At some stages in life, one needs just that extra space to move things around. Like for example four extra off road tyres and wheels which are lying around in our Belgian home for our Samurai, but which lives now in the South of France. And the old big stereo with massive speakers, which would sound well under the beams of the French "bastide".
And so we got behind the wheel of a short wheelbase Citan, for a journey to France, and, quite frankly, it proved to be a swift and very comfortable experience.
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Well proven comfort...
The Citan shares its bodywork and suspension basically with the Renault Kangoo, and this means that you can enjoy the French way of combining good road manners with comfort.
Indeed, the suspension strikes a very good balance between both.
Suspension travel is still very adequate even under full load, and this means excellent comfort on both routes "nationales" and "departementales", and one can drive the car at speed on these roads with utter confidence, the suspension tackling any potholes or ridges with ease.
In the short wheelbase version, the Citan handles quite well indeed, and can be driven spiritedly on winding roads. The Citan comes, noblesse oblige, with Brake Assist, ABS + ASR, and the ESP Electronic Stability Programme.
On the long stretches of "autoroutes", the Citan proved to be an excellent long distance traveller, providing excellent straight line stability combined with low wind noise and tire roar. Overall, one feels clearly the high level of refinement in this Citan, which makes it every inch a Mercedes...
Of course, the Mercedes engineers have extensively reworked the car, and this really shows. The materials used in interior and dashboard also have a quality feel, with levers and commands being very well placed. The driving position is also very good, and seats provide excellent long distance comfort.
By the way, the Citan names comes from the combination of the words "City"and "Titan"...
Frugal Diesel power
Under the bonnet of the Citan lies the well proven Renault 1,5 litre dCi engine, which delivered in our test car a good 90 HP. More than enough to deliver quite lively performance, especially with the very good torque of 200 Nm, available at 3000 rpm.
The maximum power in our 109 CDI Citan is delivered at 4000 rpm.
We were during our test astonished by the excellent economy of "our"van. Consumption was around 4,8 litres/100 km and slightly below, whilst cruising happily on the autoroutes at speeds between 125 and 135 km.
The manufacturer quotes CO2 emissions being 123 g/km.
The engine was coupled to a well spaced 5 speed gearbox, and quite frankly, is ideally adapted to the torque characteristics of the engine.
Our test car came with manual airco and bluetooth radio, and other useful extras like for example a wooden load platform. Nevertheless, the price ex VAT stayed at a very competitive 16.444 Euros.
The Citan suprised us with its excellent comfort, and we were very pleased with its very good finish, workmanship and quality of the used materials, making the Citan every inch a Mercedes, both inside and out.
It drives and handles very well, is easy to use in town, and is als a true master on the Autoroutes, making long distance travel to the French "midi" a breeze. Add to all this the truly astonishing economy, and it is certainly an urban van to look for, last but not least when one considers it comes in numerous load, wheelbase and bodywork versions.
Hans Knol ten Bensel