Ford has achieved a landmark double victory in the Arctic Van Test – one of the most gruelling tests of vehicle performance on the planet.
The all-new Ford Transit and the all-new Ford Transit Connect finished first in their respective classes after competing in the punishing five-day ordeal that subjects vehicles and drivers to extreme challenges in ice, cold and snow, in the frozen north of Finland – where temperatures can drop as low as -50 C.
From slaloming across a frozen airfield, to tackling a torturous 700 kilometre route of icy, rutted roads, the Ford Transit vans won for their overall performance across categories that included fuel efficiency, load carrying, and handling.
“Every one of our new Ford Transits is tested in the world’s toughest climates and driving conditions long before launch, so they are prepared for just this kind of challenge,” said Paul Randle, vehicle line director, global commercial vehicles, Ford of Europe. “Our customers depend on their Transits to get the job done, and we have made sure they are ready for work, whatever the weather.”
The all-new Ford Transit was rated top or joint-top in nine out of 13 categories against rival vehicles from Mercedes-Benz, Vauxhall and Volkswagen. The smaller all-new Ford Transit Connect was ranked top or joint-top in seven categories, and particularly impressed for its handling and stability in icy conditions, against rivals from Citroen, Renault and Volkswagen.
Ford no longer makes the iconic Ford Transit Van in the UK after shutting its manufacturing base at the Swaythling, Southampton plant in July last year. However, the company said the New Ford Transit was designed and engineered in the UK at Ford’s automotive research and development facility located in Dunton Wayletts, Essex.
By comparison, Ford announced this week that the production of its commercial F-650 and F-750 medium-duty pickups will move from a plant in Escobedo, Mexico, to Avon Lake, Ohio.