Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Sorry, there are no cars that match your search

Ford Transit Custom 2021 review: DCIV - GVM test


Daily driver score

3.8/5

Tradies score

3.8/5

The Ford Transit Custom DCiV is a commercial van, purpose-built for long work days and for clocking up lots of kilometres with a load onboard.

But, as well as its load space, the DCiV (double cab in van) has six seats inside, so it has cargo- and passenger-carrying capability.

So, is it worth your attention as a work truck and possibly even as an alternative to a dual-cab ute? Read on.

Explore the Transit Custom Sport in the Ford Tradie Workshop

Discover new features of the Transit Custom Sport designed for a Tradie

 

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

Our test vehicle is a Ford Transit Custom 340L DCiV Van; ‘340’ stands for 3400kg GVM (gross vehicle mass); and ‘L’ stands for long wheelbase.

Price as tested is $51,190 and that includes an optional $600 satellite navigation, but excludes on-road costs.

It has six seats, a 2.0-litre four-cylinder EcoBlue turbo-diesel engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel drive.

Standard features include 16-inch steel wheels. Standard features include 16-inch steel wheels.

Standard features include 16-inch steel wheels, an 8.0-inch touch-screen, Ford’s Sync 3 connectivity system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, FordPass app connectivity, front and rear parking sensors, Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with Pedestrian Detection, Adaptive Cruise Control, Traffic Sign Recognition, reverse camera, driver and front passenger airbags, front side seat and front side curtain airbags, and more.

Our tester has the Frozen White exterior paint.

 

Is there anything interesting about its design?

In terms of exterior dimensions, the Double Cab-in-Van body style is 5340mm long (with a 3300mm-long wheelbase). It is 2272mm wide (wth the wing mirrors extended), almost 2139mm high (with the fold-down roof rack up) and it has a listed kerb weight of 2251kg.

  • The DCiV's exterior design is appealing in a non-threatening way. The DCiV's exterior design is appealing in a non-threatening way.
  • The DCiV's exterior design is appealing in a non-threatening way. The DCiV's exterior design is appealing in a non-threatening way.
  • The DCiV's exterior design is appealing in a non-threatening way. The DCiV's exterior design is appealing in a non-threatening way.
  • The DCiV's exterior design is appealing in a non-threatening way. The DCiV's exterior design is appealing in a non-threatening way.
  • The DCiV's exterior design is appealing in a non-threatening way. The DCiV's exterior design is appealing in a non-threatening way.
  • The DCiV's exterior design is appealing in a non-threatening way. The DCiV's exterior design is appealing in a non-threatening way.
  • The DCiV's exterior design is appealing in a non-threatening way. The DCiV's exterior design is appealing in a non-threatening way.
  • The DCiV's exterior design is appealing in a non-threatening way. The DCiV's exterior design is appealing in a non-threatening way.
  • The DCiV's exterior design is appealing in a non-threatening way. The DCiV's exterior design is appealing in a non-threatening way.
  • The DCiV's exterior design is appealing in a non-threatening way. The DCiV's exterior design is appealing in a non-threatening way.

Unless you’re really into vans then I don’t know if you’d describe the DCiV’s design as ‘interesting’, but its exterior is appealing in a non-threatening way and its interior is certainly a very practical and work-suited layout – more about that further down this page.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?

This van has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine – producing 125kW at 3500rpm and 390Nm at 1500rpm-2000rpm – and a six-speed automatic transmission.

This van has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine. This van has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine.

How practical is the space inside?

Upfront, is very much a working truck space, but it is well and truly on the right side of comfortable.

Just imagine hard plastic surfaces everywhere, cloth seats, vinyl floor, and you get the general idea. But that’s spot-on because this is a mobile office, so you want it to be a durable space designed to cope with daily work duties. 

Upfront in the Ford Transit is very much a working truck space. Upfront in the Ford Transit is very much a working truck space.

You get an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Ford’s Sync3 media system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but no sat-nav as standard.

You also get two USB ports, three 230V socket, and a 230V (400W) Inverter, as well as a lot of interior storage space upfront, beyond the normal glove box, with handy spots everywhere – on the dash, in the centre console etc – for devices, logbooks, pens, paper … a space for pretty much anything you might carry with you during a work day.

  • Standard features an 8.0-inch touch-screen. Standard features an 8.0-inch touch-screen.
  • Standard features an 8.0-inch touch-screen. Standard features an 8.0-inch touch-screen.
  • Standard features an 8.0-inch touch-screen. Standard features an 8.0-inch touch-screen.
  • Standard features an 8.0-inch touch-screen. Standard features an 8.0-inch touch-screen.
  • Standard features an 8.0-inch touch-screen. Standard features an 8.0-inch touch-screen.

All seats are cloth trim but comfy enough and the front seats are manually-adjustable; the driver’s seat is 10-way adjustable.

The rear seats are comfy with ample head, knee and leg room across the row, but the area lacks air vents and speakers.

The rear seats are comfy with ample head, knee and leg room across the row. The rear seats are comfy with ample head, knee and leg room across the row.

Access to the back seats is easy enough through the sliding doors that open wide, allowing for smooth ingress and egress.

The rear load space – separated from the double cabin by a sturdy bulkhead and accessed through the 180°-opening rear twin barn doors (with window) – is 1944mm long (at floor level), 1406mm high (from floor to roof) and 1775mm wide.

Crucially, it measures 1392mm wide between the wheel arches, and the area can handle two Aussie pallets (each measuring 1165mm x 1165mm), according to Ford.

The rear load space is separated from the double cabin by a sturdy bulkhead. The rear load space is separated from the double cabin by a sturdy bulkhead.

Load volume is claimed to be 4 cubic metres.

The rear barn doors lock securely into place when fully opened and the rear loading height (unladen) is listed as 536mm.

There are six tie-down points in the rear and plywood panelling on the interior walls and on the doors, but there is no rubber or vinyl matting, or otherwise grippy protective surface on the floor of the load space. 

The rear barn doors lock securely into place when fully opened. The rear barn doors lock securely into place when fully opened.

There is a halogen light in the cargo area.

In terms of all-round usability, the DCiV is impressive. We loaded three mountain bikes into the load space, as well as a bunch of soft bags and camping gear, and there was still loads of room in there. 

What's it like as a daily driver?

Pretty impressive … for a van.

First up, the steering wheel is tilt-and-reach adjustable so, in conjunction with that 10-way manually adjustable driver’s seat, it’s easy enough to get your driving position right.

Without a load onboard, the Transit Custom does well.

Without a load onboard, the Transit Custom does well. Without a load onboard, the Transit Custom does well.

The engine and six-speed auto makes for a nice quiet-achiever combination in real driving terms. It’s quite punchy and smooth for a smaller capacity donk urging a 2251kg van along and the auto is intuitive without ever being too clever for its own good.

There is nice acceleration off the mark and on the move – shedloads of torque on tap and a reliably-even throttle-response help with that.

Braking is decent, discs all-round, but can be feel a bit spongy at times.

  • Ride quality is overall very smooth and composed. Ride quality is overall very smooth and composed.
  • Ride quality is overall very smooth and composed. Ride quality is overall very smooth and composed.
  • Ride quality is overall very smooth and composed. Ride quality is overall very smooth and composed.
  • Ride quality is overall very smooth and composed. Ride quality is overall very smooth and composed.
  • Ride quality is overall very smooth and composed. Ride quality is overall very smooth and composed.
  • Ride quality is overall very smooth and composed. Ride quality is overall very smooth and composed.
  • Ride quality is overall very smooth and composed. Ride quality is overall very smooth and composed.
  • Ride quality is overall very smooth and composed. Ride quality is overall very smooth and composed.
  • Ride quality is overall very smooth and composed. Ride quality is overall very smooth and composed.

Ride quality is overall very smooth and composed – much of the credit for that may be attributed to the DCiV’s 3300mm-long wheelbase.

Visibility is okay; the wing mirrors (with truck-style wide-view lenses) offer good vision down the sides, but the view back through the small bulkhead window is very much on the wrong side of ordinary. The DCiV needs something like the Peugeot Partner’s surround-view camera which operates while the van is in forward motion, offering views at the rear and down the left-hand side, and depicting them on the rear-view mirror. 

Overall, it is a smooth unladen drive, exhibiting few of the jittery flaws usually associated with vans.

What's it like for tradie use?

Well, for one thing, it’s easy to load and unload. We’d seen that with our weekend warrior load-up (mountain-bikes etc), but it was time for a serious test.

We loaded a one tonne weight onboard, courtesy of our mates at Illawarra’s IWP Training to see how it’d cope on a mixed drive loop of suburban streets, rough coastal bitumen roads, and a small stretch on the highway.

This van’s payload is listed as 1149kg, so even with a 1000kg load onboard, as well as the driver (me) and a bit of gear in the cabin, we were still about 50kg under the DCiV’s GVM (gross vehicle mass) of 3400kg: kerb weight (2251kg) plus payload (1100kg) equals 3351kg < 3400kg.

  • We loaded a one tonne weight onboard. We loaded a one tonne weight onboard.
  • We loaded a one tonne weight onboard. We loaded a one tonne weight onboard.
  • We loaded a one tonne weight onboard. We loaded a one tonne weight onboard.

With the load in, mostly over the rear axle , the rear leaf springs compressed dropped 54mm and the front suspension compressed 14mm.

The good news is that the DCiV copes well with a weighty burden.

Steering remains on point, as does throttle response, with evenly delivered acceleration. There's not a lot of chance for lag there, as long as you remain active with your right foot.

With the load in, mostly over the rear axle , the rear leaf springs compressed dropped 54mm and the front suspension compressed 14mm. With the load in, mostly over the rear axle , the rear leaf springs compressed dropped 54mm and the front suspension compressed 14mm.

Brake-feel remains a little spongy at times, which can be disconcerting under-load, but it won’t be a big issue because you should be driving more conservatively with a load in the back than you would without, anyway.

In terms of ride and handling, the DCiV maintains even more of a composed, settled feel, even over speed bumps and through sections of particularly chopped-up and uneven industrial estate and back-road bitumen.

Overall, it’s a very decent load-carrier.

The DCiV has fold-down roof racks and maximum roof load is listed as 100kg, but I wouldn’t go near that figure and remember whatever you carry up top has to be factored into your payload figure.

This van has claimed towing capacities of 750kg (unbraked) and 1800kg (braked). Avoid towing anything more than a tonne – that way you’ll maximise your onboard payload capacity and stay on the safe side of, well, safety and the law. 

Gross combined mass (GCM) is listed as 4365kg.

How much fuel does it consume?

Fuel consumption is a claimed 7.3L/100km on a combined cycle.

Actual fuel consumption on test was 9.4L/100km and that was after more than 300km of mixed driving, including our loaded loop.

It has an 72-litre fuel tank and a 21-litre AdBlue tank.

 

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

The Transit Custom has a five-star ANCAP safety rating from testing in 2012.  

Safety gear includes Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, front and rear parking sensors, reverse camera, as well as driver and front passenger airbags, and Front side seat and front side curtain airbags.

 

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

Every Ford Transit Custom van has a five-year / unlimited km warranty. Service intervals are set for every 12 months/30,000km.

Fixed price servicing applies to a Private/Retail Customer (with or without an ABN) up to and including a Blue Fleet customer.

Every Ford Transit Custom van has a five-year / unlimited km warranty. Every Ford Transit Custom van has a five-year / unlimited km warranty.

Note: the prices that follow are for variants up to 2020.5MY. According to Ford, there is a “Maximum Service” price of $349 for the first 4 years/120,000 km, then 5 years/150,000km is $465, 6 years/180,000km is $710, 7 years/210,000km is $465, 8 years/240,000km is $710, 9 years/270,000km is $465, and 10 years/300,000km is $710.

Additional maintenance items may be required above these fixed costs.

The commercial van market is bloody competitive – that’s an understatement – and any points of difference in a vehicle can be absolutely crucial to its success, or otherwise.

The Ford Transit Custom DCiV is a good looking van that, more importantly, is nice to drive, easy to spend long work days in and it also offers increased versatility on the job because it can move people and products or equipment with ease.

It’s comfortable, functional, and composed with or without a load, so it makes a strong case as a small business or fleet purchase.

Also, this sort of double-cab or crew style of van could even be considered a very decent alternative to a dual-cab ute as a family recreational vehicle. Especially if going off-road is not really on your agenda.

$53,490

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Daily driver score

3.8/5

Tradies score

3.8/5
Price Guide

$53,490

Based on new car retail price

Have you considered?
Check out more Commercials