Now the UK’s roads are brimming with a new generation of stylish vehicles that look as good as they drive – and few can beat the chic Gallic charm of the new Citroën Relay.
Our test vehicle in long wheelbase, high roof format is a titan which will swallow 13 cubic metres of cargo, but still manages to exude a certain flair that has even car owners looking on with admiration.
What made our test van really stand out was its silver metallic paint which adds £300 to the price but which will probably be recouped at selling time.
And the looks aren’t just for show.
All those swathes of plastic round the outside will help protect the vehicle from knocks and scrapes.
The remote plip locking can open the front and the back of the van separately and once inside the cab, things still look state-of-the-art.
The dash is chunky and stylish and holds a myriad of cubby holes while there’s also a new overhead storage shelf.
And the driver’s seat has to be best-in-class. It’s firm and supportive and has just the right amount of lumbar support.
There is also a handy desk which folds down from the back of the middle seat and a pop-up clipboard on the dash for white van man’s A4 papers.
The 2.2-litre diesel unit is the fleet choice. It’s powerful enough to lug around this van’s 1.5-tonne payload without the ‘loony toons’ performance of the higher-powered vehicles we get sometimes.
Road manners are impeccable, with ABS brakes as standard and our model carrying the paid-for ESP traction control system.
There had been complaints about the size of the side windows (not big enough) but I didn’t have a problem personally.
The Relay also has a USP – a sat-nav unit as standard that will also warn drivers of GATSO cameras ahead.
What an improvement over the old model. We love this van.
Power (bhp/rpm): 120/3,500
Torque (lb-ft/rpm): 236/2,300
Gross vehicle weight (kg): 3,500
Payload (kg): 1,525
Load volume (cu m): 13
Price (ex-VAT): £20,950