The original Citan was Mercedes-Benz’s first attempt at a practical light commercial vehicle (LCV) in a market segment that continues to show solid growth in the UK.
Conceived to challenge the likes of the Volkswagen Caddy, Citroën Berlingo, Peugeot Partner and Vauxhall Combo among others, it was introduced in 2012 in a wide range of configurations with the choice of three wheelbases and a multitude of seating layouts aimed at making it emulate the success of the larger Vito.
A product of the engineering alliance between Mercedes and Renault, it was based heavily on the latter’s strong-selling Mk2 Kangoo, which also gave it strong ties to the Dacia Dokker and Nissan NV200.
But after suffering the indignity of failing to score a five-star safety rating for Europe (something that Stuttgart had sternly promised), the Citan got off to a slow start. Despite heavy discounting throughout its nine-year model cycle, sales never came close to the expectations heaped upon it at its launch.
This Mk2 Citan couldn’t be any different, says Mercedes. It has once again been engineered in partnership with Renault and shares it mechanical base and drivelines with the new Mk3 Kangoo.
“The important thing is that it has been co-developed from the outset as a Mercedes-Benz model, rather than being adapted from an existing design,” says Citan project head Dirk Hipp. “This has given us greater scope to provide it with the necessary styling, dynamic qualities and features that we think will be crucial to its success.”
Reflecting the new approach, Mercedes has decided to split the line-up in two; commercial vehicle variants retain the Citan name, but the more extensively equipped, leisure-orientated passenger versions of the new model will now be sold under the T-Class name.