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The New Mercedes Citan – what will it do to Used Kangoos?

07 Mar 2013 we-buy-any-van

The Citan is the first van model Mercedes has launched into a sector of the LCV market where it had previously been unrepresented since the Vito medium van arrived in 1995.

Mercedes-Benz hasn't had a small van before so rather than start from scratch with the Citan, its competitor to the Volkswagen Caddy, the manufacturer worked with Renault. That explains why the Citan's profile looks familiar - it's actually based on a Kangoo but this is much more than just a rebadged Renault. Mercedes-Benz has made big changes throughout and the result is a small van that is as good as its larger Vito and Sprinter models.

It's available in three lengths the standard and long wheelbase models and the compact version which is no longer available in the Kangoo range. As well as the standard panel van there is a Dualiner crew van and interestingly a Traveliner which is essentially a small people carrier. All versions drive very well with nicely weighted steering and a comfortable ride, even when fully laden, but what really shines through is the impressive refinement. Make no mistake this feels every inch a Mercedes-Benz van.

The Citan is by no means the cheapest small van around - in fact it's one of the most expensive - but it does feel a cut above the competition in terms of quality and refinement. If you spend all day behind the wheel you'll appreciate the difference. The cabin feels robust, it handles well and it's safe too with all models getting an advanced ESP system as standard.

Mercedes-Benz says: "While the Citan canʼt actually do the work for you, it can make your job a lot easier – whatever your trade. With its versatility and adaptability, the new Mercedes-Benz Citan provides answers to a huge and diverse range of requirements of an urban delivery van."

Honest John sums it up as being “Good”- ‘It may be based on the Renault Kangoo van but the Citan is different enough to justify the Mercedes-Benz badge. Refinement is much better and noise levels lower. It's also better to drive. Also the 09 CDI BlueEfficiency is impressively economical with an official figure of 65.7mpg and emissions of 112g/km. That's better than any other small van this size.”

And “Bad” – “the standard stereo looks like a cheap aftermarket unit and with its small button it's quite fiddly to use. We think a proper integrated Mercedes Benz unit would look much neater. The unusual handbrake is awkward to use and seems like a case of form over function. A standard handbrake would have been much better.

Business Car sums it up as - “The Citan is a competent, attractive urban vehicle that looks set to make its mark in a new segment for its maker.”
This new light van is aimed primarily at craftsmen - owner/drivers and small firms - while in the UK Mercedes plans to challenge the supremacy of the VW Caddy and Vauxhall Combo.

Mercedes-Benz may be sitting at a healthy number five in the UK van sales charts, but it has always been constrained when it comes to improving its position further  as it didn’t offer a small van. And bearing in mind small vans make up 45% of the total European market, that’s was a major problem.

At Sell Us Your Van, we’re looking forward to a real power struggle in this sector next year as the Citan faces opposition from a brand new Ford Transit Connect, not to mention the new Vauxhall Vivaro/Renault Trafic plus the established Volkswagen Caddy, Citroën Berlingo, Peugeot Partner, Fiat Doblo Cargo, Vauxhall Combo. Let battle commence in the new van market.

But what does all this mean for the used van market.  Well as we said previously concerning the new Transit it will certainly push down prices not for Mercedes but for their partners Nissan concerning prices of used Kangoos.

On a more general note although used van prices obtained are improving, prices asked by drivers and fleet owners are still out of sync with the market. Unless used van prices being requested by sellers comes down soon there will be a glut of vehicles around that will not be good for either the used or new van market. Let’s hope sense prevails.