When the previous Courier was launched back in 2014 many were mystified as to just where it fitted in, especially when compared to other small vans. Bigger than a Fiat Fiorino, smaller than the ubiquitous Citroen Berlingo and with a low payload there didn’t seem to be any direct competition, and this wasn’t necessarily a good thing. Sales figures were never huge as many fleets found more practical (and possibly cost-effective) solutions to their needs. Enter stage left, the all-new Courier. Now pitched directly into the heart of the small van sector perhaps the only question that remains is just where it leaves the Transit Connect…

On The Outside

Quirky, neat, ugly, a bit Postman Pat? These are just a few comments I heard whilst I had the test van. With that flat front, it’s certainly ‘bold’ but perhaps Marmite in the minds of most. Beauty is subjective but I think the Courier looks great. From the side it looks a little like a ‘mini’ Connect and the rear perspective is neat and tidy with those asymmetric doors.

The Business End

Things are nice and simple with just a single body length. You’ll get a load 1802mm long in the back of the van (a decent 181mm more than in the old model Courier) which has resulted in the load volume gaining a 25% increase to 2.9 cubic metres. The loadspace is 1253mm high, 1535mm wide and, critically for some you’ll now get 1220mm between the wheelarches allowing the van to accept two Europallets. There’s also the option of a load through bulkhead which allows for lengths of up to 2600mm to be carried. Twin rear doors are standard, as is a side loading door on all but the Leader trim level.

Payloads vary according to specification but reckon on between 615kg to 677kg. If that’s not enough an optional upgraded GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass) ups this to 849kgs – useful but well short of the 1000kg offered in competitor vehicles.

Trim levels

There are four levels of trim, mirroring others in the Ford range. Leader, aimed more at fleets is relatively sparsely equipped although the latest SYNC4 multimedia screen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration is present. Cruise control is included as is a reverse parking aid and some decent safety and driver aid tech. There’s no side loading door and it’s important to note that it’s not on the option list either, although confusingly the test van had one fitted.

Courier Trend gets that left side load door and some decent goodies such as air conditioning and a heated windscreen whilst Limited spec includes climate control and some exterior bling including alloy wheels. Courier Active is based on Trend spec and includes black alloy wheels, front and rear skid plates, wheel arch cladding and a unique front grille.

Power Units

Just traditional ICE engines in the Courier for now at least, a choice of 100PS or 125PS EcoBoost petrol engines or a 100PS diesel unit. A 7-speed automatic gearbox is available coupled to the more powerful petrol engine. 2025 is likely to see the launch of an all-electric Courier, which Ford no doubt will be pinning big hopes on.

The Cab

It’s a small van so the cab is never going to be particularly spacious but, myself and my passenger never felt in any way cramped. In some respects, this may be because it feels more like a van than others in the sector such as the Renault Kangoo which has more of a car-like vibe to the interior.

The dash is dominated by the ‘Digiboard’ (aka digital instrument panel) which segues across to the 8” SYNC4 multimedia screen. For a small van Ford has been very creative in providing plenty of storage areas, from door bins, a centre console with plenty of small storage areas, a decent glovebox, a large area on the top of the dash and an overhead shelf.

On The Road

The test van was fitted with the diesel engine which performed more than adequately, albeit with the van being unladen. From a driving perspective, I found myself comparing it to the Renault Kangoo which I have previously said has set a new bar in road manners. On a positive note, the Courier, built on a car based platform handled like a little roller skate, going around corners as if it was on rails the same way the original Mini did (for those of us who are old enough to remember). If pushed, the Courier would let go very gently with no drama and full control would be easily regained. This exemplary handling is a quality the Kangoo has but which somehow offers in a slightly more refined way. Courier is great fun to drive but, it definitely feels like a van rather than something more akin to an SUV. The ride is good with most lumps and bumps being absorbed.

There’s perhaps a little more work to do in reducing the level of road (tyre) noise entering the cab. Other sources are subdued but most road surfaces provide an uncomfortable level of sound into the vehicle.

The driving position is quite ‘upright’, again making the driver feel that they are definitely in a commercial vehicle but, this has the benefit of offering excellent visibility. The dash layout works well, but, I found the SYNC4 unit glitchy and especially confusing to operate when wirelessly connected to my Android phone, so much so that I ended up disconnecting it. This is the second van I’ve had with this unit and, I really don’t get on with it. Caveat? Maybe I should read the manual but this wouldn’t cure the odd crash that the unit suffered from. The unit has heating and ventilation controls included, a pet peeve of mine as I think physical controls are easier and safer to use when driving.


Reading the above paragraphs back, I’ve perhaps painted a more negative picture which contrasts with my overall impression. I loved my week with the Courier. It’s a cheeky little van which looks good, if not a little quirky, is great fun to drive, easy to park, can take a decent load and promises to be economical to run, achieving over 50mpg in official tests and also whilst in my possession. But, it doesn’t hide the fact that it’s a van and some of the competition offer products which feel a little ‘softer’ and closer to a car-derived van. But, for the small business (or fleets) needing a working tool the Transit Courier will do all asked of it, and will probably leave the driver with a smile on his or her face at the end of the journey. My initial question remains though – from a load carrying perspective there’s very little difference between the Courier and the L1 Connect and although at the time of writing pricing has yet to be announced for the very latest Connect, I’d expect a significant premium over Courier, one I would find very hard to justify paying.

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