The crash test organisation commended the Citan for its electronic stability control but described its performance in other areas of the Safety Assist category as “lacklustre”.

The Citan Kombi scored 74% for Adult Occupant protection, 69% for Child Occupant protection, 56% in Pedestrian protection but just 33% for Safety Assist.

EuroNCap pointed out that the model tested – a 109 Blue Efficiency – only provided a seatbelt reminder for the driver’s seat.

As no system was available for the front passenger seat or the rear seats, the system was not considered.

Although a driver-set manual speed assistance system was available, Euro NCAP said that because the warning given to the driver if the set speed is exceeded was visual only, it failed to meet its requirements.

In the adult occupant section the tests indicated good protection of the driver’s head but poor chest protection and a potential hazard to occupants’ legs from the dashboard.

The side curtain airbag and the curtain airbag in the side pole test did not deploy as intended but Euro NCAP acknowledged that Mercedes had pledged to improve the performance of the curtain airbag

It added that the front seats and head restraints provided only marginal protection against whiplash injury in the event of a rear-end collision.

The crash test body found that the child positions were well protected but that some child seats were difficult to install.

In the pedestrian tests the bumper was predominantly good but the front edge of the bonnet provided poor protection. Adequate protection was provided by the bonnet over much of its surface but protection in areas where an adult's head might strike was found to be mostly poor.

The three star crash test result is likely to disappoint Mercedes, which insisted it carried out exhaustive testing on the Renault Kangoo-derived Citan to ensure it met the brand’s quality standards.