Having just been launched, our Citroën Nemo drew quite a few stares from passers-by during its test week.
But expect to see many more on our roads in the months to come as fleet buyers get used to a totally new sector – light urban van – and the benefits it brings.
And there are many plus points to this chic new contender – low front-end cost, rock bottom running costs and round-town manoeuvrability among them.
The Nemo, and its twin brothers the Peugeot Bipper and Fiat Fiorino, is specifically designed for urban use and comes in slightly smaller than the Citroën Berlingo, the new model which has grown in size to make way for its new sibling.
The Nemo is powered by a 1.4-litre HDi common rail diesel powerplant pumping out 70bhp and 118lb-ft of torque and offers a very low CO2 output of just 119g/km.
With a possible 62.7mpg on the combined cycle, a payload of 610kg and a turning circle of just 9.95 metres, the credentials of this little van begin to stack up nicely.
And at a price of £9,515 (ex VAT) the Nemo won’t exactly break the bank.
- Behind the wheel
From the outside the Nemo looks like a new Berlingo that’s been put in a 95 degree wash and shrunk a bit.
That’s not being derogatory in any way – both vans look chic and stylish and the Nemo will feel quite at home working in its urban surroundings.
Climbing aboard for the first time, the cab feels a little squashed and there isn’t a lot of storage space, but once you get used to the smaller area available it shouldn’t be a problem.
Our test model didn’t have the optional folding passenger seat that allows for extra cargo to be carried and we found that items stuffed into the centre console area slid under the fixed seat, making it the devil’s own job to winkle out again.
But the driver’s seat is superb with plenty of length in the squab and adjustable lumbar support.
Under way the Nemo is a pleasure to drive.
That low-down max torque at 1,750rpm makes it feel faster than its 70bhp should do and a nice light clutch and short-throw gearlever make swapping cogs a cinch.
The Nemo is just the right size to throw lustily into corners, although of course we wouldn’t recommend such practices for fleet drivers!
Citroën is hoping the Nemo will become as much of a legend as its predecessor the C15.
We think they might just be right.
Gross vehicle weight (kg): 1,700
Payload (kg): 610
Load volume (cu m): 2.5-2.8
Max power (bhp/rpm): 70/4,000
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm): 118/1,750
Fuel economy (mpg comb): 62.7
CO2 emissions (g/km): 119
Price (ex VAT): £9,515