Fleet News

Road test: Citroen C15

But that is exactly what happened and believe it or not, the Citroen/Peugeot factory in Vigo, north western Spain, is still churning out C15s – and what’s more Britain’s fleet buyers are still snapping them up.

Vans have come and vans have gone but the C15 thunders on regardless. So what is it about this cranky looking vehicle that has captured the hearts of the nation’s van operators?

For starters, an ex-VAT special offer price of just £4,995 must come into the equation. There simply isn’t another commercial vehicle on the roads that boasts such a ludicrously low price for so much space.

Even the dinky Daihatsui Hijet is two grand more expensive and only just beats the C15 on load volume and payload.

The other heart-warming thing about the C15 is its sheer zaniness.

It looks rather like an upturned pram and only Citroen could get away with a look like that. But much as with the old 2CV6 it is charismatic and so hard-wearing that it is sure to plug away for years to come.

Outside

OK, so we’ve dealt with the looks. It won’t win any beauty contests, but then neither will my 87-year-old father. But both have given valuable service to their countrymen over the years.

The C15 also boasts a tough outside armour that should keep it free from knocks and scratches. At the front there is a large plastic bumper, the sides and wheelarches all have plastic protectors and at the rear, a chunky tubular steel arrangement may prove a surprise to anyone who happens to run into the back of one.

In the front

DON’T expect too many creature comforts, but that is no surprise for a van of this price. Entry is by manual lock and you have to wind your own windows. If you want to adjust the side mirrors, you simply reach out of the window and give them a tug, like in the good old days.

The dash is very much like you’d expect from a 1980s van but the C15 does come with a radio/cassette player which has a detachable front. The seats are a bit on the squashy side for my liking but they are nonetheless comfortable and certainly not the worst in class.

In the back

IN the business end, things start to get interesting.

The C15 boasts a load volume of no less than 2.66 cubic metres, not far short of the Berlingo which costs almost twice the price. Payload is either 600kg or 765kg and the load area is good and square so that all kinds of cargo can be carried. At the rear are the usual glazed double doors and the cargo area has a half-height bulkhead and four load-lashing eyes in the floor. A dose of ply-lining would be a wise investment for any fleet buyers to keep the rear end free of scratches.

On the road

BOTH gross vehicle weight models come with Citroen’s old style 1.9-litre diesel engine which is sturdy but doesn’t have common rail technology. Not that you’d expect it for this price.

Believe it or not, the lower gvw model doesn’t have power steering as standard so I couldn’t really recommend it for today’s busy fleet driver. Better, I think, to opt for the more expensive model.

The powerplant boasts 60bhp and 77 lb-ft of torque and is surprisingly nimble. Despite its wafer thin wheels this van just loves being chucked about on corners and the general driving experience is by no means a dull one. The weighty diesel engine makes the van a tad front heavy and even with the power steering it can feel a bit of a struggle on the bends. But you’ve only got to look at how many ancient C15s there are still on the roads to realise how durable this van is. If there are any unforeseen hiccups it boasts a three-year/100,000 mile warranty.

Verdict

IT’S a niche vehicle we know and one that is really only suited for local work. But there are plenty of fleets around which want just such a vehicle. During my test week I quite grew to love this little van – and I for one hope Citroen keeps on making the C15 for a good while yet.

FACT FILE CITROEN C15

Model: Citroen C15
Price (£ ex-VAT and Citroen special deals): £6,695-7,345
Engine (cc): 1,868
Max power (bhp): 60
Max torque (lb-ft): 77
Gross vehicle weight (kg): 1,710
Payload (kg): 600/765
Load volume (cubic metres): 2.7

Little van with the big kick

SINCE its launch in 1984, some 1.2 million C15s have been sold worldwide. The van made its UK debut in summer 1985 and marked Citroen’s first move back into the light commercial vehicle market after an absence of some years. Petrol and diesel models came in both red and white and were marketed as ‘van blanc’ and ‘van rouge’.

Since its UK launch, 50,000 have been sold in this country and can still be seen in various guises including micro motor caravans, pick-up trucks, box vans, luton vans and hi-cube fridge units.

Citroen commercial vehicle operations manager Robert Handyside said: ‘The C15 is truly unique. It has played a key role in establishing Citroen as one of the major players in the UK’s light commercial vehicle market and it continues to appeal to those looking for a high value robust workhorse.’

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Comments

  • DARREN GRGRY - 27/08/2012 19:17

    ARTICLE SUMS UP THE VAN EXACTLY, NOW LOOKING TO PURCHASE OUR 3rd, OBVIOUSLY NOT NEW (SHAME ON YOU CITROEN)

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