Speaking on the Citroen stand at the show, commercial vehicle sales manager Brian Roskell said: 'We are building on the strengths of the old vehicle while refreshing the interior and the styling.'
The Relay range has been expanded and will offer a greater choice of bodies, with load capacities of between 7.5 and 14 cubic metres. It will go on sale in April.
There will be the usual short, medium and long wheelbases and in addition to the three roof heights - standard, medium and high - a new extra high version will be available. Chassis cabs, crewcabs and platform cabs will complete the line-up.
Power comes from three common rail diesel engines - a 2.0 HDi offering 86bhp at 4,000rpm and 142lb-ft of torque at 1,900rpm, a new 2.2 HDi with 104bhp at 4,000rpm and 177lb-ft of torque at 1,900rpm and a 2.8 HDi with 127bhp at 3,600rpm and 221lb-ft of torque at 1,800rpm.
There will also be a 2.0i petrol engine available on certain models, although Citroen has no plans to offer an LPG version at present. While the rear of the Relay retains its old look, the front end has been reworked with double optic headlights, a more prominent grille and a larger front bumper which is strong enough to stand on so a driver can clean the windscreen. At the rear, the lights feature a vent which carries air past them from the inside of the van. The system is simple and is designed to stop the light clusters from getting caked with mud.
Roskell said: 'This new van looks more like a Citroen and is more in keeping with the Berlingo.'
Inside, the cab has had a major rework and now looks stylish and far more comfortable than the old model. The driver's seat now incorporates lumbar support and height adjustment and the steering wheel is now height adjustable too.
The middle seat folds forward to form a handy desk, including a clamp to hold a laptop computer in place.
Levels of noise and vibration have been reduced and there is a host of cubby holes strewn across the breadth of the cab. On safety and security, the Relay's body is stronger and stiffer and central locking is now standard, along with an engine immobiliser.
A high level brake light has also been added at the rear. Warranty is three years/ 100,000 miles and the 2.8 diesel and 2.0 petrol engines have 20,000 mile service intervals, while the 2.0 and 2.2 diesels have 12,500 mile intervals.
Certain features available on European models will not be coming to the UK. Citroen will not be offering a satnav system or the special overtaking camera which gives drivers a view of the van's blind spots on a screen on the dash. A driver's airbag is also optional.
After showing British journalists around the new Relay at the show, Roskell was asked whether he believed Citroen could continue the sales success of 2001 into this year, bearing in mind the general slowdown of the world's economy.
He said: 'We have had a very good start to the year so far, on a par with January last year. We now have a massive range of shapes and styles for the Relay and although there will be a slowdown on changeover in April we are now third place in the UK market and are breathing down Vauxhall's neck for second slot. The van market has defied the way the economy is moving and with so many special deals around, we see growth continuing as people realise what good value they are getting.'