The harsh winters of the past couple of years have brought many businesses to a standstill, forcing them to leave fleets of vans idle until the cold snap has run its course.
In the current economic climate, being brought to a standstill is not only frustrating but, for some firms, a threat to survival.
When being forced off the road is not an option – when it is imperative that both heavily laden van and crew reach an isolated site despite the icebound or just plain muddy conditions – that’s when a 4x4 comes into its own.
The Ford Transit All-Wheel- Drive, winner of the 2011 4x4 Van of the Year prize, is not designed for serious off-road adventures – it doesn’t have the ground clearance as its ride height is the same as the standard model. But what it can do is negotiate the hazardous roads that force two-wheel drive vehicles to be left at the depot, or worse still stuck in a ditch.
Powering the AWD Transit is a 2.4-litre Duratorq TDCi four-cylinder, 16-valve common rail diesel unit producing 140hp at 3500rpm. This Transit is no slouch on the motorway. Top torque of 375Nm kicks in at 2000rpm ensuring rapid acceleration, while the six-speed manual transmission is, like all Transits extremely slick. Ample feedback through the steering means the van handles well too.