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It’s a smart thing, and I love all the plastic strips – saves a fortune if you bash it

I RECENTLY got a chance to drive the Citroen Relay e-HDI 130 L1H1.

It’s the latest fuel-saving van from Citroen, the same as Colin has reviewed here.

I thought I’d jot down some of my thoughts, partly while I’m sitting in it – just like a little office inside, complete with fold-down desk in the back of the middle seat, a pop-up A4 document clip on top of the dash, plus various other cubby holes and an overhead parcel shelf.

There is also a double 12-volt take-off in the dash, which means you can plug two things in at once.

Eco? You can hardly step out of your front door nowadays without bumping into a new van with “eco” stamped on it.

Useful things to know about the Citroen Relay

  • Load length/width/height: 2670/1870/1422mm
  • GVW: 3000kg
  • Payload: 1140kg
  • Load volume: 8 cubic metres
  • Power/torque: 130bhp/236lb-ft
  • Economy: 39.2mpg (combined cycle)
  • Emissions: 189g/km
  • Price: £19,860

All the van manufacturers are doing their best to make sure that you squeeze every last drop out of each litre of fuel by tweaking and twiddling their engines for max fuel economy.

So this Citroen Relay is the latest eco-kid on the block. It promises a tad under 40mpg on the combined fuel economy cycle by adding a stop-start system as standard.

The Relay comes off the same Italian production line as the Peugeot Boxer and Fiat Ducato, although Fiat’s models have different engines.

Mine is the smallest in the Relay range, and comes with ABS brakes, driver’s airbag, a ladder frame bulkhead behind the driver’s seat, electric windows and an MP3 compatible CD player.

It also had the Enterprise pack which adds air-conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, rear parking sensors and a full steel bulkhead to the standard specification. All up it costs just under 20 grand, without VAT of course.

Electronic Stability Program (ESP), which helps prevent sideways skids, is sadly still on the options list, and if you’ll let me digress for a minute, this just shouldn’t be.

It’s standard on the rivals Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Volkswagen Crafter, Iveco Daily and Ford Transit – and Fiat has just added it as standard on Ducato too.

It is reckoned to have saved thousands of lives over the years and is going to be a legal requirement on all new vans after October 2014, so we reckon it’s about time Citroen showed its safety colours and followed Fiat’s example – after all it is the same vehicle, engines apart.

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