The Citan Kombi scored three out of five stars – the same result awarded to the Citroen Dispatch, Fiat Scudo, Hyundai H-1 and Peugeot Expert.

The Renault Traffic has gained the worst result in the van segment to date with just two stars, while at the other end of the scale the Ford Transit Custom was given a five star rating.

Euro NCAP said: “The new Mercedes-Benz Citan fails to shine in a market segment poorly equipped for safety. With only electronic stability control scoring points in safety assist, and lacklustre performance in other areas, the Renault Kangoo-derived van/MPV has failed to set itself apart from its competitors in Euro NCAP’s safety tests.”

In response to the result Mercedes said: “We are working closely with our technology partners (at Renault) to investigate the issues raised by this test, specifically around the performance of the curtain airbags.”

During testing the airbags did not deploy as intended, according to NCAP.

Mercedes emphasised that the Citan van meets legislative safety standards in every market in which it's sold.