February 18, 2020

Courier flies the flag for sporty compacts

Dan Gilkes reports on Ford’s Transit Courier Sport.

Ford, perhaps more than any other manufacturer, has really mastered the art of the sporty looking van. Those iconic stripes down the bonnet, a set of tasty alloys and a mild bodykit seems to be enough to get owner drivers and smaller fleets to increase their purchasing budgets. That said, sporty vans are probably even more in demand on the used market, keeping residuals high.

The latest addition to the line-up is a revised version of the Transit Courier Sport, Ford’s smallest commercial. At least it was until the reappearance last year of the FiestaVan, also available in sporty trim.

The latest Courier is offered with a choice of three Euro 6.2 engines, including a 1.0-litre petrol at 100bhp and two versions of the latest 1.5-litre Duratorq diesel, producing 75bhp or 100bhp, up from 90bhp on the previous model. All three can be had with or without Auto-Start-Stop, but only the petrol and the higher-powered diesel can be paired with the Sport specification.

All engines now come with a slick-shifting six-speed manual gearbox, which is a big improvement on the previous generation’s five-speed transmission, especially if you are covering longer distances. Pairing the 100bhp diesel with the six-speed box results in a claimed 62.8mpg, with a CO2 rating of 117g/km.

There are four trim levels on offer, starting with the Leader model. This gets a fixed bulkhead, a DAB radio with Bluetooth and a MyFord Dock for mobile phone connectivity. Trend trim adds the essential side loading door, front fog lights, power heated door mirrors, power windows and Ford’s SYNC3 infotainment system with a 4” screen.

Move up to Limited and you add 15” alloys, body coloured bumpers and door handles, manual air conditioning, rear parking sensors, cruise control and a 6” colour screen for the SYNC3 system. Or you can opt for the Courier Sport that we have here. Along with the stripes on the bonnet and body coloured side mouldings, you get 16” black alloys, a leather trimmed steering wheel and gear lever gaiter, plus partial leather seat trim.

Courier boasts comfortable seating, with an arm rest for the driver, and there is plenty of storage space in the cab, including a central stowage area and a drawer beneath the driver’s seat.

The business end of the van offers a 2.3m3 load volume, more than double the carrying capacity of the FiestaVan. A payload of more than 600kg should be enough for most users too. If you want more load length, there is the option of a folding mesh bulkhead, with a fold and dive passenger seat for longer objects, but this is not available on the Sport model.

It is perhaps unfair to compare the Courier with the FiestaVan, but these days the compact Ford actually has very few head-on competitors, with Peugeot and Citroën dropping Bipper and Nemo, though Fiat will still sell you a Fiorino. Corsavan has also disappeared from Vauxhall’s price lists, as there is no longer a three-door Corsa on which to base a van, leaving the two smaller Fords with the market almost to themselves.

Which one you opt for will no doubt depend on what you need to carry. But, if you are after a sporty looking compact van, the Ford dealer is likely to be your first port of call.