All you need to know about the Ford Transit

The Ford Transit van is a fierce contender for the most popular van make and model in the UK. In
Parkers’ top 10 best-selling vans and pickups of this year and last, the Ford Transit and its variants actually feature three times on the list.

In 2018 and 2019 so far, the Ford Transit Custom tops the list of best-selling vans and pickups, while the Ford Transit is in second place. The Ford Transit Connect was the sixth bestseller last year, but is currently seventh for 2019.
So, just what is it that makes the Ford Transit such a popular choice among van owners? And what is the history behind it?
Before we answer these questions and more, if you’re thinking of purchasing a Ford Transit (or any other make or model van), you’ll want to make sure it’s protected with van insurance.

The Insurance Factory has years of experience helping business owners to safeguard their valuable assets with competitively-priced van insurance.

What is the history of the Ford Transit?

While the first generation Ford Transit was launched in 1965, Evans Halshaw writes that its history actually dates back to the 1950s when Ford Cologne, in Germany, launched the Taunus Transit.

It was fitted with a 1.3-litre engine (later 1.5-litre) and was extremely similar to the Volkswagen Transporter. It was this model that set the Ford Transit wheels in motion for huge success.

First generation (1965 – 1968)

Part of the appeal of the first-gen Transit was the space, which was unmatched by Ford’s rivals. It was styled similar to American vans, which has a huge appeal to UK drivers, and was available in a panel van, crew van, pick-up and minibus.
The first generation of Ford Transit van as a fire truckThe design remained relatively unchanged until 1978, when the Transit was given a new nose and interior upgrade. There were also improvements under the bonnet with the introduction of the Pinto engine from the Cortina. A speedier Transit was also manufactured with an Essex V6 engine.

Second generation (1986 – 2000)

Many refinements were made to the second-generation Transits, even though the engines stayed the same.

Accessibility and visibility improved across the models, while handling and quality of ride on the short wheelbase models got a boost thanks to an independent front suspension system.
Ford introduced a wealth of features that showcased the technology of the time and improved driver experience and safety. These included things like electric windows and mirrors, central locking, air-conditioning and airbags.

The space and comfort offered by the Transit led it to becoming a popular practical van for private van, as well as a popular commercial van.


Third generation (2000 – 2013)

For the first time, Ford manufactured Transits in a front or rear-wheel drive option which allowed drivers to choose between more space and a lower loading height, or enhanced towing and load carrying functions.
The third gen included the launch of the Sport Van, which came complete with big alloys and racing stripes.

This, coupled with the new TDCi engines improving economy and emissions, meant the Transit became extremely popular among young working professionals.

Fourth generation (2013 – present)

The current and fourth generation saw Ford launch a double cab Transit, able to carry up to seven people while offering up to 10.6 cubic metres of load space.

This generation has been split in two with the introduction of the Custom, which sits between the regular Ford Transit and smaller Transit Connect.
The latest Ford Transit model under a patterned roof

Features of the new Ford Transit

Ford calls its Transit van the ‘backbone of Britain’. Its latest model is more connected, powerful and efficient than ever before, with prices starting from just over £27,260 (exc. VAT). Just some of its main features and benefits include:
  • 15.1 cubic metres of load space (which can accommodate cargo over three metres long).
  • Carrying capacity of up to 2.1 tonnes.
  • Wide side load doors, optimised opening height and rear access to ensure easy loading.
  • Blind Spot Information System and Cross Traffic Alert, which notifies drivers of other road users when switching lanes or reversing.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control for less tiring, yet more economical motorway driving.
  • New 2.0-litre Ford EcoBlue diesel engines, which are more powerful and efficient than ever before.
  • FordPassConnect modem, which provides a host of benefits such as 4G Wi-Fi for up to ten devices and real-time traffic updates.
  • Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection to improve road user safety.
The Transit is one of the most customisable vans on the market – choose from one, two or more passengers as well as three body lengths and two roof heights.

How much should you pay for a second-hand Transit?

If you can’t afford a brand-new Ford Transit, it won’t be hard to find a second-hand model, seeing as it’s such a popular van.

What’s important is that you do your research, make sure you’re buying from a legitimate person or dealer, and know all the right things to check (and questions to ask) to make sure you end up with a decent Transit for your business.
It’s impossible to say how much a used Transit will set you back, because it depends on things like age, mileage, condition, etc. However, you can get a good idea of typical prices by using a tool like Honest John’s buyer’s price guide, as well as by researching popular selling sites like Vans Direct and AutoTrader.

Are Ford Transits good fleet vans?

Ford Transits and Transit Connects are great vans for fleets, thanks to their reliability and efficiency (the latest models in particular). For more information, take a look at our list of the best vans to buy as a fleet.

Van insurance from the Insurance Factory

Whether you decide to join the ‘Transit club’ or opt for another make and model van for your business, you can rely on the Insurance Factory to try and find you great cover that reflects your unique needs, for a price that’s right. Get a quote today!