In a dire economic climate businesses need to keep a tight rein on their expenditure. Fuel bills in particular should be scrutinised closely and it’s worth asking whether it might make sense to save a few pennies by switching to more frugal vehicles. If that’s the stance you’re taking, and you run hatchback car derived vans, then it could be worth getting to grips with Citroën’s C2 Enterprise if you haven’t done so already. It’s got an enviable reputation for sipping rather than guzzling diesel.
The smallest light commercial in Citroën’s line-up, C2 Enterprise underwent a modest revamp last year. It got a redesigned bonnet, front bumper and grille — it’s a treatment that works well — while internally it benefited from an upgraded RDS stereo radio/CD player with MP3 compatibility.
Only one engine is up for grabs in C2 Enterprise and it’s none the worse for that. Under the bonnet you’ll find a four-cylinder 1.4-litre common rail diesel generating 70hp at 4,000rpm. Peak torque of 160Nm kicks in at 1,750rpm and drive is transmitted to the front wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox.
The front suspension employs MacPherson struts plus an anti-roll bar while the rear of the vehicle features an independent set-up with trailing arms. Our demonstrator’s 14in steel wheels were shod with Michelin Energy 175/65 R14 tyres.
Disc brakes with a 266mm diameter are located at the front while 203mm drums provide the stopping power at the back. ABS is fitted as standard along with Emergency Braking Assistance and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution. Electric power-assisted steering offers 3.2 turns lock-to-lock and a 9.6m turning circle kerb-to-kerb.
Grossing at a modest 1,374kg, C2 Enterprise can handle a 331kg gross payload and tow a trailer with an all-up weight of 450kg.
Access to the 0.8m3 cargo bay is by means of a horizontally-split rear tailgate. The upper section features a heated window and a wash/wipe system while the lower one locks horizontally and allows you to balance items weighing up to 100kg on it while loading. The lower section also features a long shallow lidded compartment on its inside face.
Good to see that the load box’s sides are so well protected against minor scratches and scrapes by carpet and plastic mouldings. A fitted carpet covers the cargo bed and four tie-down points are provided to allow you to secure wayward items. If you’ve forgotten to tie it down then a mesh bulkhead complete with a lashing rail should help ensure that it doesn’t end up sliding forwards into the cab.
Maximum load length is 1,070mm. Maximum width is 1,230mm, narrowing to 1,010mm between the wheel boxes, while maximum height is 970mm. Maximum loading height is 825mm. Maximum door aperture height is 710mm while maximum width is 1,066mm.
One of the biggest surprises C2 Enterprise harbours is the size of its cab interior. Tardis-like, it’s a lot roomier than you would expect given the overall size of the vehicle, and quite stylish too. Nor has Citroën skimped on oddment stowage space. The door pockets are surprisingly capacious.
Also provided are a deep lockable glovebox with a slot to hold a cup on the inside surface of the lid, another cup-holder plus a tray just in front of the gearlever and a shelf below the MP3-compatible RDS stereo radio/CD player which features steering-wheel-mounted remote controls.
Look beneath the height- and reach-adjustable steering column and you’ll find yet another shelf, with a further one to its right. Look to the rear of the handbrake lever and you’ll spot two additional cup-holders.
Air conditioning was fitted for an extra £550 in a package that includes electric windows and mirrors. Driver and passenger airbags are installed as standard, as is a 12v power point and a big button on the facia that you can hit to lock all the doors. Protected by deadlocks, they lock automatically anyway once the van is in motion and C2 Enterprise is secured by remote central locking.
The digital speedometer may not be to everybody’s taste, and wasn’t to ours. You get used to it, but we’d prefer a conventional analogue dial.
There’s no denying that C2 Enterprise is a lively little performer. It’s exactly what you need around town — always assuming that you’re not trying to shift anything heavy or bulky — and it’s no slouch on rural routes either. It’s an effective high-speed motorway cruiser too, with both wind and engine noise well suppressed.
Add to that pin-sharp handling, an exemplary gearchange and more responsive steering than we expected, and the manoeuvrable little load-lugger is shaping up to be a driver’s delight.
Well, not quite. C2 Enterprise serves up a rather choppy ride, especially when lightly laden, but you have to balance that against the most important figure of the lot; fuel consumption. We averaged a, most commendable, 63mpg.
Service intervals are set at 12,500 miles and Citroën’s baby is protected by a three year/100,000 mile warranty with no mileage limit in the first two years. Our demonstrator was finished in metallic grey paint — a new colour for this model — for an additional £225. All prices quoted exclude VAT.
It’s protected to some extent by side rubbing strips, but we’d like to see some protection for the wheelarches too. Insurance costs should be reasonable as the C2 is rated as group 1E
Fuel-frugal and fun to drive, Citroën’s C2 Enterprise is well worth considering if all you need to haul around is a toolbox or a couple of packages earmarked for express delivery. It handles well, it’s well-put-together, the gearchange caused us no heartaches and the cab interior is surprisingly roomy. On the downside the ride is choppy and there’s not a lot of space or payload capacity; but if that’s a priority then you’re unlikely to be shopping for a C2 Enterprise in the first place. Try a Nemo instead.