BRITAIN'S best-loved van has recently got even tougher with the introduction of heavy duty off-road and leisure oriented versions of the Ford Transit.
The hugely popular Transit range has been boosted with Trail and Active models in both the regular van and the smaller Custom line ups.
The Trail model Transit I sampled came with an imposing front grille with bold Ford badging.
Trail models have been designed to operate in tougher working environments than their regular counterparts and come with a mechanical limited-slip differential on front-wheel-drive variants while you can now also order the Transit with full all-wheel-drive.
Active versions of the Transit Custom and Tourneo Custom are being aimed at those with multi-activity lifestyles and have SUV-inspired features such as extra body cladding as well as the option of the £550 limited-slip differential for additional traction.
My Agate Black Trail had a specification to rival many family cars and came with 16-inch black 10 spoke alloy wheels to match its paintwork.
It also featured the large FORD grille also in black, full leather seating as standard aswell as air conditioning, power-foldable door mirrors, auto lighting and Ford's Quickclear heated windscreen and much more.
All TransitTrail and Transit Custom Trail models are available in panel van and double-cab- body styles,and are powered by Ford's 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engine with a choice of 130ps, 170ps and 185ps power outputs.
Transit Custom Trail models can also be had with Ford's 2.0-litre EcoBlue 48-volt mild-hybrid powertrains in 130ps, 170ps and 185ps form. The technology recovers energy during deceleration, stores it in a 48-volt battery pack, and uses the energy to increase fuel efficiency.
Active models have 17-inch alloys, a mesh grille, roof rails and extra protection on the wheel arches, body sides, rear bumper and mirror caps as well as special badging on the front wings and at the rear.
On the inside, all Active models have part-leather seat trim and the addition of a blue instrument panel accent for TourneoCustomActive.
The TourneoCustomActive's interior can be reconfigured as required to give passengers more room or increase luggage space, increased further in the long wheelbase variant.
The seats can also be reversed to create a conference seating layout or removed entirely for more luggage space. The seat mounting points can then be used to mount in-vehicle racks to carry bicycles more safely, says Ford.
Priced at £36,471 inclusive of VAT my Trail was powered by the 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel combined with a six-speed manual box and had seating for driver and two passengers with a side door for easy loading and two doors at the rear.
It produced 130PS and had plenty of grunt with emissions of 188g/km and a claimed combined 39.2 mpg although that will vary depending on loads carried and the driver.
A blind spot information and cross traffic alert system can be added for £192 and the special paintwork added £780.
For an additional £912 you can add Ice Pack 25 which gives you intelligent adaptive cruise control, a digital radio, an 8-inch colour touchscreen, navigation, lane keeping aid, emergency assistance, Ford Pass Connect, speed sign recognition and AndroidAuto/ApplePlay.
The Transit may not be built in the UK any longer but it is still the most popular van in the country by some distance and the new variants will only add to its appeal.