Ford unveils 2018 Transit Custom with lower running costs and hybrid tech

Ford has announced a number of important 2018 updates for the Transit Custom, with lower CO2 emissions, improved fuel economy and more safety kit. The new Transit Custom van will go on sale in early 2018, while a plug-in hybrid will be added to the range in 2019.

Launched in 2013, the Transit Custom has become Britain’s favourite van, with Ford selling over 100,000 every year. In early 2017, Ford updated its medium-sized van with new 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engines, which replaced the old 2.2-litre units, with higher torque and improved economy. However, from 2018, the panel van gets more new features, including an updated Econetic variant that will return an advertised 148g/km of CO2 and 49.6mpg.

As well as improved economy, the 2018 Transit Custom will be offered with new driver assistance packages, including Cross Traffic Alert system that will warn the driver of approaching vehicles when they're reversing out of a driveway or parking space. Buyers can also specify an intelligent speed limiter, which will enable the van to automatically adjust its speed to the required limit by using a traffic sign recognition system.

The cabin has been redesigned with more storage and new seat designs, which Ford says will provide better long distance comfort with improved foam back support for the driver. There will also be 25 more litres of in-cab storage, with additional open bins, cup holders and deeper door pockets. 

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The dashboard layout is mostly new, with a large touchscreen that will reduce the button count and provide easy access to DAB audio and navigation. Ford’s latest Sync 3 infotainment system will be available as a payable option and the driver can control navigation and audio by voice command. For example, to find a nearby fuel station, the driver would push a button and say “I need fuel”. The navigation would then automatically direct the driver to the nearest station.  

As before, the Ford Transit Custom will be available in two load lengths and heights, with the largest providing a maximum payload of 1.4 tonnes. In addition to the standard panel van, the Transit Custom will also be offered as a kombi or crew cab. Maximum gross vehicle mass will range from 2.6 to 3.4 tonnes. 

From 2019, the Transit Custom will be available as a plug-in hybrid, allowing the van to run solely on electric power for city trips. Ford hasn't released any details on range or economy for the hybrid, but prototypes are already undergoing testing in London.

Prices for the new Transit Custom are still to be confirmed, but expect the range to start at £20,000, excluding VAT, when it reaches UK showrooms in January 2018. 

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