2024 Ford E-Transit Custom MS-RT review

Posted on June 25, 2024Comments Off on 2024 Ford E-Transit Custom MS-RT review

The Ford Transit Custom Sport is already a pretty wild-looking van, with its racing stripes, body kit and darkened alloy wheels – but the Ford E-Transit Custom MS-RT almost makes it look tame.

Yes, Ford has introduced yet another racy-looking van, a niche other brands don’t even bother with.

The MS-RT treatment is available across all Transit Custom powertrains in the UK and Europe, but only the MS-RT version of the electric E-Transit Custom gets more power. That’s the one we recently drove in Germany.

Sadly, the MS-RT isn’t coming to Australia, even though Ford Australia says the Sport has been a “significant contributor” to Transit Custom sales.

MORE: 2025 Ford E-Transit Custom review

You may be wondering: “Just what does MS-RT mean? Manufacturer’s suggested retail… thrice?”

MS-RT is an offshoot of Ford’s rally partner M-Sport, and is based in the UK. It specialises in “sport-inspired commercial vehicles”, and has worked over Rangers and Transit Customs.

You may have seen the Ranger MS-RT, a lowered “street truck” version of the turbo-diesel V6 Ranger. Sadly, it too is for UK and European audiences only.

Regardless of what’s powering it, the MS-RT looks like a Focus RS pumped up with more air.

There’s a new front bumper with an integrated spoiler; side skirts; and a unique rear bumper with an integrated diffuser.

It rides on 19-inch anthracite-finish alloy wheels wrapped in 235/45 R19 Goodyear Eagle Sport tyres. Behind these wheels sit brake calipers finished in MS-RT’s signature blue.

It’s hard to dress up a box, but somehow the team at MS-RT have managed to give this cargo hauler a convincing makeover.

The crowning touch is the large rear spoiler, which on vans with barn doors is split in two. If you want, you can even add some decals – you know, if you find the MS-RT too subtle.

You can specify the MS-RT in the usual Transit Custom colours: Frozen White, Grey Matter, Magnetic, Agate Black, Artisan Red, and Digital Aqua. But that would be bloody boring, wouldn’t it?

If you’re buying this outlandish van, you need to properly commit and buy one of the following lurid shades:

  • MS-RT Blue
  • Yellow Green
  • Cadmium Yellow
  • TNT Tango Orange
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • ENW Purple

Once they roll off the production line in Turkey, Transit Customs are sent to a new facility at Ford Dagenham Estate in the UK to undergo final assembly and become MS-RTs.

You can not only get the MS-RT treatment with every Transit Custom powertrain, you can also get it on panel van and double-cab configurations and in both lengths.

What is the Ford E-Transit Custom MS-RT like on the inside?

Ford has given the Transit Custom’s interior a makeover, too.

There are sportier-looking seats, with significantly more bolstering for the driver’s seat. It’s comfortable and it hugs you in place, and there are plush armrests.

All seats are finished in leatherette and suede trim with blue contrast stitching. This blue stitching can also be found on the chunky, squared-off, leatherette-wrapped steering wheel which feels terrific.

Otherwise, the interior is the same as all new Transit Customs – and that’s not a bad thing.

We have one gripe: the column shifter feels far too much like an indicator stalk, which is a recipe for the occasional awkward shift into neutral while driving.

However, the use of a column shifter has allowed Ford designers to flatten the centre stack. That makes it easier to slide across the front.

The new Transit Custom family also has a completely flat floor up front, regardless of powertrain.

Ford has moved the passenger-side airbag to the roof, freeing up space for another glove compartment. There’s storage atop the dashboard, deep bottle holders in the doors, and multiple cupholders.

The company has ditched physical climate controls in favour of touchscreen-based adjustment, however it has fortunately left these on-screen keys permanently anchored.

That means regardless of what menu you’re in, you can easily adjust functions like the cabin temperature.

The expansive 13-inch infotainment touchscreen also features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and is helpfully angled towards the driver. It sits next to a 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster, which is clear and easy to read.

Ford’s Pro Power Onboard, which allows up to 2.3kW of power to be delivered from the battery to power appliances and tools, is also available. The outlet for this is on the D-pillar.

We drove a L1H1 van, code for the shortest length and the lowest roof height. Load volume with the bulkhead is 5.8m3; you don’t lose any load space by opting for the electric van over its diesel or plug-in hybrid models.

Payload is 968kg, while the largest payload figure in the E-Transit Custom range is 1011kg. Braked towing capacity remains the same as the other E-Transit Customs, however, at 2300kg.

Dimensions E-Transit Custom L1H1 E-Transit Custom L2H1
Maximum load height 1433mm 1433mm
Load length (to bulkhead) 2602mm (van)
1604mm (double cab)
3002mm (van)
2004mm (double cab)
Maximum load width 1777mm (1392mm between arches) 1777mm (1392mm between arches)
Load volume 5.8m3 (van)
3.3m3 (double cab)
6.8m3 (van)
4.3m3 (double cab)
Side door aperture width 1030mm 1030mm
Side door aperture height 1301mm 1301mm
Side door step height 393mm-435mm 393mm-435mm
Rear door aperture width 1400mm 1400mm
Rear door aperture height 1316mm 1316mm

What’s under the bonnet?

While the MS-RT treatment can be had with both diesel and plug-in hybrid power, we tested the E-Transit Custom MS-RT.

This is the only powertrain that gets more grunt over non-MS-RT models, with an extra 50kW on tap. That makes this the most powerful Transit Custom model ever.

You lose a bit of range with the MS-RT. Ford claims 275km of WLTP range with the E-Transit Custom MS-RT L1H1, but a Sport with the same body and the 160kW electric motor has 308km of range.

Technical Specifications Ford E-Transit Custom MS-RT
Drivetrain Single-motor rear-wheel drive
Power 210kW
Torque 415Nm
Battery 65kWh nickel manganese cobalt
Range (WLTP) 275km
DC charging rate 125kW
AC charging rate 11kW
DC charge time (10-80 per cent) Approx. 39 minutes
AC charge time (0-100 per cent) Approx. 6.7 hours (11kW)
Payload 968kg
Braked towing capacity 2300kg
Gross vehicle mass (GVM) 3225kg

How does the Ford E-Transit Custom MS-RT drive?

It might look wilder, but the MS-RT doesn’t drive appreciably different from the regular E-Transit Custom. Ford hasn’t detailed any mechanical changes apart from the extra power and a 50mm increase to track width.

We only had a brief drive of the sportier electric van, with just under 30km of suburban driving with a bit of motorway thrown in.

Driving it back to back with a 160kW E-Transit Custom, we could feel the extra power of the MS-RT but it’s hardly transformative. After all, the 160kW E-Transit Custom feels plenty powerful already, particularly off the line.

Torque is also unchanged from all other E-Transit Custom models, at 415Nm.

Even in Sport mode, all 210kW of the MS-RT’s electric motor is delivered smoothly. All E-Transit Customs for now are rear-wheel drive, unlike their diesel and plug-in hybrid counterparts which are offered with front- and all-wheel drive, and feature a single electric motor at the rear axle.

We’re glad Ford went down this route, as it means there’s no annoying front wheelspin to deal with, something that likely would have been the case had Ford employed a front-mounted electric motor.

The MS-RT feels nice and stable at highway speeds, and isn’t fazed by crosswinds. The steering is light, making manoeuvring through narrow alleyways and tight parking lots easy, and the wheel itself is a tactile delight.

Still, while the steering is car-like and the electric motor powerful, this still feels like a van to drive. A nice van, yes, but not some quasi-Focus RS-type super van as the styling would suggest.

As we noted in our E-Transit Custom review, the ride is a touch firm and lumpy at times even on smoother German pavement, although it stops short of being uncomfortable. We’re keen to see how it feels in more extensive testing on our generally worse roads here in Australia.

Ford developed independent rear suspension for the E-Transit Custom, and ended up rolling it out across the entire second-generation Transit Custom range, so it feels nice and tied down at the rear.

It’s worth noting Ford loaded each cargo van at the Transit Custom launch event with a pallet weighing roughly half the vehicle’s payload. That means we were hauling around roughly 500kg of ballast.

The electric motor is quiet, making for a much more pleasant soundtrack than the clattery diesel.

The van gets a bit noisy at higher speeds due to the wind whipping around the large mirrors, and exhibits the typical boominess you get with vans.

There’s a one-pedal drive mode, activated via the touchscreen, that can bring the vehicle to a complete stop.

There’s no lane-centring, but the lane-keep assist will smoothly intervene to keep you within your lane, even on winding roads.

The traffic sign recognition also works well, and there’s intelligent speed limit assist which will automatically adjust the vehicle’s speed when you have adaptive cruise control on and the posted limit changes.

We saw average energy consumption of 23kWh/100km, more than the 20kWh/100km figure we recorded across a similar drive loop in a 160kW E-Transit Custom. However, we were driving the MS-RT in Sport mode.

What do you get?

Standard equipment on MS-RT models includes:

  • 12-inch instrument cluster featuring 7.0-inch screen
  • 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • 5G modem
  • Heated front sports seats
  • 6-way power driver’s seat
  • Leatherette and suede upholstery with blue contrast stitching
  • Heated sports steering wheel
    • Blue 12 o’clock marker
    • Blue contrast stitching
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Digital rear-view mirror
  • Keyless entry and start
  • Automatic LED headlights
  • Automatic high-beam
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • 19-inch alloy wheels
  • 235/45 R19 Goodyear Eagle Sport tyres

Our tester also had optional satellite navigation and a powered side load door.

Is the Ford E-Transit Custom MS-RT safe?

The E-Transit Custom hasn’t been crash-tested by ANCAP or Euro NCAP, although the related diesel version received a Platinum rating from Euro NCAP in testing of its active safety technology.

Standard safety equipment on the MS-RT includes:

  • Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
  • Lane keep assist
  • Reversing camera
  • Front, rear parking sensors
  • Traffic sign recognition

It’s also available with:

  • Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
  • AEB with intersection assist, cyclist detection
  • Reverse AEB
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert

CarExpert’s Take on the Ford E-Transit Custom MS-RT

We bemoan Ford Australia’s inability to bring any number of awesome overseas products here, including the Maverick, Bronco, updated Puma and Escape, F-150 Lightning and hybrid… [deep breath]… petrol Explorer, electric Explorer… well, you get the picture.

While the E-Transit Custom MS-RT is a charming vehicle, we’re not all that sad to hear it’s not coming here because it’s such a niche product.

In ute-mad Australia, we can’t imagine there are many buyers for a be-spoilered, body-kitted mid-sized van.

The extra power in the electric MS-RT is nice, but it’s not as though the regular E-Transit Custom was left wanting for grunt. And the tradeoff with this added performance is reduced range.

Whether you find the MS-RT to be a cool-looking bit of kit or the automotive equivalent of your dorky uncle dressing up as Lil Nas X, however, you can’t argue with this: this racy-looking Ford helps make the automotive landscape and the rather dull van market just that little bit more interesting.

Click the images for the full gallery

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