First Drive: Mercedes-Benz Citan
Yes, it’s based on Renault’s Kangoo line-up, but Mercedes has put quite a bit of work into making Citan look and feel different to its French cousin. As well as the new front end, with that dominant three-pointed star grille, there is a new interior with a solid feeling dash and controls.
Mercedes says that it has been working under the body too, tuning the steering and suspension to offer a firmer, more controlled feel. Certainly in a first drive around the city of Copenhagen the van feels quieter and smoother.
Citan is available as a compact city van in three wheelbases – Compact, Long and Extra Long. The van offers load capacities of 2.4m3, 3.1m3 and 3.8m3, with payloads of 500kg, 650kg and 800kg respectively.
There will be four engine options, three versions of the familiar 1.5-litre diesel with outputs of 75hp and 180Nm, 90hp and 200Nm and 110hp with 240Nm of torque. You can also opt for a petrol option, a 1.2-litre with 114hp and 190Nm, if you prefer. Service intervals are 25,000 miles or two years whichever engine you choose.
The two lower-powered diesel engines drive through a five-speed manual gearbox, while the petrol and the higher-powered diesel have six gears. There are no plans for an automatic or an automated manual box as yet.
A BlueEFFICIENCY package is standard on the petrol model and optional on all diesel versions. It includes ECO start/stop, along with battery and alternator management and low rolling resistance tyres on models with up to 650kg payload.
More importantly, Mercedes has chosen to make adaptive ESP standard on all models. This incorporates Vehicle Dynamic Control, EBR engine friction torque control and ASR acceleration skid control. A driver’s airbag is standard on all van models and a front passenger airbag comes as standard on the Crewbus model – a five-seater based on the Long chassis. Thorax sidebags are also standard on the M1 Crewbus model and optional on all vans. Windowbags are available as an option for the Crewbus.
There is also a Citan Mixto, a five-seater with a folding rear bench seat and an optional separator grille to keep loads in the rear. The Mixto comes with twin, glazed side doors and is based on the Extra Long van body.
Standard specification includes daytime running lights and hazard warning light activation in the event of emergency braking. Customers can specify a full bulkhead or a folding safety grille, which works with a fold-flat front passenger seat to extend the load area for longer loads. You can also specify a roof hatch at the rear of the body for ladders.
There is a construction site package available, incorporating increased ground clearance, underbody protection and reinforced tyres. Mercedes dealers will also have a host of options available, allowing customers to tailor the vans to the specific needs of their operation. Mercedes is hoping to appeal to both owner-drivers, for whom the cache of the three-pointed star will be worth the additional investment, and to fleets already running larger Mercedes vans.
By filling this gap at the lower end of its van line-up Mercedes now has a full range of vehicles available to suit every weight and load volume requirement.