Citroen Relay 30 L1H1 e-HDi 130 six-speed Stop & Start manual
What is it?
The Citroen Relay has enjoyed long-lasting popularity, making it a familiar sight on UK roads. As a joint project with Peugeot and Fiat, the Relay is built at Fiat’s plant in Sevel, Italy.
Citroen introduced fuel-saving Stop & Start technology for the Relay 30 L1H1 and Relay 35 L3H2 vans earlier this year giving Citroen three stop/start-equipped models – the other two of being the Nemo and Berlingo.
In the Relay, the technology cuts emissions to189g/km and combined cycle fuel consumption rises to 32.5mpg.
Our test van was a L1H1 model, which has 8cu m loadspace and a payload of 1140kg. It’s a good medium-sized hauler with a carrying capacity that will suit a wide range of businesses.
The cab has room for three and, in common with its Fiat and Peugeot cousins, the gear lever is dash mounted so the centre-seat passenger has plenty of leg-room.
There’s bags of storage for documents and personal items, with a lidded glovebox, lockable central glovebox, under-passenger-seat storage draw and overhead shelves.
The centre passenger seat also works as a drop-down desk and there’s a dash-mounted pop-up clipboard.
In general the cab’s comfortable although I found the seats rather firm. I prefer a supportive ride, but they might not suit everyone.
The driver’s seat is height adjustable and has lumbar support and an armrest so, coupled with the height/rake adjustable steering wheel, finding a comfortable driving position is a piece of cake.
It’s not the quietest of cabs but it’s well equipped, with an RDS stereo radio/MP3-compatible CD player and steering wheel-mounted audio controls plus Trafficmaster Smart Nav satellite navigation unit with live traffic information.
Sat nav and Trackstar stolen vehicle tracking as standard puts the Relay one up on its Fiat and Peugeot rivals. And a multi-function trip computer forms part of the vehicle’s electronic instrument display.
There are other nice touches, too, such as auto illumination of cabin lights via a ceiling-mounted button plus a reading light. The Relay has 12V power sockets in both the cab and in the load compartment.
On the road
As for the driving experience, the Relay measures up well. The 2.2 diesel is responsive and nicely torquey. If you need to get up to speed quickly, then hang on to the lower gear ratios and keep your foot down – the Relay will pull like a train. It’s useful pulling power when there’s a full load on board, too.
The dash-mounted gear lever is convenient although changes seemed distinctively notchier than I noticed with the similar six-speed unit in the Peugeot Boxer tested previously by Business Vans. But in general the controls are easy to use and the sat nav unit is particularly well positioned.
The exception is the handbrake, which in common with its Ducato and Boxer cousins, is mounted to the right of the driver’s seat and is a long reach down to pull on and off.
The all-round coil-sprung independent suspension gives a ride that’s surprisingly firm but comfortable. This firmness helps give the Relay good handling, and the steering is also nicely precise.
ABS and EBA are a standard fitting, while ESP with traction control and a Hill Start Assist function are options.
But this version of the Relay is all about the Stop & Start function, which works very well, with shut off and restart smooth and slick in operation. Around town, it comes into play so often and so smoothly that you soon forget about it entirely.
If your businesses involves a lot of built-up area driving, then the Stop & Start Relay will be a worthwhile money-saver.
As a load lugger, the Relay L1H1 has good internal dimensions, with a load length of 2670mm, a maximum load width of 1870mm and a between-the-wheel arches dimension of 1422mm – wide enough for an 8ft x 4ft sheet to be loaded flat on the floor. The standard roof Relay panel van has an internal load compartment height of 1662mm. Load deck height is 506mm.
Access is pretty much standard for a van of this type with twin rear doors and a single nearside sliding side door. An additional offside door is available as an option. The well-lit cargo area is equipped with six lashing eyes.
The Relay’s service intervals are set at 20,000 miles, and Citroen offers a two-year unlimited mileage and three-year/100,000-mile warranty.
- Responsive, torquey engine makes the Relay quite speedy. It also handles well.
- Stop & Start operation is smooth and slick
- Well thought-out cab with good storage and equipment levels
- Trafficmaster satellite navigation and Trackstar stolen vehicle tracking system fitted as standard
- Although ABS and EBA are standard, ESP with traction control and a Hill Start Assist function are extra-cost options.
- Firm seating might not suit everyone after a long day in the cab
- Handbrake positioned on right of driver’s seat can be awkward
Business Vans Verdict
The popularity of the Relay isn’t hard to understand.
It’s well built and does what’s expected of it with aplomb. It’s certainly a pleasure to drive, with a well thought out cab, good ride and handling, and responsive engine.
It has much in common with its Fiat and Peugeot cousins – load capacity, performance and pricing all being in the same zone. But the Relay scores with sat nav and stolen vehicle tracking as standard.
Plus, the slick Stop & Start function should save your business money.
What you need to know
|On the road price ex-VAT||£19,868.00|
|Load width (max)||1870mm|
|Load area||8cu m|
|Towing capacity braked/unbraked||2500/750kg|
|Engine||2.2-litre 4-cyl diesel|