First Drive: Mercedes Citan Dualiner

Date: Monday, October 28, 2013   |  

Mercedes’ entrance to the light van market with the Citan includes not only panel vans but also this Dualiner crew van model and a passenger Traveliner.

The Dualiner incorporates a three-seat bench accessible via rear sliding doors on either side, and costs an additional £770 above the standard two-seat panel van.

Coming only in 109 CDI Extra Long form, the Dualiner is powered by a 90hp 1.5-litre diesel engine sourced from Renault as part of the joint agreement that gave Mercedes a base for its new van.

It comes in either standard or Blue Efficiency form, with the extra £245 for the more environmentally honed latter of the two paying for stop-start, battery and alternator management and low rolling resistance tyres. That equates to an extra 4.3mpg and CO2 emissions 7g/km lower for this model.

The extra seats sacrifice 1.4m3 of load space and 800mm of load length, but do fold forward neatly when not in use as a £719 optional extra, to extend the load length to the same 2137mm as the two-seat panel van, complete with bulkhead.

It’s a little pricey, but well worth it if the vehicle will flit between people and load carrying. Rear passengers get a window, though it doesn’t open, and the lined load area has a lip that prevents an easy sweep of the rear if it’s had a messy load.

The exterior, while clearly a Mercedes, looks a little ungainly in extra-long wheelbase form. The regular long wheelbase has a more complete appearance to it, but that’s not available in five-seat form.

In the cabin, it’s obvious which bits Mercedes has upgraded from the Kangoo donor vehicle, with the centre consul controls being of good quality compared to the rest of the cabin, and the indicator and wiper stalk is straight from pretty much any other Benz car or van. The rest of the cabin is designed to be hard-wearing rather than pleasing in quality or feel.

The stereo is neat, but the buttons too small for fat-fingered operation and it doesn’t have a standard CD player, though Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity is standard.

From the options list, the £1222 Driver’s Pack is pricey but brings air conditioning and rear parking sensors, though the aircon in our vehicle wasn’t particularly effective and needed to be cranked up high for any serious cooling effect.

To drive, the Citan is solid, and the glazed rear window adds extra over-the-should visibility that’s useful for checking blind spots on the motorway. That sort of environment does also show up a weakness for the 90hp diesel in that its five-speed gearbox leaves you at nearly 3000rpm at 70mph, bringing refinement and economy penalties.

The Citan isn’t cheap, as you’d expect for something with a Mercedes badge. A similar Vauxhall Combo Crew Van would cost £505 less, and a Kangoo is over £1000 cheaper. Admittedly the Mercedes should be worth more than either at the end of its life, but you’re still paying for that up-front.

 

 

Verdict

Useful range addition gives Citan an extra dimension.

 



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