We’ve been driving a Ford Transit Custom (a Double-Cab-in-Van Titanium 310 LWB 2.2 TDCI to give it its full name) for the last week, and we’ve come to the conclusion that driving a van is awesome. Here’s why.
1. Be polite and little old ladies love you
Everyone expects a van driver to be aggressive. Act like a Christian motorist, letting other people out of junctions and generally being polite, and you’ll get many more surprised looks and waves of thanks than you would in, say, a Focus. Try the same in an Audi or BMW for a similar effect.
2. It makes you friends
Everyone loves a man with a van – mainly because everyone needs something big shifting at one point or another. Combine our Transit’s six seats with 4.0 cubic metres of loadspace, and it’s ideal for carrying bros and their, erm, luggage.
3. It makes you think about your driving
Think you’re a better than average driver? So does 80 per cent of the population. Everyone should be made to get behind the wheel of a van to really put their driving to the test. Anticipation is crucial, as is understanding the size of your vehicle. You can get away with a lot less in a van, and driving one makes you feel a proper hero – arguably even more so than driving a modern supercar.
4. Driving slowly can be fun
In a world where everyone wants to get to their destination as fast as possible, driving a big, slow van can be rewarding. OK, who are we kidding? With 155hp our Tranny wasn’t the slowest van in the world, and making progress in something lacking in the aerodynamics department is massively rewarding.
5. You’re allowed to park badly
Most vans just won’t fit in a normal supermarket parking space. Chuck it across a number of spaces, and people have no right to complain. And, if you do manage to squeeze it in a tight space (actually surprisingly easy with our van’s front and rear parking sensors and rear view camera), people will bow down to your superior parking skills. Or at least, they ought to.
6. There’s van driver camaraderie
Van drivers help other van drivers. Trying to make a tight turn? Other van drivers will hold traffic back to give you a load of space. Just watch out – other vans will expect you to return the favour, and will pull out in front of you just because van driver.
7. You can see over hedges
Sitting higher than other traffic has its advantages. Not only do you have a better view of the road ahead, you can have a nose at what’s over hedges. It’s amazing what you miss when you’re in a car.
8. Knock yourself out at Starbucks
How many cup holders does your car have? One or two at most, probably, limiting you when you visit your fast food/drink retailer of choice. But our Transit had loads – a pair of two-litre bottle holders, as well as standard cup holders.
9. You can get carried away on the weekly shop
It goes without saying that vans are great for lugging loads. Most of us don’t need that much space most of the time. But what about when you go to Tesco and get tempted by a 48-inch plasma screen? No need to wait for delivery – just chuck it in the Transit.
10. They’re not that uneconomical
There’s a lot of pressure on cars to be increasingly good on fuel these days. You might not expect vans to be the same, but of course, fuel is expensive and a few extra MPG might make big difference to a van driver trying to earn a living. The good news is, we were surprised at how economical our van was. After a week, and around 400 miles driving in a not-particularly-eco-friendly fashion (see point 4) we averaged 32.5mpg. We guestimate 40mpg must be doable with some careful motorway driving. In a van. That’s impressive.