WATCH: Bentley's new 467kW Continental GT

The new third-gen Bentley Continental GT boasts 467kW, 900Nm and a top speed of 333km/h.

Meet VW's SA-bound baby SUV, the T-Cross

A disguised prototype of the T-Cross, VW's new baby crossover SUV, is being tested on public roads.

Six-month workout for 10-year Transits

2014-06-19 11:49

NEXT FORD TRANSIT: Six months of testing - some of it in South Africa - has gone into making the 2014 Ford Transit bulletproof for 10 years' service. It will launch in late August, only 16 months after it arrived. image: FORD

   • Transit in intensive testing for 10-year life
   • Prototypes 'cover' 11-million km
   • Salt and mud and non-stop driving
   • More than 100 product improvements

LOMMEL, Belgium, June 18, 2014 – Ford has ensured that the all-new Transit will survive 10 years of the toughest treatment by using an especially punishing accelerated ageing process as part of its development.

The Transits are expected in South Africa towards the end of August 2014 - where in fact they did some of their hot-climate testing. The previous (and original) launch in South Africa was in Soweto, Gauteng, in April 2013.

Durability tests included the equivalent of driving 11-million km – 275 times around Earth – at proving grounds and in extreme conditions around the globe in temperatures ranging from +40C to -40C and David Gregory, Transit's chief programme engineer at Ford Europe, explained:

“I don’t think many customers would believe what this vehicle has been through. We inflicted the worst-possible treatment and were only satisfied when it came through with flying colours – as it did.”


The first production units will be sold in Europe as well as North America and units were tested at Ford facilities in Lommel, Belgium and Romeo, Michigan.

At Lommel van, chassis-cab and minibus versions under went a list of more than 30 tests, among them towing and general durability at maximum vehicle and trailer loads at top speed non-stop for two months, pounding over rough gravel roads and through salt and mud-baths. The prototypes also were tested for corrosion resistance in high-humidity chambers for 12 weeks and put through non-stop figure-eight manoeuvres for a month.

Engineers have driven Transits more than 5000 times over an extreme course of potholes and bumps and conducted a strength test by driving them at 60km/h into a 14cm-high kerb.

Prototypes went for testing in the Austrian Alps, Death Valley, Europe, North America, Africa and Asia. Vehicles faced the 40C heat of Arizona, Dubai and South Africa, the -40C cold of Finland and Canada, and challenging journeys through Europe, the Middle East, Russia, Turkey and the US.


Before launch the new model covered more than 480 000km of tough real-world use with heavy-use Transit customers. In the test labs the Transit’s 2.2 Duratorq diesel engine was subjected to 46 days of continuous high-load urban driving on specialised rigs as part of tens of thousands of hours of testing. Component test rigs were used to simulate real-world punishment, replicating 10 years of working life in just 30 days.

Ford says it has made "more than 100 significant improvements'"to the Transit as a direct result of its testing regime, including a redesign of the side rail on jumbo van models and strengthening of the rear cross-member on chassis cabs. Gregory added:

“Pushing the van to the limit helps us to deliver a stronger, more robust product. This translates directly into every-day reliability for the customer, however tough their working environment. The all-new two-tonne Transit is the flagship of the completely redesigned and expanded Ford Transit range and is now on sale in the UK and across Europe alongside the Transit Custom, Transit Connect and Transit Courier models.

Read more on:    ford

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.