Motoring review: Mercedes Citan 109 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY

Budding man with a van? Try this Merc for size

Price: from £13,095
Engine capacity: 1.4 litre diesel
Power output (PS @ rpm): 90 @ 4,000
Max torque (Nm @ rpm):
200 @ 1,750-3,000
Top speed (mph): 93
Fuel economy (mpg): 65.7
CO2 emissions (g/km): 112

Some of my earliest memories involve driving around the north-west in my dad's white Mercedes. It wasn't a grand S-Class or sleek C-Class, but a lumbering white TN van full of joinery equipment.

And, not to get too Nizlopi about it, it didn't stop me boasting on the playground casually boasting about "my dad's Mercedes".

I remember the TN looking pretty cool, but Google provides a correcting reminder that it was a big, Soviet-looking box.

Anyway, that didn't stop me getting excited when I was handed the keys to the new Citan, the German giant's new city delivery vehicle which, in the long-wheelbase, extra-panel version I drove, ought to work for all but the largest of deliveries. It won't, however, fit a king-size mattress. Unless you shove it in at an angle, bend it and slam the door before it springs back. But not as many people would be as stupid as this reviewer in trying to move house with a marque's smallest commercial van. Oh well.

A powerful beast, the Citan also looks pretty good, with its panels curving nicely around from the roof to the wheelbase. Inside, things are sparse enough. This isn't a weekend leisure drive, it's a utilitarian jobber, with plastic floors, big roomy seats and a no-nonsense CD/MP3 player. And although you get the prestige of a Merc, it's in a similar price range to many of its rivals, including the very similar, popular Renault Kangoo.

In the Kangoo's case, there's a reason for this similarity. Though its hearty diesel rumble makes it feel very much like a Teutonic heavyweight – a four-wheeled Max Schmeling – the Citan is actually derived from the Renault van. It's all part of a deal Daimler signed with Renault-Nissan to work together on some engine platforms and ranges about three years ago. The deal was extended at the end of last year, with new engines from the collaboration expected to begin appearing in cars from around 2016, in mid-size cars such as the Megane.

Back to the Citan. As well as its outstanding mileage (great for people using it for work), it's actually fairly fun to drive too, with a responsive kick and a breaking system hardy enough to manage a fuller-than-full load (ie, all of my possessions) even in the busy stop-start environs of London's north circular on a balmy Saturday afternoon. In fact, the non-panelled versions of the Citan, the Dualiner and Traveliner, which come with rear windows and seats would make it a decent bet for a large family car. Especially at £15,000. It might turn out to be a popular bet for those looking to adapt it for wheelchair access, too.

Safety-wise things aren't quite so good. The Citan only scored three-out of five stars in NCAP testing, who discovered a faulty side airbag, which got caught on the seatbelt. As a result, on Monday, Daimler recalled 3,500 Citans from around Europe to fix the problem, and its chief exec Dieter Zetsche has since promised to improve matters.

You don't doubt they will. That aside, the Citan is a nimble, roomy, powerful, cheap-to-run van for all seasons.

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: C# Developer - Kent - £43,000

    £35000 - £43000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: C# and .Net Developer - n...

    Guru Careers: Digital Marketing Exec / Online Marketing Executive

    £35 - 40k: Guru Careers: Our client has a new role for a Digital Marketing Exe...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

    £35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

    Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

    Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

    Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
    Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'