Ford: 2014 Ford Transit Cargo review

Ford: 2014 Ford Transit Cargo review

The new Ford Transit Cargo is now a global product which heads up the Transit family of commercial vehicles which are marketed across Europe, Asia and the Americas.

In New Zealand, Ford has introduced three versions of the Transit Cargo, the 350L long wheelbase van at $60,490 (high roof an additional $3200), the 350E LWB high roof Jumbo at $70,420, and the 470E long wheelbase high roof Jumbo at $71,640.

DSC_0006Transit Cargo Interior Our test vehicle was the Transit Cargo 350L medium roof which is the closest competitor from the Ford stable to the market leading Toyota Hiace ZX in both price and size.

The Transit Cargo 350L medium roof van has a 11 cubic metre capacity so bests the Hiace ZX by 1.1 cubes and there are some other fundamental differences in this global warrior.

Under the bonnet is a 2.2-litre direct-injection turbo diesel engine that puts out 114kW of power and 385Nm of torque, which also bests the Toyota. The engine is fitted with a stop/start system and Ford claims fuel efficiency of 7.8L/100km.

However, theres only one transmission on offer and thats a six-speed manual, as Ford is unable to offer an automatic transmission with this engine. US Transit Cargo models get an inline five-cylinder turbo-diesel engine with a six-speed automatic but sadly that engine and transmission combination aren’t coming our way. Pity.

US Transit Cargo buyers also get the option of a 3.7-Litre V6 engine or a 3.5-litre twin turbocharged V6 Eco-Boost engine. Lucky varmints.

The all-new from the ground up Transit Cargo also has a number of useful and convenient features, such as the full metal bulkhead separating the driver and passengers from the rear cargo compartment, the rear floor has a protective plastic cover, DSC_0011theres a multi-piece rear bumper which helps to keep repair costs low.

The Transit’s cargo tie-down hooks and fixing points are mounted on the side walls, leaving the floor clear and free of obstructions.

In addition to the rear view camera installed (which also displays in the rear view mirror), the Transit Cargo has front and rear parking sensors, and by golly do you need them when piloting this beast in the urban sprawl.

The Toyota however bests the Ford in the turning circle department – 13.3 metres for the Transit as opposed to 12.4 for the Hiace.

Being a more modern design naturally the Transit Cargo has more electronic goodies than the Hiace which has been around for a decade.

The Ford’s Sync voice control system will seamlessly connect Bluetooth and USB devices allowing the driver to activate music or play text messages simply by voice commands.

Other electronic features include roll-over mitigation, load adaptive control, curve control, and hill start assist, as well as traction control and emergency brake assist, the cruise control system also includes an adjustable speed limiting device, that allows the the driver to set a maximum speed that cannot be exceeded.

Inside the cabin, theres a plethora of storage spaces and cup and bottle holders, but the most useful feature of all in our book is the mobile telephone holder and conveniently located USB power outlet and AUX port.

Driving the Ford is not as intimidating as you would expect, yes, its a big beast, but the combination of the large door mirrors in conjunction with the reversing camera and front and rear parking sensors allows you to park the vehicle quickly and easily.

On the road the common rail turbo diesel 2.2-litre engine pulls well, even when laden, and the six-speed manual transmission has a nice short throw, and a positive change. I managed not to stall the big beastie too often.

I do think however, that some customers wouldn’t mind a bigger engine option, especially those who load up their vans and then also tow a laden trailer behind as well.

The lack of an automatic transmission could hurt the Ford’s acceptance in the competitive local delivery van market, but the price for the level of features and benefits is extremely competitive.

Loading and unloading is made easier by the ability of the rear doors to fold to 180 degrees, which will easily allow a forklift to place pallets inside the rear doors and also through the side loading door. The plastic lined floor is easily cleaned with a broom or a mop and bucket should you have carried a wet or dirty load on board.

Not everyone will like the design of rather aggressive front grille either, it gives the Transit Cargo a fairly imposing presence, particularly in white, but in the darker colours available this feature is somewhat ameliorated.

But as a workhorse and a mobile office the new Transit Cargo comes up trumps, its capable, comfortable, and frugal. All music to the ears of a transport fleet manager.

Price as tested: $60,490

Pros:

  • Brand new global design
  • Leading edge safety features and technology
  • Good dealer network for parts and service

Cons:

  • Lack of automatic transmission will hurt it in the fight against the Hiace
  • Lack of engine options could also be problematic for some

 

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