MERCEDES’ new Citan is based upon a Renault – but if you think it’s just a Kangoo with knobs on then you’d be sorely mistaken. Although built by the French firm, the Citan is effectively a new van and certainly worth the £3,000 premium over the French effort – and not simply to boast that German pointed star badge on your drive.
Mercedes has fully re-engineered and restyled the Kangoo to turn a good van into a highly desirable one. Citan is a range in its own right and offers versions Renault doesn’t with Kangoo. One example is the Compact, a stubby short wheelbase variant, ideal for town work, that Renault dropped a while back. Also, the standard equipment line-up is significantly different, as are option and accessory choices. In fact, Mercedes says that if a Kangoo was upgraded to match the Citan, it could be more expensive to put on the road.
Mercedes also points out that by re-engineering the Kangoo, it can offer a longer warranty period (36-month, unlimited mileage) while the German’s MobiloVan aftercare and rescue package can run for up to 30 years, not the 24-year deal in the case of Renault’s plan. As a result, Mercedes-Benz claims the Citan’s resale residuals (and so leasing plans) will also be superior and more attractive. Indeed, the German manufacturer says the cost of running a Citan can be as little as £6.95 a day – about the same as three bacon butties.
Given that Mercedes and Volkswagen have a partnership to make the VW Crafter and the Mercedes Sprinter, you wonder why it didn’t base its new van on the Golf-derived Caddy. Simple, says Mercedes, Caddy is already premium-priced and so “making a Merc” out of one would have resulted in too high screen prices. The Kangoo, on the other hand, is budget-priced and so gave the Germans room to play. Mercedes is at pains to point out that the Citan is on a different level to the Renault in terms of build quality. In fact, initial unsatisfactory quality delayed the original schedule to introduce it late last year. Mechanical changes are numerous; the engines have been improved for more power with fewer emissions while the suspension has been completely returned for better handling and refinement.
A brief drive in a Citan Dualiner (a useful five-seater that can be used for social and business use) proves that this is no idle boast. It’s a lot smoother and quieter than the equivalent Kangoo, helped by a completely redesigned cab that looks and feels like a Mercedes.
Mercedes won’t take the electric hybrid Kangoo ZE derivative but has retuned the diesel engines to fall into line with its Blue Efficiency philosophy which aids economy and emissions. A single petrol unit is also available. As Renault doesn’t offer automatic transmission on the Kangoo, there will be no self-shifting Citan either – a first for Mercedes?
Prices start from £13,095 with a special Trade Edition model priced at less than £200 per month, after a one-off payment of £585. That said, an option-loaded top model can touch the £20,000 mark. Still, if you’ve always wanted to use a Merc for work but considered the Vito too large and expensive, Citan’s your man.
VAN Mercedes-Benz Citan 109 Cdi Blue Efficiency Dualiner
WARRANTY Three years
SERVICE INTERVAL 18,000 miles
LOAD LENGTH 1753 mm
LOAD WIDTH (max) 1219mm
LOAD HEIGHT 1128 mm
PAYLOAD 755 kg
ECONOMY 65.7 mpg
CO2 EMISSIONS 112 g/km