The Citan gave Mercedes-Benz an easy entry into this sector, by re-badging the Renualt Kangoo, itself arguably the class leader. This latest version aims to establish more of a Mercedes-Benz identity.

The 2,716mm wheelbase and overall length of 4,498mm offer a load length of 1,806mm, with a load area height of 1,256mm and widths of 1,524mm at most and 1,248mm between the wheel arches, giving a load volume of 3.3m3. The asymmetrically-split twin rear doors open to 90° or 180°. Both side panels and the rubber-covered floor boast lashing eyes, the standard left-side loading door offers good access and a firm latch-back for inclines, while a second side door is a £295 option. A large LED light offers a decent output against the dark side protection panelling and full height bulkhead.

The cab is very pleasant, with two A4-sized overhead shelf slots, decent sized door bins offering accommodation for one drinks bottle each and two cupholders between the seats. The middle armrest lid won’t stay open making access a two-handed affair while the two coat hooks on the rear cab wall are welcome. The facia top document slot lacks the Kangoo’s lid, however. There’s a big flat area below the gearlever for a smartphone and wireless charging is a £175 option, though the glovebox looks decent, opening the lid reveals half of it is occupied by the fuse box. The seats are excellent with great lateral and lumbar support, height adjustment on both with only the lever-style backrest positioning being inferior to a wheel type. The steering wheel has generous height and reach adjustment and the wheel-mounted controls are a mixture of fiddly touchpads, duplicating functions on each side, and conventional switches. The central screen, with hard switches beneath replicating its swipe functions, is quite small and lacks satnav, offering only the inferior option of smartphone ‘mirroring’. Ford’s system has a considerably bigger screen and a great deal more functionality.

The 1.5-litre diesel only musters 95bhp, but backs that with 260Nm of torque at 1,750rpm. That equates to 63mph in top gear with this optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. A  £1,825 option it brings keyless start and an increase to 2,250kgs GVW to maintain payload. It is superbly matched to this engine’s torque curve, is keen to always use the highest gear and its changes are imperceptible with a (rarely needed) responsive manual override, if a touch tardy selecting reverse. The engine is a bit raucous if revved, but in fairness you need never venture over 3,000rpm anywhere. On the motorway engine and wind noise are subdued and the full bulkhead eliminates body boom whilst it will return 60mpg, cruising at 60mph. Over 370 miles of mixed motorway, city and winding A-roads we saw better than 51 mpg overall. 

Ride comfort is excellent, even unladen there is little bounce from the rear suspension, while a tight turning circle, great mirrors and reversing camera with two viewing angle options mean it’s a doddle to manoeuvre. However, despite the deep side window ahead of the door mirrors, the big A-Pillar creates a serious blindspot when approaching roundabouts, one of the worst we’ve seen, while the lack of Tyre Pressure Monitor and Traffic Sign Recognition are obvious safety omissions, at odds with Mercedes-Benz’ persona. At night the dipped and main beams are excellent whilst the instruments dim with fine graduation. All true of the (£2,000 cheaper) Kangoo, except the Citan’s unlimited mileage warranty, whilst Mercedes’ residuals might counter that price gap with lower lease payments. The Citan is a good van, because the Kangoo is. Re-badging the Renault allowed Mercedes to make its mark in the class, but it’s somehow failed to place its marque upon it.

Mercedes-Benz Citan L1 Premium 110CDI 95bhp 

Price (ex VAT) £23,285 (£25,110 Auto)

Price range (inc VAT) £21,310 – £23,285

Insurance group 33E

Warranty 3yrs/ unlimited mls

Service intervals 2yrs/18,000 mls 

Load length 1806mm

Load width (min/max) 1248mm /1,524mm

Load bay height 1256mm

Gross payload 666kg

Load volume 3.3m3

Engine size/power 1,461cc/95bhp

Combined fuel economy 54.3mpg

CO2 137g/km