COLOGNE, Germany – Ford Motor Company has launched its biggest ever minibus for Europe. The all-new Ford Transit Minibus offers up to 18-seats with improved fuel economy, comfort and safety features, and is on sale now.
The expanded Transit Minibus line-up, which also includes 15-seat and 12-seat models, offers fuel efficiency improvements of up to 6 per cent against the previous model. Ford’s latest 2.2-litre diesel engine delivers 7.4 l/100 km (38.2 mpg) and 196 g/km CO2 on all models. This ultra-low-emission Stage VI HDT engine is available in a choice of 125 PS and 155 PS ratings and is fitted with Auto-Start-Stop as standard.
Passenger comfort is significantly improved, with a fully-trimmed rear cabin and reclining seats with armrests available for the first time, along with an independent air conditioning system for the rear compartment offering individual vents for every seating position. Rear seating is a completely new, more comfortable design thanks to an improved seat foam construction, with height-adjustable padded head restraints on all seats.
The Transit Minibus also breaks new ground with advanced safety and driver assistance technologies that are unique to Ford including Lane Keeping Alert with Driver Alert, and voice-controlled Ford SYNC with Emergency Assistance. Passive safety features include up to six airbags in the front cabin and three-point inertia-reel seatbelts on all seats.
The all-new Transit also provides the latest Electronic Stability Control technology, and is the first commercial vehicle in Europe to offer Curve Control. This unique Ford-developed technology is designed to slow the vehicle in a safe and stable fashion when it enters a bend like a motorway exit ramp too quickly – along with other features including Roll Stability Control.
“The all-new Transit Minibus really is the ultimate people mover, and the new 18-seat layout makes sure no-one is left behind,” said David Gregory, Transit chief program engineer, Ford of Europe. “With added luxury features and flexible space these new Transit Minibuses provide a more comfortable solution for everything from city shuttles to tourist buses.”
The Transit Minibus, which will be built at Ford’s Transit manufacturing plant in Kocaeli, Turkey, has been engineered and tested alongside the other Transit models for superior quality and performance. The 18-seat model offers five seat rows in the rear cabin; the four-seat back row enables users to remove the central dual seat to accommodate a wheelchair or luggage.
Further innovations include an extra-wide sliding side door with a standard electrically-operated side step for easier entry and exit. The improved access offered by the side door means that a rear emergency exit is no longer required, enabling Ford engineers to specify the new back row layout with one extra seat. This change also now allows customers to specify a tow hook to carry additional luggage in a trailer.
The all-new Transit Minibus cabin is fully trimmed in premium, hard-wearing materials, with car-like levels of quality. It features side windows that are 200 mm higher than on the previous model for better visibility and a lighter, more pleasant passenger environment. Individual coat hooks are provided for each passenger, with cup holders available on every seat row.
The Transit Minibus offers a significantly more comfortable driving position, with increased space and a steering column fully-adjustable for rake and reach. Ford engineers also have tuned the vehicle to deliver enhanced driving dynamics, with more confident, car-like handling and steering along with reduced noise levels.
Drivers also can call upon a range of advanced technology features from Ford’s latest vehicle range including the Ford SYNC voice-activated, in-car connectivity system, Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Alert, Rear View Camera, and a 230V power socket to charge laptops or other electrical equipment without the need for special adaptors.
The Transit Minibus benefits from Ford’s ultra-stringent global commercial vehicle testing and durability standards, with Transit vehicles covering the equivalent of 11 million kilometres in arduous testing in Europe and North America – the same as driving around the globe 275 times – with more than 500,000 kilometres of that total covered by actual Transit customers.
Ford also has ensured that the requirement to provide the AdBlue additive for the HDT6 engine is made as simple as possible: a convenient filler point is provided next to the Easy Fuel system so that the additive can easily be added when re-fuelling.
“The all-new Transit makes a great base for a Minibus, with lower running costs and a host of new comfort and safety features. Customers love the reassurance and quality of a factory-built product, and the all-new Transit provides the most capable Minibus yet,” Gregory added.
The Transit is the flagship of the completely redesigned and expanded Ford Transit range, which is the result of an unprecedented investment in new products which has seen Ford replace its entire commercial vehicle line-up in a 24-month period.