The transmission once seen alongside a 5-litre V8 is now working with a 168 bhp diesel.

Ford has shoehorned the 10-speed automatic gearbox from a Mustang into the more humble Transit van. According to the American manufacturer, the new transmission is designed to minimise fuel costs for owners by allowing engines to operate in the most efficient way.

By providing 10 ratios, Ford claims the gearbox can help the engine operate at speeds closer to peak efficiency, while the adaptive shift scheduling system is designed to adapt the point at which gear shifts are made to suit the conditions. There’s clever technology in the clutch, too, which is supposed to make gear shifts faster and smoother, improving vehicle performance.

Offered on rear-wheel-drive Transit vans with Ford’s 168 bhp 2-litre EcoBlue HDT diesel engine, the gearbox originally developed for the Ranger, F-150 and Mustang has been tweaked to suit the Transit’s characteristics. The new transmission was then subjected to “intensive” performance and durability testing to ensure suitability for heavy-duty use in commercial vehicles before it went on sale.

Because the gearbox allows a towing weight of up to 2,800 kg, Ford says the new models will be “ideal” for construction businesses, as well as utility companies or events firms who frequently tow equipment. And the company says the “simple operation” of the automatic transmission will appeal to heavier conversions such as emergency response vehicles, mini-coaches, and larger motorhomes because drivers of such vehicles can be “less experienced” with such large vehicles and operating in stop-start traffic.

Ford Transit 10-speed automatic gearbox

Ford also claims the efficiency and durability of the gearbox will make it a “viable” choice for fleet operators who are assessing total cost of ownership, vehicle downtime and vehicle capability. However, the gearbox will also be available alongside the six-speed automatic designed for “lighter-duty” front-wheel-drive Transits.

“Transit drivers will enjoy the smooth power delivery of our class-leading 10-speed automatic gearbox as much as operators will benefit from its durability and efficiency,” said Hans Schep, general manager for commercial vehicles at Ford of Europe. “Easier to drive and offering excellent towing ability, the automatic option for Transit heavy-duty users enhances the tough, capable character and excellent driving characteristics that have earned businesses’ respect.”

The addition of the new gearbox follows the Transit’s 2019 upgrades, which included a very minor facelift, plus an improved dashboard and upgraded cabin materials. The company also added extra safety equipment, providing an autonomous emergency braking system that could detect impending collisions with pedestrians and apply the brakes automatically.

Gallery: Ford Transit 10-speed automatic