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Mercedes-Benz Citan 112: Small yet spacious city van

By Ghaith Madadha - Sep 09,2019 - Last updated at Sep 09,2019

Photos courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Compact, manoeuvrable, generously spacious and frugally efficient, the Mercedes-Benz Citan was first introduced in 2012 as the German manufacturer’s gambit into the small and practical van segment, and in many markets as a versatile MPV passenger car.

Ideally suited for busy urban roads, the Citan is a versatile, economic and right-sized transport solution for small businesses and lightweight goods transportation that is easy to park and drive in narrow roads, utilitarian in execution and smooth, comfortable and reassuring for open roads, long distances and highways too.

Available through the official Mercedes-Benz dealership in Jordan in turbocharged petrol and diesel versions as a long wheelbase panel van, the Citan is, however, also built in a short standard wheelbase and extra-long wheelbase. Across the broader model range, the Citan is also available as long five-seater family MPV and extra-long Mixto version with five-seats and closed off cargo area. For larger families or businesses requiring a more economical and manageable multi-passenger solution than large van-based MPVs or thirsty road-hogging SUVs, is the Citan seven-seat extra long wheelbase version.

 

The French connection

 

Developed as part of a technology sharing or exchange program between Mercedes-Benz and the Renault-Nissan alliance with both partners providing either platforms or components to each other for specific models, the Mercedes-Benz Citan is similarly based on the popular Renault Kangoo.

Benefitting from the French manufacturer’s long expertise with light front-drive commercial van and passenger MPV, albeit with German input, the petrol-powered Citan 112 driven features a same small yet prodigiously torque-dense turbocharged direct injection 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine widely and reliably used by Renault under the Energy TCe 115 moniker. 

Built with iron-carbon friction-reducing cylinder wall lining and featuring a stop/start system to reduce fuel consumption in heavy traffic, the Citan 112’s smooth, quiet and frugal fuel-sipping engine develops 112BHP at 4,500rpm and 140lb/ft torque throughout a broad 2,000-4,000rom band, it is estimated to allow for 0-100km/h acceleration in around 11.5-seconds and a top speed in the region of 175km/h. Fuel efficiency is meanwhile rated at 6.1l/100km on the combined cycle, and proved very efficient in more real world urban driving conditions, and using a more relaxed driving style.

 

Mid-range muscle

 

Exploiting its generous, broad and flat mid-range torque band to climb steep inclines, carry heavy loads and overtake briskly and confidently, the Citan 112 can call up an additional 11lb/ft for 20-second bursts at full throttle kickdown. 

At its most efficient at the low boost end of it rev range, the Citan 112 becomes thirstier during high rpm and sustained high boost driving where it runs on a rich air/fuel mixture, as all turbocharged vehicles. That said, the Citan 112 was surprisingly responsive and brisk at high boost.

Welling up with a muscularly thrusting urge not expected of this size engine as revs rise, the Citan 112 proved versatile and flexible in mid-range and plentiful at top end, despite comparatively low-revving engine characteristics.

Driving the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox with a light clutch and accurate pick-up point, the Citan’s gear lever is meanwhile positioned high and near the steering wheel for easy reach and clicks through ratios with firm yet accurate movements. Front disc and rear drum brakes also provide good response and reassuring fade resistance.

 

Refined and manoeuvrable

 

Riding on MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension design to accommodate a near half-tonne payload, the Citan would be expected to ride with a more grounded feel when loaded. However, during test drive at various conditions, roads and speeds, it felt reassuringly stable and unexpectedly refined from outside noise, harshness and vibrations.

Fitted with comparatively slim and high profile 195/65R15 tyres, the Citan also comfortably and reliably absorbed lumps, bumps, cracks and other imperfections. Its tyres also provided better feel from its light steering than anticipated.

If slightly bouncy at the rear over some imperfections when unloaded, the Citan, however, feels settled on rebound and well-controls body lean through corners for a narrow and tall vehicle. Turning in tidy and with good front grip and reassuring road-holding on exiting a corner, it is quite agile for a van and can be hustled through winding routes with almost car-like pace and confidence. Easily placed on road and with good front and side sightlines, the Citan’s tall steering meanwhile gearing requires more input than a smaller and sportier car. 

 

Pleasantly practical

 

Easy to manoeuvre in tight confines, the practical Citan features a very tight 10.7-metre turning circle, generous 148mm ground clearance, wide sliding side loading door and double 180° swing angle rear doors to provide nearly unfettered access to its massive 3,100-litre cargo compartment.

Comfortable and spacious for two passengers, the Citan’s cabin features useful storage space above the sun visors, while driving position is well-adjustable. Easy to park, the Citan could benefit from bigger side mirrors to offset the bigger blind spot created by its side rear panels

A smarter looking vehicle inside than most vans, the Citan’s driver focused cabin features big wide-swinging doors, driver-oriented dashboard, round vents horizontal handle hand brake handle, pleasantly understated fabric upholstery and user-friendly layouts.

Plastics used are of tough hard-wearing quality, while equipment level is good, and includes standard A/C, remote central locking, electric windows, ABS brakes, electronic stability control, hill start assist, USB and Bluetooth-enabled sound system, heated mirrors and other safety and convenience features.

 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Engine: 1.2-litre, transverse, turbocharged 4-cylinders
  • Bore x stroke: 72.2 x 73.2mm
  • Compression ratio: 10:1
  • Valve-train: 16-valve, DOHC, variable timing, direct injection
  • Gearbox: 6-speed manual, front-wheel-drive
  • Final drive: 4.438:1
  • Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 112 (114) [84] @4,500rpm
  • Specific power: 94.5BHP/litre
  • Power-to-weight: 85.3BHP/tonne
  • Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 140 (190) @2,000-4,000rpm
  • Specific torque: 159.4Nm/litre
  • Torque-to-weight: 144Nm/tonne
  • 0-100km/h: approximately 11.5-seconds (estimate)
  • Top speed: 175km/h (estimate)
  • Fuel consumption, urban/extra-urban/combined: 7.2-/5.4-/6.1-litres/100km
  • CO2 emissions, combined: 140g/km
  • Fuel capacity: 60-litres
  • Length: 4,321mm
  • Width: 1,829mm
  • Height: 1,816mm
  • Wheelbase: 2,697mm
  • Tread, F/R: 1,519/1,533
  • Kerb weight: approximately 1,320kg
  • Gross weight: 1,810kg
  • Load capacity: 490kg
  • Cargo volume: 3,100-litres
  • Cargo compartment, length/height/maximum width:    1,753/1,258/1,460mm
  • Suspension, F/R: MacPherson struts/torsion beam
  • Steering: Electric-assisted power steering
  • Turning circle: 10.7-metres
  • Brakes, F/R: Ventilated discs/drums
  • Tyres: 195/65R15
  • Price, JD15,500 (on-the-road, no insurance)

 

 

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