While a double-cab pick-up is for many the perfect work and leisure vehicle, there is a lot to be said for a double-cab-in-van design. You get that second row of seats to carry colleagues during the week and family at the weekend, plus a secure load compartment. Double-cab vans also come in a range of sizes and, in the case of Ford’s Transit Custom, can be ordered in a wide range of trim levels.
The mid-weight Ford double-cab can be had in L1 short wheelbase or L2 long wheelbase layouts, though both are only offered with the low roof option. The shorter van has a 3.5m3 load volume behind the fixed bulkhead, while the longer model offers 4.3m3. Gross weights are 2.8-3.2 tonnes for the L1 van and 3.0-3.2 tonnes for the L2. This Sport L1 model runs with a max weight of 3.2 tonnes, giving it an all-important payload of 1,054kg, allowing the reclaiming of VAT.
As with a pick-up, trim levels can be pretty extensive, with the double-cab-in-van offered on both Limited and Sport vans. More recently, Ford has made the second row of seats an option on the Trail and Active ranges too. However, while the Trail model is offered with a choice of 130hp or 170hp engines and the Active comes with the 170hp motor as standard, the Sport van tops them all with a 185hp version of Ford’s EcoBlue 2.0-litre diesel.
You can pair that engine with a six-speed manual or a six-speed auto and we’ve taken the auto for the full range-topping experience. It’s a pretty impressive combination, offering effortless pace on any type of road, as the engine delivers a hefty 415Nm of torque to back up that headline power figure. That’s not at the expense of fuel economy though, with Ford claiming up to 38.2mpg and 195g/km of CO2.
Of course, the Sport van wants for very little in the cab, with standard equipment including powered and heated door mirrors, electric windows, auto lights and wipers, SYNC 3 infotainment with an 8” touchscreen DAB radio and smartphone compatibility. You also get heated driver and front passenger seating, partial leather trim, a host of ADAS system, including Roll Stability Control, Lane Keeping Alert and a rear-view camera with Trailer Hitch Assist.
Ford’s press office had added a few options to the van, including Blind Spot Information and Cross Traffic Alert, Bi-Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, a tailgate rear door and that Chrome Blue colour scheme. Not that this level of luxury comes cheap of course. The 185hp Sport double-cab with the automatic transmission starts at £36,430 before Ford added a further £3,000 of options. That said, you’d be looking at a similar price tag for a top trim double-cab pick-up.
We’ll be reporting back on life with the five-seater Ford over the coming months. It’s certainly ticking a lot of boxes for now.