Mercedes-Benz Official Unveils Renault-Based Citan Compact Van
Latest Offering Rounds Out Mercedes' Van Fleet
It's become difficult to keep up with all the cross-pollination going on in the automotive world, and Mercedes-Benz' new Citan compact van is just the latest example. Although Mercedes already has the well-established Sprinter, Vito, Vario, and Viano models in Europe, the company was missing a direct competitor to the Ford Transit Connect, Fiat Doblo, and other compact vans that have recently gained popularity in the European market.
But rather than starting from scratch with its own in-house design, it partnered with French auto giant Renault (which itself has a controlling interest in Nissan) for the Citan, a compact, front-drive urban delivery vehicle. A virtual clone of the Renault Kangoo, the Citan will be built on the same assembly line in Maubeuge, France, with some signature Mercedes styling cues to make it fit in with its bigger siblings in the van lineup.
No surprise for a European-market model, the Citan features three available diesel powerplants ranging from 75 to 110 hp, and one supercharged gasoline engine option producing 114 hp. Standard on the gas-engine model, and optional on the diesel models, is Mercedes' BlueEfficiency package, which includes an auto start-stop function, battery and generator management, and low rolling-resistance tires. To further optimize efficiency, the Citan employs electro-hydraulic power steering. For economical fleet operation, the recommended service intervals are as long as 25,000 miles.
The Citan will be offered in three lengths, ranging from tidy 155 to 184.5 inches long. For comparison, a Ford Transit Connect stretches 180.6 inches bumper-to-bumper. Although primarily designed as a cargo hauler and courier, the Citan will have a five-passenger option, with a wire mesh partition separating the cargo and passenger areas.
As expected for a Mercedes, the Citan features a host of safety features, from six airbags for the driver and front passenger on five-passenger models, to standard ABS and stability control.
Although Ford has been successful with the Transit Connect in the U.S. market, and we hear the introduction of a Fiat Doblo-based Ram-branded urban van is imminent, we don't expect the Citan to come to the U.S. any time soon. The Citan's official prime-time debut will be at the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hanover, Germany in September.