The Mercedes Citan comes in four styles, covers both light and small van sectors and offers more load space width than some rivals
Still in its launch phase in the UK, the Citan is based on the Renault Kangoo, launched in 2008. The Citan is the first small van that Mercedes has produced. It's available in three legnths; compact, long and extra long, although the Compact variant won't arrive until late summer. A crew-cab version, called the Dualiner, provides up to five seats and a flexible load space, using a 60:40 split-folding rear seat. There's also a fully glazed five-seat Traveliner passenger-carrying model. The Compact model is comparable in size to the Citroen Nemo, Fiat Fiorino and Peugeot Bipper. There's no Renault Kangoo Compact, the model was withdrawn from the UK in late 2011. Mercedes says it has re-engineered several aspects of the van, including the wiring, and it feels more refined than the Kangoo. The Citan is powered by Renault’s long-running 1,461cc diesel engine from the Kangoo, with power outputs of 75bhp and 90bhp. A 114bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine and 110bhp variant of the diesel engine are due to appear towards the end of 2013.
MPG and Running Costs
Renault’s 1.5-litre diesel engine has been powering car and van models for some time and has established a reputation for offering good fuel economy, even if it's not up to the fuel-efficiency standards of newer diesel engines. In the Citan, Mercedes quotes a range of combined consumption figures between 60.1mpg and 65.7mpg, with CO2 emissions of 112 to 126g/km, which are among the lowest in its class. These figures don't include the smallest Compact models. The best figures suggest marginally better fuel consumption than the Citroen Nemo, Fiat Fiorino and Peugeot Bipper, while for the BlueEFFICIENCY long model, the figures are competitive with models such as the Citroen Berlingo Airdream EGS6 and Peugeot Partner EGC, but better than the Fiat Doblo Cargo, Nissan NV200 (powered by the same diesel engine), or VW Caddy. Service intervals are ahead of most rivals, coming up every 24,000 miles, while insurance groups may be helped by the standard ESC with a range of 5e to 9e.
Load Space and Practicality
The range of Citan models give the van wide appeal. The smallest Compact is comparable in size to the Citroen Nemo, Fiat Fiorino and Peugeot Bipper. The Citan offers 2.4 cubic metres to the 2.5 cubic metres of the Nemo, Fiorino and Bipper, and like these models, the Citan offers a folding passenger seat to extend the load floor length on the passenger side. Even so, the Citan has a shorter load area, measuring 1,369mm long compared to the Nemo/Fiorino/Bipper’s 1,523mm. The Citan claws this back where width is concerned, because wheel-arch intrusion is minimal in all Citan models, giving 1,219mm between the wheel arches, meaning a Europallet could just be accommodated width ways. Even though the Citroen Nemo, Fiat Fiorino and Peugeot Bipper offer a little more load area width, at 1,473mm compared with the Citan’s 1,460mm, the wheel arches take up more space in the Compact than in the larger models and the width between them has a greater effect on load area width than in the longer vans. The larger Citan 1,753mm-long load compartment is shorter than in the VW Caddy, Fiat Doblo Cargo, Vauxhall Combo, Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Partner, while the extra long’s 2,137mm load length is longer than in the Nissan NV200, Citroen Berlingo, Peugeot Partner, Fiat Doblo Cargo L2 and Vauxhall Combo L2. The Citan Compact offers 490kg of gross payload, down on the 610/660kg of the Nemo. Fiorino and Bipper, while the Citan long and extra long, with a 735kg to 810kg gross payload range, can't match the 1,000kg of the Fiat Doblo Cargo and Vauxhall Combo. The Ford Transit Connect, Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Partner also offer higher payloads. Standard equipment for panel vans includes a full-height steel bulkhead to separate the load area and cab, or a folding bulkhead is an option when the folding passenger seat is fitted, giving the driver protection from the load on two sides when the seat is folded. Asymmetric rear doors are standard, with the option of a tailgate. Four, six or eight load lashing rings in the floor are standard, depending on the model, and there's an option for more lashing rings or rails fitted to the sidewalls, with moveable rings. Load options include a roof flap at the rear and a variety of roof racks, plus towing equipment.
Reliability and Safety
The Citan is too new to have established a reliability record, but the Kangoo seems to have a reasonable reliability reputation and the 1.5-litre diesel engine appears to give good service. The Citan is the only van in its class to be fitted with electronic stability control (ESC) as standard, giving the van a safety edge over its rivals. ESC will brake individual wheels to help keep the driver in control in slippery conditions and the system in the Citan will compensate for a load, intervening earlier with a heavy load aboard than when lightly laden. Like most rivals, a driver’s airbag is standard, while a passenger airbag and side airbags are on the options list.
Driving and Performance
The Citan 114bhp petrol engine is not available until the latter part of 2013, same as the most-powerful 110bhp 111CDI diesel engine. Despite its relatively small size, the diesel engine performs well, although the 75bhp 108CDI variant is better suited to short-distance, lighter-weight work, while the 90bhp 109 CDI engine is a good performance/economy compromise. Both the 112 and 111CDI engines are equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, while the other diesel engines come with a five-speed manual gearbox. The 112 is equipped with Mercedes BlueEFFICIENCY package as standard, which includes engine stop-start and alternator management to charge the battery when the engine is not under load. BlueEFFICIENCY is an option with all diesel engines.
Cab and Interior
The interior may be based on the Kangoo, but the dashboard is different, even if the basic layout with dash-mounted gear change is similar. Mercedes has even re-designed the column stalk layout to include its trademark single stalk operating everything from indicators to wipers - a needless complication, to be honest. On the plus side, the Citan is more refined than the Kangoo on which it is based, suggesting that Mercedes has spent some time in dealing with noise. The van also feels more taut, with less of the soft-wallowing suspension than with the Kangoo. Mercedes has done a good job with the available material.
Load area dimensions
(Width between wheel arches 1,219mm)
- Power: 75bhp – 114bhp
- Weight (GVW): 1,785kg – 2,200kg
- Payload: 490kg – 810kg
- Loading height (approx, unladen): 568mm