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I recently tried out the new body style Ford Transit van (8 seats), a special version called "journey" with all goodies Ford could ever think of. These include a CD player stereo, aircon, SRS ( or STS ? ) airbags, central locking. Nothing more...
Body : --------------- The new body design looks a bit better than the old one. (The old body still sells at the name of T12) When it came to the knock-on-the-fender test, the "clang-clang" showed me that the quality of steel sheets did not change at all.
Panel and fender joints are neat and tidy. The uneven gaps do not show on this sound body style. However when I tried the half-on-the-curb test, the rear hatch door refused to close. So the body twists significantly. Not a good point.
The scene in the wheel wells spoke of poor rust proofing. I asked the dealer if the vehicle had a rust-proof warranty, he gabled and mumbled 3 years but even he was unceertain. I was too...
If you are a detailing enthusiast like I am, the several plastic parts which have serious gaps between them and the body will be annoying after each car wash, since no matter how hard you wipe and dry the car, water will still come running down from those gaps leaving ugly water marks.
Interior : ------------- The interior is "Ford as usual". The stereo is at a weird place. So far to reach that even I, with a height of 1.91 meters, had to slightly raise half of my "rump" to reach it... So you don't listen to music when you drive alone...
The heating / conditioning controls resemble those of the Escorts. (Maybe the surplus parts were used after the Escort was discontinued ?)
Seats are quite comfortable. Adjustment is fair.
The plastic trim quality is not fabulous but nowhere close to bad either. But could have been better than this.
Although I am a hulk of a man, I found the steering wheel too thick to grip. (Or in this case "grasp" ) One needs a claw of a bigfoot to hold it firmly.
Pedals are too close to each other for such a wide interior. Pads of the pedals are ludicrously small.
The shiftstick is shaky and rattly at idling. The vibration "ttrrrr" it emits when at high revs is annoying.
It sometimes missed correct gears. (It shifted into 2nd while I was trying to throw into 4th.)
Rear seats are simple bench style seats. If you get the 18 seater you get to have furgon (or pullman) style seat which are fixed (no recline) and an automatic retracting deploying sidestep which breaks down within a couple of days.
Squeeks and rattles are every minute road companions. You need half deaf ears or nerves of steel to cope with the sounds.
The flooring is the same lousy black plastic which we all know to stink after a few rainy days' ride and start cracking and flaking and chipping away to expose bare metal shortly.
Noise insulation is virtually non existent. But I was almost laughing hard when I heard the chap offering me "arctic insulation package" !! And what is that ? Grammy' s old blanket under the headliner ??
Engine and Mechanics : ----------------------- The engine is at 120 Hp as I was told. It is a turbodiesel (no intercooler) You are also offered a 90 Hp atmospheric diesel. But for a vehicle of this bulk and weight... Guess that is a joke...
The noise is unbearable. You can tell the sequence of injectors spraying as the engine idles. The "clickity-clackity" which is normal even for a Mercedes Benz when cold does not go away even when the engine reaches equillibrium.
When you accelerate, the only difference is that you lose count of which injector was spraying. The "clickity-clackity" just gets faster and faster. That is soon disguised by the tyre roll and transmission sounds. The whirrs of the differential and rumbles of the rock hard leaf springs mask any other sound (including the CD player)
The whack of the cardan joints scare you stiff that you may splinter the driveshaft or rip the cardan joint(s) apart. The dealer told me the driveshaft was designed with a deliberate slack so the engine and tranny were not overstressed. (How thoughtful of Ford and how rude of the dealer guy... He thought I was an idiot to buy that excuse !!)
Gears shift roughly and awkwardly. The long shiftstick while it is loose, tends to mis-shift. That is dangerous for all, including the engine, drivetrain and traffic.
I had a real experience trying to shift into reverse. The gear kept slipping into 4th...
Handling : ---------------- The steering wheel is reasonably dosed. Not too stiff not too soft.
Directional stability is somewhat erratic. If you push the vehicle too hard in curves, odds are that you will end up upon the barriers.
Sudden and abrupt control inputs are neglected by the vehicle. So do not imagine swerving out of a lane for a hasty overtake. She won't do that. Force her further, you end up in a veer and a subsequential spin or worse yet, a flip over.
Braking is reasonably safe. But the sheer bulk of the vehicle and the general non existence of compression (engine braking) of diesel engines, the brakes give the feeling that they will fade soon. So careful downhill cruising is a must.
Conclusion : --------------------- A Ford Transit is a relatively cheap vehicle, compared to VW, Mercedes Benz but much more expensive than Hyundai, Mitsubishi or Toyota.
I' d go for a cheaper one... You get a tad better quality and can save some for the oncoming repairs...
Great review, got the older early 90's version and think it's great !..... Terry
ampuk2000 28.04.2004 18:37
Contained everything I needed to know!
NJFortune 28.04.2004 17:40
The Transit is quite comfortable to drive with its folding down arm rests, it was the first ever van I drove only a few weeks after passing my test, being a council employee at the time they then gave me an even scarier vehicle to drive, a LDV Convoy Linktip!!.