Citroen Dispatch Van

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The latest three sizes van from the PSA Group, be it the Peugeot Expert or, as seen her, the Citroen Dispatch in whatever configuration, offers users an economical and competitive commercial. Where the Dispatch and its sibling attracts buyers is in the fact it can be had as a panel or conventional van, multi-practical Crew Van or what’s referred to as a Platform Cab, something the British market still tends to refer to as a chassis cab, the separate, custom body of the customers choosing and design.


Regarding the three basic sizes, Citroen has seemingly erred towards that of clothing. There’s the XS, the M and the XL along with three exterior and trim levels of X, Enterprise and Enterprise Plus. Add in the ‘Look’ pack and the end result is a reasonably attractive and eye catching commercial that acts as much as a mobile advertising platform as it does a working vehicle.  


Significantly updated in the later half of 2017 with an additional upgrade in early 2018, the new Dispatch is fundamentally different from its predecessor. Sitting slightly higher, the new rounded modular front presents a more aerodynamic look, a stylised Citroen grille and logo, narrowing swept back LED headlights along with increased ease of any potential repairs, most vans invariably subjected to the odd bump and bruise during their lifetime.


A steeply racked windscreen and A-pillar and wide opening doors allow access to the cabin although the lower roofline and step-up entry can catch out the unwary. Sliding cargo side doors provide an aperture just over half the width of the actual side profile whilst fold back 50:50 split rear doors and a low step/floor allow ease of access and loading. Riding on independent MacPherson struts and anti-torsion bar suspension on the front, independent trailing arm, coils and hydraulic dampers on the rear, 16” steel rims and 215/65 keep wheel and tyre maintenance costs down to a minimum.


Simplicity of design, ease of use, quick maintenance and durability mark out the new Dispatch cab as efficiency orientated. Textured, wipe clean surfaces, vinyl edged and high-backed adjustable seats with heavy-duty fabric inserts. A currently fashionable multi function, smaller diameter D-wheel sits just in front of the minimalist analogue instrumentation with a comprehensive readout located between the two clocks. Six push buttons and two rotary knobs control the climate whilst a 7” touch screen provides satnav, Bluetooth, DAB radio and infotainment. In the case of the 3-seater cab, a substantial hidden cubby is located beneath the centre seat whilst numerous deep bins are located elsewhere in the cab and in both doors along with the usual glovebox. There’s also two 12v sockets should more than one accessory require charging at once.


To the rear the load area provides a maximum load height of 1,397mm, minimal intrusion squared wheel arches offer a maximum load width of 1,628mm and an overall 5.6cu.m of load volume. Gross and kerb weights are 3,100kg and 1,613kg whilst the driver inclusive payload is 1,487kg with an additional 2,500kg maximum towing capacity. The full depth two-piece bulkhead also provides a drop down panel for longer, narrower loads to slide underneath the front passenger seat.


Physically low set, Euro6 spec diesel engine sizes and outputs range from 1,560cc to 1,997cc with 70kw up to 130kw, the 85kw or 115hp version on test. Mated to a high on the dash located short shift gearlever the 6-speed transmission is smooth and positive whilst just over two hundred test miles carrying a light load returned an average of 46.1mpg with an approximate range of just over 500 miles per 70 litre tank of diesel.


A wide expansive windscreen and large wing mirrors give the driver an uninterrupted view of the road ahead, of vehicles behind and ease of reversing. The 12.4m turning circle provides the Dispatch as tested with excellent maneuverability although the 3.75 turns lock to lock, even with the nicely weighted power steering can be an arm twirling exercise whilst the traction control system provides a welcome degree of stability when the van is running more or less empty. Minor criticisms aside, on the whole Citroen’s new Dispatch provides the occupants and cargo with a smooth, balanced ride, the cabin is comfortable and airy and provides a pleasant working environment over extended periods.


A noticeable advancement on the previous model, like all of the PSA Group commercials, various lease, hire and contract plans are available, all of which can be tailored to suit the individual’s needs. For the panel vans a comprehensive range of colours are also available as are additional trim and factory extra options. As seen here the BlueHDi 115M Stop&Start Enterprise with metallic paint, ‘Look’ pack, full bulkhead and honeycomb coated ply load area lining the OTR price is £29,286 including VAT whilst the basic Dispatch van comes in at £21,895 once again inclusive of VAT.


With many small businesses especially rural based ones now reliant on small to medium sized commercial vehicles as they continually diversify, Citroen’s latest Dispatch is a worthy consideration. Add in the various size and specification options and taxation benefits, they often make more practical sense than the once familiar 4x4 and trailer. And whilst the small to medium sized commercial segment is one of the most closely fought, even PSA announcing the return of the Vauxhall Vivaro commercial.


Buying or leasing small and medium sized commercials is most defiantly a buyer’s market, something RSA and the Citroen brand are acutely aware of. And should you need confirmation go take a look at the new Dispatch, a van that’s been significantly moved forward in looks, performance, ease of driving and ability to deliver both cargo and all round performance.          


          

                                               

By; Mark Stone