2024 Ford E-Transit Custom review

May 23, 2024 by

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The Ford E-Transit Custom is a fantastic electric van – it’s great to drive, has a good payload and load space and a reasonable range – but it’s quite pricey and alternatives have a longer warranty

What’s good

  • Loads of variants available
  • One-tonne payload
  • Great cab with loads of tech

What’s not so good

  • A little pricier than alternatives
  • Alarm not standard on all trims
  • Basic warranty

Wowscore: 9/10

Is the Ford E-Transit Custom a good van?

The Ford Transit needs no introduction. It’s simply legendary. The best-selling commercial vehicle in the UK for decades, it’s like Rule Brittania at the Last Night of the Proms – everybody knows it and you can’t help but love it a bit.

Now, with businesses under just as much pressure as private individuals to switch to cleaner, greener electric vehicles, Ford’s best-selling van has introduced its first fully-electric variant. The E-Transit Custom is the electric version of the mid-sized Transit Custom, sitting under the larger E-Transit and above the forthcoming E-Transit Courier.

As a mid-sized van, it’s a natural alternative if you’re thinking of buying a Mercedes eVito, or one of the Stellantis Group’s electric vans such as the Peugeot e-Expert or Vauxhall Vivaro Electric.

The latest Transit Custom’s styling is similar to its predecessor, but it’s actually a little lower than before – the regular H1 model being under 2m in height means it’s suitable for many multi-storey car parks. And as you’d expect, there are many different body styles available.

There’s of course the standard panel van, then the popular Double Cab in-Van (DCiV) which seats up to six people with a full-width bulkhead behind them. The Transit Custom Kombi seats up to eight, or the posher Tourneo variant has up to nine seats and a plusher interior with nicer materials and better soundproofing making it an alternative to the Volkswagen Multivan.

Ford E-Transit Custom: electric range, battery and charging data

Range: 209 miles
Efficiency: 3.3 miles per kWh
Battery size: 64kWh
Max charge speed: 125kW
Charge time AC: 6 hrs 42 mins, 0-100%, 11kW
Charge time DC: 39mins, 0-80%, 125kW
Charge port location: Front right corner
Power outputs: 135hp / 217hp / 285hp

The clever Multicab model is new – it has three seats in the front, and two in the rear, but offset to allow an L-shaped bulkhead. This way you can still carry five people but have space for longer items. There’s even a seriously sporty-looking MS-RT variant. A long-wheelbase variant is also available, and a version with a higher roof will arrive later.

And all of these models are available with diesel or plug-in hybrid engines, or as the electric version we’re driving here.

The E-Transit Custom comes with either a 135hp, 217hp or 285hp electric motor, and a battery of 64kWh in capacity. Official range is up to 209 miles, though that will obviously be very dependent not just on driving style but on what load you’re carrying. That’s a pretty competitive figure – the Stellantis vans such as the e-Expert claim to manage up to 217 miles, while the Mercedes eVito gets just 162 miles.

Speaking of load, it’s not compromised at all by opting for the electric variant. The E-Transit has a max payload of 1,011kg depending on what version you go for. That’s slightly more than a Stellantis van can carry when it’s fitted with its longer-range battery. The eVito doesn’t even come close.

Another string to the E-Transit Custom’s bow is the cab. It’s a really fantastic place to sit, with all models having both an 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster and a 13.0-inch widescreen infotainment system. It’s easy to use, well-built and packed with clever touches.

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How much does the Ford E-Transit Custom cost?

The E-Transit starts off in Trend trim, and comes out at just under £45,000 ex. VAT. That’s a little pricier than the eVito and the Stellantis vans – the latter start at less than £40,000, though that’s for the smaller battery variant with a much reduced range.

An extra £1,800 allows you to step up to Limited trim, which gives you LED lights, climate control and body-coloured panels on the outside. There’s also the attractive Sport model, which has a bodykit and higher-powered electric motor. The top-drawer MS-RT model comes in at more than £60,000 but has upgrades to make it more dynamic to drive, the most powerful electric motor and a serious visual pack including beefy bumpers, sporty-looking alloys and a barmy double-spoiler on the rear.

Performance and drive comfort

The Transit Custom has always been known for driving brilliantly – it hardly feels like a van on the road, with a more car-like driving position and suspension that deals extremely well with bumps in the road without feeling floppy. The same applies to the E-Transit Custom, thankfully.

The obvious benefits of an electric powertrain make things even better. The E-Transit Custom accelerates quickly and smoothly, with the slightly jerky automatic gearbox of the diesel Transit replaced by an EV’s seamless single-speed affair.

Unlike some electric cars, the E-Transit Custom doesn’t immediately put all of its power to the road if you put your foot down – it accelerates more gently, which is sensible in a working vehicle that may be carrying a delicate load. It’s still quick enough to beat most other vans off the lights, and gets up to motorway speed with no problem at all – though this sort of prolonged high speed won’t help your range.

Several driving modes change things about a bit. Sport mode makes the powertrain a little more responsive, though it still doesn’t give it the ferocious acceleration of a fast electric car. Eco mode dials everything back, encouraging smooth driving to maximise range. There’s also a Slippery mode, which again blunts the vehicle’s responses and dials up the traction control in a bid to keep you pointing in the right direction.

Visibility is excellent in the new E-Transit Custom. The large door mirrors have a lower fisheye section, ideal for minimising blindspots and checking on your rear wheels as you go around tight corners. Optionally available on all models is a ‘smart’ rear-view mirror that shows a camera feed from the rear – the first van to offer such a thing, and a useful addition. It also includes front and rear dashcams.

Payload and loading dimensions

The E-Transit Custom’s load area is uncompromised by its powertrain, and it has a competitive payload, too. All van models get a useful pass-through bulkhead which allows long items to protrude under the double front passenger seat.

Ford E-Transit Custom payload

The best version of the E-Transit Custom can carry up to 1,011kg, which is well in line with what other electric vans can offer. The Stellantis group vehicles (Peugeot/Citroen/Vauxhall/Fiat/Toyota) can carry more than 1,200kg, but that’s paired with the smaller of their two available batteries. The larger battery models can still carry over a ton, slightly besting the E-Transit by a few kg.

The Mercedes eVito, meanwhile, tops out with a payload of less than 900kg, while the Renault Trafic E-Tech offers a maximum of 1,100kg.

The Transit Custom beats them all in one department though, as it’s able to tow up to 2,300kg, compared with most alternatives that top out at 1,000kg. That may not be the best decision if maximising range is your goal, but for businesses that regularly need to tow but only need to cover short distances it’s an added layer of versatility.

Ford E-Transit Custom loading dimensions

Interior load length (L1/L2)
Van
To bulkhead: 2,602mm/3,002mm
With passthrough: 3,050mm/3,450mm

Multicab
To bulkhead: 2602mm/3,002mm
Behind seats: 1,287mm/1,687mm

Double cab in-van
To bulkhead: 1,605mm/2,004mm

Interior loading width
Van
Max: 1,777mm
Between wheel arches: 1,392mm

Multicab
Max: 1,777mm
Between wheel arches: 1,392mm
Beside rear seats: 605mm

Double cab in-van
Max: 1,777mm
Between wheel arches: 1,392mm

Interior loading height
All versions: 1,433mm

Rear door aperture height/width
All versions: 1,316mm/1,400mm

Side door aperture height/width
All versions: 1,301mm/1,030mm

Cab and interior

The first thing you’ll notice in the E-Transit Custom’s cab is the totally flat floor. This is a real boon – Ford’s shifted the front wheels forward, so there’s no intrusion from the wheel arches, and even the centre passenger has loads of space to put their feet.

This allows for the driver to easily exit the vehicle on either side simply by sliding across, and also allows more delicate loads to simply be kept on the cab floor – Ford was inspired by a decorator who preferred keeping his paint tins in the cab where he could keep an eye on them.

The driver’s seat is electrically adjustable on most models, and provided you don’t mind sitting quite upright there’s lots of legroom for even tall drivers. The double front passenger seat is, as ever, a bit cramped if you’re going to put two burly tradies on it, but it’s comfortable and the electric version has even more knee room than the diesels as it doesn’t have to accommodate space for the gear lever. The drive selector has instead been relocated to the steering column.

The E-Transit’s gone the way of many passenger cars and eschews physical controls in favour of touchscreens. The main infotainment screen is a massive 13.0-inch affair, with permanent air-con controls in a bar along the bottom. It’s bright, clear and easy to operate, but some people might prefer having buttons instead. The E-Transit does have built-in Alexa functionality if you’d prefer to use voice commands.

The 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster is bright and easy to read too, and is supplemented by a steering wheel loaded with buttons – including really easy shortcuts to turn off some of the more annoying mandated driver assistance features. The steering wheel has another clever feature, too – tip the right option box and it can fold flat, whereupon you can add a plastic tabletop for a ready-made desk or laptop tray. Great for working on the move or eating lunch.

Storage is a mixed bag. There are two gloveboxes – the lower is a fairly standard size, while the upper one is narrow but deep. There are some open storage areas above the dash, and two-level door bins, but you don’t get overhead storage or many covered storage areas for sensitive material. Each occupant gets a cupholder, but the ones on either end of the dashboard are a little shallow.

Electric range, charging and tax

The running costs of an electric van are far less than a diesel, though the strength of the advantage depends on how it’s charged. Just like with an electric car, using the public charging network will be much pricier than topping up at home or in a depot, using private or business electricity rates.

Ford has a number of features to lower running costs. The FordPro app can suggest the cheapest time to charge depending on fluid electricity rates, and it can also help to schedule maintenance during vehicle downtime, minimising the amount of time your vans are off the road.

The E-Transit Custom has a maximum range of 209 miles. We’ve yet to test this out properly, being limited to shorter test drives, so we look forward to finding out how close to this number it’s capable of getting. It’s a competitive range figure, though – the Stellantis electric vans can manage up to 217 miles on a charge, while the Mercedes eVito has just 168 miles of official range.

As for charging, it’ll top up at a maximum of 11kW on an AC charger – taking less than 7 hours for a full charge. Drop that to 7.4kW, as you’d find from most home charger, and it’ll take around 10 hours. It can fast-charge from a public network at a rate of 125kW, which can take it from 10-80% in just under 40 minutes.

Electric vans don’t benefit from low road tax in the same way as electric cars, and have to pay the same £290 yearly rate as a diesel van.

Safety and security

Safety gear in the Ford E-Transit is very impressive. All models come with an intelligent speed limiter, cruise control, lane-keeping assist, traffic sign recognition and autonomous emergency braking. There’s also all-round parking sensors and a rear-view camera to make parking easier.

The options list includes a 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise control and some other safety kit, all of which is useful – but the best feature is the digital rear-view mirror, which removes the disadvantage of not having a rear window.

Transits typically don’t have the best security, as the most common van on the market they’re a tempting target for thieves. It’s a shame that you have to step up to Limited trim before you get an alarm.

Reliability and problems

It’s hard to say how reliable the Transit will be, as this model’s not just all-new but uses a brand-new electric powertrain too. Warranty cover isn’t particularly impressive, with just three years of cover, though the first two are unlimited mileage.

So many Transits are sold, and many lead very hard lives, that the number of problems encountered by owners are myriad – but few are persistent, which is encouraging. The FordPro app helps fleets stay on top of maintenance, and the E-Transit has unlimited mileage service intervals so you don’t need to keep taking it back to the service centre.

FAQs

How long does the Ford E-Transit Custom’s battery last?

Electric vehicle batteries haven’t really undergone the degradation that naysayers predicted they would, and even EVs that are a good few years old still have plenty of range left in them. For peace of mind, Ford warrants the E-Transit Custom’s battery separately to the rest of the van – for a period of eight years or 100,000 miles.

How many miles can the Ford E-Transit Custom do on a charge?

Ford claims a maximum of 209 miles, according to the standardised WLTP cycle. This is a coverall figure, and the brand hasn’t released more specific ones for different variants just yet. As with all EVs, it’s unlikely you’ll see that figure regularly in daily use – especially if you’re making use of the Transit’s ample payload or especially its towing capacity. Once we’ve had the E-Transit Custom for an extended test in the UK we’ll be able to report back with more accuracy.

How long does the Ford E-Transit Custom take to charge?

Topping up on a regular 7.4kW home charger, a full (0-100%) charge should take around ten hours. On a more powerful 11kW three-phase supply of the kind installed at some businesses, that drops to less than seven hours. For public charging, a 10-80% top-up should take just under 40 minutes from a suitably powerful charger.