2018 Drive Commercial Car of the(934)

2018 Drive Commercial Car of the(934)

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The winner of the Best Medium Van, Ford's recently updated Transit Custom, scored a unanimous victory to receive Drive's inaugural Commercial Car of the Year award.

All three judges praised its on-road abilities, particularly when carrying a one-tonne load in its flexible cargo area, as well as its modern cabin that proved comfortable over long periods behind the wheel and includes a host of smart features aimed at making light work of, well, working on the road, such as the in-built clipboard in the centre armrest, myriad of small-item storage spaces and an assortment of 12V and USB power outlets to keep mobiles devices topped up.

Priced from $43,790 (plus on-road costs) in the 300S short wheelbase version we tested, and covered by Ford's new five-year warranty with affordable capped-price servicing that lasts the lifetime of the vehicle, the Transit Custom offers great value for money when you factor in what you get, with standard features such as Ford's latest Sync3 infotainment system that intergrates a reverse camera, Bluetooth connectivity and smartphone mirroring for Apple and Android devices, as well as its long-term ownership credentials.

But it was the Transit Custom's suite of up-to-the-minute safety systems that really impressed the judges, especially considering workplace safety is a key attribute for big businesses when choosing a fleet of work vehicles that protect their workforce, their cargo and their investment.

Costing just $1600, the optional Technology Pack brings automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert and lane departure warnings – all extremely useful tools when driving such a big van, whether it is being used for long-haul work on the open road or through the rush of the inner-city as a delivery vehicle.

It also comes with Ford's ground-breaking MyKey system that allows owners to restrict certain parameters, such as the volume of the audio system, maximum speeds and not allow the stability system to be disengaged, which could be suitable for new, or inexperienced, drivers.

Beyond its modern conveniences and style, the Transit Custom remains a tough and sturdy worker with a cavernous cargo area that is clad with plywood on the walls, allowing owners to tailor its use - fitting shelves for example - conveniently, while its sliding side door and barn doors that open to 180-degrees at the back allow easy access.

Powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine that produces 96kW and 385Nm, and driving the front wheels through a smooth-shifting, conventional six-speed automatic, the Transit Custom is quiet, refined and easy to drive. It is also strong enough to handle carting around its maximum 985kg payload capacity without ever feeling stressed. 

Ford created the modern delivery van with the original Transit back in 1965, so it should come as no surprise that the latest Transit Custom uses more than 50 years of experience to present such an impressive resume. It gets the job as Drive's inaugural Commercial Car of the Year. 

Read more about Ford Transit Custom

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