Midsize vans have disappeared from America, but they still reign in Europe, and Ford’s launching a fresh one with overnight stay capability and available plug-in hybrid power. The new Ford Transit Custom Nugget is a well-sized camper ideal for traversing Europe. Custom Nugget. Transit Custom. Ford Transit. No matter which way you slice it, that name is awesome. Anyway, let’s talk about the van, shall we?
Here’s a fun surprise: The camper conversion on the latest Ford Transit Custom was developed in partnership with Westfalia. That’s right, the Transit Custom Nugget picks up where the Westies of old left off. Oh, but it gets more uncanny than that. The second-generation European-market Transit Custom is going to eventually get fresh sheetmetal and become the new Volkswagen Transporter. That shouldn’t be surprising since the next-generation Transit Courier is a Volkswagen underneath, but hey, the badge on the front says Ford. Welcome to the platform-sharing era.
For first-class thrones, we’re looking at rotating front seats, which sound wicked for camping but also terrifying if you don’t latch them in all the way before setting off. Paired with a nifty heated bench seat out back, this reasonably compact camper seats five, perfect for the average family of 4.2 people. As for sleeping accommodations, the proper pop-top features a commodious-looking double bed, and the rear bench also folds into a double bed. Yes, this little camper can sleep four, five in a pinch. How awesome is that?
Speaking of accommodations, hot water is now standard, and if you’re wondering why hot water wasn’t standard before, Europeans have these wonderful things called kettles, so some of them just don’t need a hot tap. However, speaking of hot water, the press release for the Transit Custom Nugget comes with this hilarious line: “A rear-mounted hot/cold shower outlet is now standard, with optional tailgate privacy tent.” You can get clean, but not copping an indecent exposure charge is optional.
In the rear of the van, you’ll find a drawer-style fridge, a cooktop, and plenty of cabinetry. Perfect for your cooking needs, although barely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this van’s tech. This RV comes with wireless charging and a standard 5G modem. You know, stuff you need for family life on the road in the modern, iPad-equipped age. You can even spec a solar roof so you’re less likely to seriously run down the camper’s dedicated battery pack, and owners can monitor status through a seven-inch monitor in the rear of the passenger compartment or through an app. It’s a smart home on wheels, sort-of.
Engines in vans typically aren’t worth writing home about, but the Transit Custom Nugget has a particularly intriguing option — a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an 11.8 kWh net capacity battery pack. It’s not dissimilar to what you’d find in a Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid, and its peak output of 228 horsepower should be more than enough to get this van up to motorway speeds. On the other end of the spectrum, all-wheel-drive is on offer to aid extrication from muddy festival grounds.
So, the Ford Transit Custom Nugget has an amazing name, looks incredibly practical, and offers enough powertrain choice to make everyone happy. Sounds like a wonderful camper, right? Well, if you live in North America, you can’t have one. It’s a Europe-only affair. While there’s definitely some white space in the American camper segment this could slide right into, homologating a vehicle like this for U.S. sale would be unbelievably expensive. Beyond the usual safety and emissions testing, you have to remember that North America is a home electrical outlier of sorts. That complicates things a little. Still, perhaps you’ll find some rental firm willing to supply you with one for your next European vacation. One can dream, right?
(Photo credits: Ford)
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