Mercedes Citan first drive – small van completes Mercedes line-up
Verdict: Good performer, well built, well equipped, and well able to fill the small van gap in the Mercedes business van range.
Mercedes-Benz Citan 109 CDI Long
What is it?
THE new Citan completes the Mercedes-Benz van line-up, sitting alongside the larger Mercedes Vito and Mercedes Sprinter to fill the German manufacturer’s vacancy for a small, dedicated delivery van for the urban environment.
Although it’s based on the Renault Kangoo, Mercedes has done impressive work to make it worthy of the three-pointed star on the front.
Three lengths – Compact (3.94m), Long (4.32m) and Extra-Long (4.71m) – will be available. The extra lengths are in the wheelbase and not extensions of bodies, which helps maintain the driving dynamics.
The Mercedes Citan will also be available in three model variants, with three direct-injection turbo-diesel engines putting out 75hp to 110hp, plus a supercharged 114hp petrol engine.
And Dualiner and Traveliner variants are both equipped with a second row of seats allowing a crew of five to be carried.
Our test vehicle was fitted with the 90hp engine. It has bags of torque delivered smoothly across the rev range, propelling the Citan rapidly up to speed and pulling strongly at even at low revs in third gear.
The gearbox is pleasingly precise, but this model – revving at around 3000rpm at 70mph – is crying out for a sixth gear.
The 109CDI Extra Long Panel Van, equipped with the more powerful 110hp engine, will have a six-speed box. This is due in around three months, as is the Compact model.
On the road, the Citan impresses. The steering is accurate and sensitive, the ride is outstanding and the handling is taut. According to Mercedes, the suspension, damping and stabiliser bars have all been carefully attuned.
At normal road speeds, the cab seemed quiet enough and I also found the seating very comfortable.
On the downside, the interior is slightly disappointing with swathes of plastic and surprisingly little in the way of stowage for paperwork or personal effects, although the Citan does have is a full-width overhead shelf.