Mercedes Citan one for van fan

The Mercedes-Benz Citan Traveliner is a spacious, versatile van-based passenger vehicle that is good

The Mercedes-Benz Citan Traveliner is a spacious, versatile van-based passenger vehicle that is good to drive and easy to live with. - Credit: Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz's debut small van, the Citan, makes a very attractive alternative to the family estate car, says motoring editor Andy Russell.

When I started driving many of my friends drove small vans rather than cars. They were cheaper to buy and, in those days, when seat belts were not compulsory and health and safety virtually non-existent, they made great people-carriers even without seats.

So I'm a fan of modern vans that have evolved into passenger vehicles and offer owners the best of both worlds. Doubling up as both trade van and family transport, they are ideal for people with active lifestyles who carry a lot of kit and prove popular on the Motability scheme.

No surprise then that Mercedes-Benz's debut Citan small van comes in two passenger versions alongside the panel van.

The Dualiner, based on the extra-long Citan, carries five people but is workmanlike but the shorter, fully-glazed Traveliner is more car-like.


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OK, it's a square shape but if you need space then square is cool. You sit upright but what you get is a passenger vehicle that can carry five large adults with abundant leg and headroom (I call them 'Full Monty' vehicles because you can keep your hat on) and a vast, flat-sided boot that swallows luggage and cargo.

Rear seat backs split 60/40 and fold flat one-handed to create a long flat-floored load-carrier.

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Because it's based on a van it's designed to still drive well and safely with a full load on board.

But don't for a minute think the Citan is just a workhorse – apart from the tall shape and size once behind the wheel you could easily be driving a large car.

Currently there are two versions of the 1.4-litre turbo diesel with outputs of 75hp and 90hp but September will see them joined by a 110hp diesel and a 114hp 1.2-litre turbo petrol.

The 90hp 109CDI is expected to be the big seller. It performs well with loads of low-down pull and punchy performance, easily keeping up with traffic, yet I was getting 52-57mpg in mixed driving helped by the automatic engine stop-start.

The Citan is designed for high-mileage van drivers so the ride is comfortable, improving with load, and it holds the road well with standard stability control. It's also very manoeuvrable and easy to turn round in tight spaces with superb all-round visibility.

Its van background is apparent inside from the hard cabin plastics but they are nicely textured, durable and easy to clean. The fascia is straightforward with clear dials, user-friendly controls and a well-placed gear lever with a slick shift.

The Traveliner comes with easy-clean rubber floor covering in the cabin and boot – ideal for muddy boots and wet dogs – but optional carpeting gives a more upmarket look. There's loads of cabin storage including a full-width shelf above the windscreen.

Standard equipment includes power steering, four electric windows and door mirrors, trip computer, radio/CD with jackpoint, USB port and Bluetooth, speed-control, roof rails and central locking. n optional appearance pack includes body-colour exterior trim and alloy wheels while the driver's pack adds electric folding door mirrors, centre armrest and stowage, air-conditioning and parking sensors.

The Citan is a great van-derived passenger vehicle that is easy to live with and hard not to feel at home in... and it's also got badge appeal.

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