Mercedes Citan reviewed!

Mercedes Citan reviewed!

It’s all the gears and plenty of ideas with Professional Builder’s latest vehicle test as we seamlessly shift between a seven-speed auto Mercedes Citan and its six-speed manual sibling

If you’re in the business of working in other people’s homes then projecting a professional image to the client is a pre-requisite. A part of that package is the van you drive, and arriving at the job with the three-pointed star of Mercedes-Benz proudly emblazoned at the front of your vehicle is a very good place to start.

Of course, this German manufacturing giant has never been just about looks because there’s always a generous helping of practicality, design finesse and technology to add to the mix and the Citan is a case in point. The result is a product that has seen some very significant remodelling from its first launch in 2012, with improvements across both the Progressive and Premium trim levels. We recently tested a six-speed manual, as well as a seven-speed automatic, and it is the driving experience in the latter which is immediately telling.

Automatic choice

Whilst the auto variants in many commercial vehicles need to have a good long think about shifting up or down before they do the job, the dual clutch system on the Citan – where one clutch controls the odd number gears and another the even – makes for a faster and smoother change. That’s not the only feature that enhances the driver experience either because the handling is very good, even when unladen, with a suspension that is a match for some of the ploughed fields our poor highways and byways have become.

Specifying the right load capacity is, of course, crucial for builders and, in such a diverse industry, the requirements can vary widely depending on the trade. The L1 variant features a 1,806mm load length and a maximum payload capability of 666kg on the Premium. There’s a sliding door measuring 615mm, with the option of doubling up on both the left and right sides, whilst a loading sill height of 59cm and load compartment height opening of 1,059mm will make life just that little bit easier when retrieving or replacing tools and materials.

Open the twin rear doors to their 180º limit and a surprisingly spacious cargo area is before you, which can accommodate two Euro pallets. If you’re after greater grunt from your workhorse then an L2 model is on its way but, at the time of writing, the vital statistics for this vehicle were yet to be announced. 

Both vehicles are powered by 1.5-litre diesel engine, with 95 hp and 260 Nm of torque. It is the latter figure which is more important to builders when carrying heavier loads, or towing, and the Citan is rated to tow up to a maximum of 3,500kg.The ECO start/stop function helps to ease the pain at the pumps with a welcome 54.3mpg 

Safety first

The safety features that Citan customers can enjoy at no additional cost are generous, including Active Brake ASSIST with pedestrian recognition technology; ATTENTION ASSIST, which detects drowsiness in the driver and encourages them to take breaks when tired; and Hill-Start ASSIST to prevent rolling back. There’s also a speed limiter, and an emergency breakdown assistance call button.

Features that are always very welcome when navigating the precarious space between a skip and an obtrusive scaffold pole are a reversing camera and parking sensors, both of which are provided as standard. Blind Spot ASSIST, Active Lane Keeping ASSIST and Speed Limit ASSIST can all be specified as options.

Inside the cab, what is most prominent is an MBUX Multimedia system accessed via a 7in. touchscreen. This is your window to a world of connectivity including DAB radio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. In addition, the Mercedes me service is free for the first three years and takes the digital insights you can glean from your vehicle a step further with access to real time data via your smartphone. This is a very useful tool for van operators with software updates, fuel levels, mileage, and more, all visible remotely. One omission does seem to be a built-in sat nav, which isn’t available even at the highest spec.  

Regardless of trim all Citan models benefit from a high level of interior comfort and convenience, including a multi-function and adjustable steering wheel. Opt for the Premium variant, however, and body-coloured bumpers, chrome trim, gloss black dashboard finish, 16in. alloy wheels and LED headlights with High Beam Assist and front foglamps will all be yours.

As with all Mercedes-Benz vans, the new Citan comes with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty and round-the-clock roadside assistance, a service which is free for three years, and renewed every 12 months after that. Called MobiloVan, it covers breakdowns, accidents and even some situations where it’s nobody’s fault except your good self, including running out of diesel or losing your keys.

Overall, this is a very solid performer in the compact van segment with a number of features to recommend it, not least the driver-friendly seven-speed auto option, and a cab that would not disgrace a decently priced car. It’s true that the payload is not as generous as on some of its rivals in the same weight class but, if it you make the calculationsand it adds up on what you need to carry on a daily basisthen factor that Mercedes Benz badge into the equation as well 

For further information on the new Mercedes Citan visit Mercedes-Benz Citan | Small Van | Mercedes-Benz Vans UK.

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