Like most men, the Citan comes in either Long or Extra Long variants. Being a person of simple pleasures I opted for the Long, it is also the most eco model at 112g/km CO2 and potentially better than 60mpg.
Mercedes make some stunning cars, and while this isn’t one of them, it has a certain charm rather like Gerard Depardieu. Not that much of a coincidence as behind the three-pointed star lies a French Renault Kangoo, which has been tweaked to be a bit more “Merc”.
It is a smart and capable MPV however, and as well as a good solid feel to the construction it has pretty low road noise, high comfort, a nice raised seating position and a funky glass roof. Road holding is as you would expect, a bit loose in the twisties, but a delight on long drives.
It is a straight-forward and honest van-derived-car (VDC) that does not feature a host of gadgets, you do get Bluetooth, electric windows, cruise control and a nice reversing camera built into the rearview mirror but that is about it for 21st century luxuries. It is made to be filled with people and stuff and get you to your destination without fuss.
My longer drives with children, dog and bikes on board was certainly fuss-free, the kids loved the seats and the clear view, the dog slept and the bikes did not need all of the 685 litres of available boot. Renault has an obsession with safety that has been carried over to the Merc, giving it ESC to give improved control in the event of a loss of traction. Its competitors such as the Doblo, Berlingo and Vauxhall Combo do not have this and therefore cost more to insure.
While the Citan is not the cheapest, or largest of the VDC’s it still makes for a sound investment. Service intervals are a whopping 24k miles and depreciation is significantly less than on all others of this type. If the Nissan E-NV Evalia electric VDC is not a viable option, then the Merc is probably the one to go for as a family wagon that sometimes needs to be a van.
On test I used this car for short hops, 3 hour trips and one 50 mile run with 350kg on board, and I have never before had more diversity in my economy figures in any other vehicle – 37 – 64mpg. Typically however I gained 55-58mpg with no major effort – keeping up with the flow, maintaining a good gap and accelerating smoothly, but with a little effort I found beating 60mpg was no problem either.
This all changes when you hit the higher speeds, especially on a windy day or with some hills thrown in. She is not an aerodynamic machine, nor does the 1.5 CDI engine produce massive amounts of torque – drive like a courier and expect to fill up pretty much twice as often as “Steady Eddie”.
The car can sneak up to those speeds without you noticing though – road noise is very well muted for the type, and engine noise, although a tad harsh, is well damped. The audio kit is not bad either and the car is very smooth and balanced on dual carriageways. Mercedes may have noticed this themselves as they have added a speed limiter to the cruise control – a feature I made good use of on longer drives and in restricted zones.
VDC’s are not made to get the pulse racing, but they should be ideal everyday mules offering rugged comfort and reliability. Certainly the Citan does this, but it made us smile too – it’s a proper charmer.
Tech Spec – 5 door Mini MPV
Price – £21475
Power – 90 hp
Torque – 22 Nm
Combined MPG – 65.7
CO2 g/km – 112
Max Speed – 95 Mph est’
0-60mph – 12.5 sec est’
Cargo capacity (seats up / down) – 685 / 3000 litre
words – Mark Wolens
pics – Mercedes PR & Mark Wolens