Ford reveal details of Transit ‘torture test’

Ford have released details of the rigorous challenges their all-new Transit vans underwent during testing.

The company say that in just six months the vans underwent accelerated aging, with the same amount of wear, tear and stress that most customers would put them through in a decade in order to test durability.

Van of the Year

The new Transit, which was named Van of the Year in May, was put through more than 30 punishing vehicle tests, including a trailer tow test with a fully loaded trailer and the equivalent of driving 11 million kilometres, or 275 round-the-world trips.

Further challenges as part of the ‘torture testing’ included being driven at top speed non-stop for two months straight, as well as pounding over rough gravel roads and through salt and mud baths in an attempt to simulate the harshest environments.

The prototypes also were tested for corrosion resistance in high-humidity chambers for 12 weeks and put through non-stop figures-of-eight for one month.

David Gregory, Transit chief programme engineer for Ford of Europe said: “I don’t think many customers would believe what this vehicle has been through. We inflict the worst possible treatment that a van could endure, and we’re only satisfied when our new vehicle comes through with flying colours, just as the Transit has done.”

Engineers also drove the Transit more than 5,000 times over an extreme course of potholes and bumps and conducted a strength test by driving it at nearly 40mph straight into a 14 centimetre kerb.

In addition to trials at Ford’s test facilities in Belgium and Michigan, the vehicles also had to endure the 40 degree Celsius heat of Arizona, Dubai and South Africa, the bitter minus 40 degree Celsius cold in Finland and Canada, and challenging journeys through Europe, the Middle East, Russia, Turkey and the US.

Over 300,000 miles of real-world use

On top of that, more than 300,000 miles of tough real-world use was put in by the new vans prior to their launch with high-mileage Transit customers, while Ford subjected the Transit’s 2.2-litre Duratorq diesel engine to 46 days of continuous high-load driving as part of tens of thousands of hours of engine testing.

Ford says it identified and delivered more than 100 significant improvements to the Transit as a direct result of its testing regime, which included the redesign of the side rail on jumbo van models, and strengthening of the rear cross-member on chassis cabs.

Programme engineer Gregory said: “Pushing the van to the limit and beyond 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 new Ford Transit is available with a range of 2.2-litre diesel engines with a combined fuel economy of 44mpg, while CO2 emissions are recorded at just 169g/km. Pricing for the all-new 2014 Transit range currently starts from £21,744.