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Sporty new MS-RT Ford Transit Custom targets van drivers in a hurry

The range-topping version of latest Ford Transit Custom mid-size panel van has been given a motorsport makeover

The all-new Ford Transit Custom has barely started hitting dealers, but Ford has already revealed a new range-topping variant. As with the previous generation Transit Custom, the company has turned to MS-RT to produce a motorsport-inspired variant that pumps up the visual aggression to 11.

For the uninitiated, MS-RT is an offshoot of the M-Sport rally team that runs Ford Pumas in the World Rally Championship. It has been producing bespoke, race-inspired versions of the Transit line-up for a few years now, with the Transit Custom being the main focus. For the new model, the bumpers are replaced with chunkier items featuring large, square intakes on either side and a prominent splitter beneath. 

There are side skirts that make the Transit Custom look like it sits lower – although there's no reduction in ride height over the standard Transit Custom – while at the back is a roof spoiler and a bumper incorporating a diffuser. Completing the look are a set of rally-style 19-inch alloy wheels that give the Transit Custom a 50mm wider track.

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It's not unheard of for MS-RT customers to specify their vans in wild colours, and this time around there are vivid green and yellow hues, as well as MS-RT Blue.

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There are interior upgrades in the shape of sports seats finished in fake leather and suede trim, with MS-RT logos and blue stitching throughout, while the sports steering wheel features a blue-stitched marker at 12 o'clock to show when the front wheels are pointing straight. The MS-RT Transit Custom comes in three-seat van and five-seat Double Cab-in Van configurations, while twin rear doors and a full tailgate will be available.

Under the skin, the MS-RT Transit Custom will come with the most powerful diesel and petrol plug-in hybrid powertrains, while a new range-topping electric model based on the Ford E-Transit Custom completes the line-up. 

The diesel model features a 2.0-litre EcoBlue unit, with the highest-spec model making 168bhp and connected to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Front or four-wheel drive will be available with this model, while a 148bhp front-wheel drive variant with a six-speed manual gearbox will also be offered. For the PHEV, power from the 2.5-litre EcoBoost petrol-based system is rated at 229bhp, while an 11.8kWh battery offers a range of around 33 miles.

For the electric model, power has been bumped up to 281bhp, making this the most powerful Transit Custom ever sold. Drive goes to the rear wheels, while three drive settings adjust the power output. In Normal mode there's 215bhp on tap, while an Eco setting pegs the powertrain back to 134bhp to help preserve battery life.

Speaking about the arrival of the new MS-RT Transit Custom, Hans Schep, general manager of the Ford Pro commercial vehicle division, said: “We’re delighted to add MS-RT models to our Ford Pro portfolio, offering an exciting, halo option from the dealership for customers who need a commercial vehicle but also want to make a statement about their business. More customers are wanting a work vehicle for the week but something that supports their lifestyle at the weekend. These new MS-RT vehicles are the perfect answer.”

Prices are to be confirmed, but order books are open now, with deliveries expected in the middle of 2024.

Click here for our list of the best medium panel vans...

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Senior test editor

Dean has been part of the Auto Express team for more than 20 years, and has worked across nearly all departments, starting on magazine production, then moving to road tests and reviews. He's our resident van expert, but covers everything from scooters and motorbikes to supercars and consumer products.

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