and safety aids. Adaptive Cruise Control, BLIS, Rear Cross Trafic alert, LKA, Traffic Sign recognition, it’s all there with bells on (or beeps) and the reverse camera offers up two views - the extra one being for the tow bar.

With level 3 lockdown in full flight, my week’s review consisted of taking my lad to kick footballs around in the park and venturing to the grocery store (and of course the superette) but I did take the long way to each and every one of the excursions. The ride height is very superior and as I said before the comfort is so not like a van. Visibility is great with a large windscreen and duel mirrors on each side (normal and wide-angle). Then there’s the way it drives.

The 2L gives and gives, it feels strong off the mark and happy to sit at 100km/h on the motorway. It also handles well in the corners. It’s by no means a sports car but it feels stoic enough even on the Harbour Bridge in blustering winds.

I enjoyed my time with Ford New Zealand’s new Transit Sport. It’s simple to drive and happy to navigate even the tightest of drive-throughs. It’s roomy, full of tech and powerful enough for most jobs, day or night. Now where did I put my tights?

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