Fleet News

First UK drive: Citroen Relay 30l1h1 100

FACED with a deluge of new launches against it and an aggressive sales campaign by Volkswagen, the launch of the new Citroën Relay just has to be a success.

One way of ensuring lively sales is by introducing a unique selling point and here Citroën has pulled an ace out of its sleeve – the introduction of sat-nav and a stolen vehicle tracking system as standard across the range. It’s a bold move and one which puts the Relay in a class of its own.

There’s a lot more than sat-nav to the new Relay, of course – a bold new design, a fresh set of engines and a host of new features such as extended service intervals to 25,000 miles.

For the first time also, Citroën has gone above 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight with an offering of 4.0 tonnes and there are four lengths and three roof heights.

The front end of the van has been reworked and the door handles have been made bigger and easier to use, while there are extra rubbing strips and new rear lights, together with a non-slip step built in to the rear bumper.

Under the bonnet, engine choice is now 2.2-litres or 3.0-litres, with power outputs of 100bhp, 120bhp and 160bhp. Among the standard spec items are a driver’s airbag, ABS with emergency brake assist, remote central locking, deadlocks, an immobiliser, electric windows, electric/heated mirrors and a radio/CD player. Options include ESP traction control. Payloads range from 1,140kg to 1,995kg and load volumes range from eight cubic metres to 17 cubic metres. Panel van prices range from £15,150 to £24,850 ex-VAT.

Behind the wheel

THE front end has a whole new stylish look to it – and it’s top marks to Citroën for adding mounds of padding at the rear corners, where damage is most likely to happen.

Once inside, the cab echoes the stylish interior and it is obvious that a lot of thought has gone in to it. There are cubby holes everywhere, plenty of overhead storage and a handy flip-up piece on the top of the dash which has a clip to hold documents. The centre seat folds down to reveal a useful desk which will hold a laptop.

The CD player is a quality one and it also has remote controls on the steering wheel – another big safety plus. The driver’s seat must be one of the best in the class. It moulds itself to the body exquisitely and has lumbar adjustment and a fold-down armrest. Meanwhile, huge mirrors the size of serving plates adorn each side of the van, adding further to the Relay’s safety credentials.

Once out on the road, our van proved quiet and smooth, despite the fact that it didn’t have a full bulkhead. And despite being the lowest power output, it should prove plenty for fleet purposes, unless you happen to be in the business of carrying full loads up and down the M6 every day.

The secret is its high torque figure of 184lb-ft, which makes the van feel more powerful than it is.

Verdict

SLEEK, stylish, powerful, comfortable – and a cracking good drive too. Citroën has really pulled out the stops to keep its competitive edge over the opposition – and has triumphed.

Fact file

Power (bhp): 100
Torque (lb-ft): 184
Payload (kg): 1,410
Load volume (cu m): 8.0
Price (ex-VAT): £15,150

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