It’s about time. It’s about time. The Ford Transit Custom has been available as a PHEV camper from third-party manufacturers like Dethleffs and Wellhouse Leisure for several years, but not from Ford itself. That changes with the next-generation Transit Custom Nugget camper van that has debuted at the 2023 Dusseldorf Caravan Salon. The new camper van gets a few key updates around its smart multi-zone floor plan and will come with several powertrain options, including the PHEV that gives the Transit Custom van itself up to 35 miles (56 km) of electric range per charge. That’s a little more than its soon-to-be competitor over at Volkswagen, and unlike the concept Multivan California, the new Nugget goes up for order this month.
While the Volkswagen California gets all the attention from camper van enthusiasts young and old, we don’t think it’s unfair to say that Ford has concocted the more innovative camper van family with the Nugget series. The standard Nugget has a multi-zone layout with a dedicated kitchen in the back, paired with settee/spare room up front, and topped off by secluded master bedroom on the roof. This cleverly utilizes the space available for Ford’s midsize vehicle.
Ford points out that the layout’s three zones allow campers to easily move about the cabin and cook their breakfast without having to crush each other. This is true even when the beds are in place. In the rear of the vehicle, the chef can be as autonomous as he wants. This is unlike a California style kitchen that’s right in the center and near the bed.
Not surprisingly, Ford and conversion partner Westfalia carry this same floor plan over to the new Nugget, based on the second-generation Transit Custom, while updating some everyday equipment. The L-shaped kitchen in the back of the van has a new drawer-style refrigerator that allows for easy indoor/outdoor accessibility. It also provides enough height to stand bottles. The switch to a combination dual-burner stove/sink unit allots 20% more free countertop space for food prep and general storage. Standard for the sink and outdoor rain shower is hot water. A rear tailgate canopy can be ordered to make outdoor showers completely private.
Up above the kitchen, a newly added flip-up rear panel for the 125 x 205-cm (49 x 81-in) roof bed lifts to give cooks more headroom. Pop-out handles and soft-close latches protect little fingers while reducing noise.
Moving forward in the van, the three-seat rear bench now comes track-mounted to the floor for improved adjustability. Three seats can be heated as an option, which will provide a bit more comfort on cold weather road trips. As in the past, the front seats swivel 180 degrees to join the rear bench around the folding dining table. The bench folds down into a 120 x 190-cm (47 x 77-in) double bed at night.
Other camping improvements and modifications include a 7-in smart RV touchscreen with control and readouts of onboard functions, an accompanying app for remote control, a standard 5G modem, wireless device charging, a self-folding pop-top fabric designed for easier roof closure, and new integrated storage for the standard outdoor table and chair set. The rooftop solar array shown in photos is optional, designed to keep the dual 95-Ah leisure batteries topped off.
In addition to its sharper LED gaze, the base Transit Custom brings improvements like a SYNC 4 info-nav system with 13-in touchscreen and voice control and beefed-up ADAS with intelligent adaptive cruise control, Park Pilot and 360-degree camera.
The new Transit Custom Nugget is on show at the 2023 Caravan Salon now, and the Titanium trim with 168-hp 2.0-liter EcoBlue engine and eight-speed automatic transmission front-wheel drive will be available to order this month for prices starting at EUR76,517 (approx. US$83,175) including VAT. Deliveries will begin in (Northern Hemisphere) spring 2024.
The PHEV version will follow within a year, bringing its 229-hp combination of 2. 5-liter engine, electric drive and 11. 8-kWh battery pack. In the non-camper Transit Custom van, that battery offers up to 35 miles (56 km) of all-electric range before the powertrain has to dip into the gas reserves. Ford has not mentioned any plans to add an all-electric Nugget based on the 236-mile (380-km) E-Transit Custom, but it does say it will add an AWD option in the future.
The larger Nugget Plus camper van mentioned earlier has not yet been updated for the gen-2 Transit Custom platform. Expect that model to follow in the future.
The 1-minute promotional video is more like a dramatic commercial, but it does show some of the latest features.
All-New Ford Transit Custom Nugget Camper Van
Source: Ford Europe