High payloads and high-tech kit, but cramped behind the wheel
- Competitively priced
- Powerful and torquey engines
- Low running costs
- Dark and cramped cabin
- Poor visibility
- Small storage compartments
Completely redesigned from the ground up and using the new Efficient Modular Platform 2 that also underpins the latest Peugeot Expert, the third-generation Citroen Dispatch is great to drive and offers a wide range of comfort and driver assist systems while retaining its traditional strengths of practicality and efficiency.
The new cab, however, is quite cramped and claustrophobic, and doesn’t have the same levels of fit-and-finish as the VW Transporter or Ford Transit Custom. There are now three load lengths (though the option of a taller roof has been withdrawn), five engines, three weight options and a trio of trim levels.
But it is one of the most affordable medium vans to run and buy.
Read on for the full Citroen Dispatch 2016 review on Parkers Vans
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Citroen has made huge improvements to the Dispatch’s ride and handling. The new model has a very low centre of gravity (the engine sits a lot lower than the faux grille between the headlights) which results in better driving characteristics and less bodyroll going into bends.
Another huge upside to the new Citroen Dispatch is the wide range of engines and transmissions. The 1.6-litre engine is available with a 95hp/210Nm output (with five-speed manual or six-manual automated manual gearboxes) or 116hp/300Nm with a six-speed manual.
The larger 2.0-litre engine is available with 122hp/340Nm, 150hp/370Nm (both six-speed manual) or 180hp/400Nm output with a six-speed automatic. Apart from the entry-level 95hp output, which could feel a little anaemic under heavy loads, all outputs are sprightly although gearchanges on the six-speed automatic are quite slow.
Climbing into the cab, one disadvantage becomes immediately apparent. The low seating position and high dashboard means that visibility has been compromised and the small cab is dark and cramped.
The driving position on right-hand drive models is also noticably offset, meaning that the steering wheel and pedals don't line up, forcing you to sit slightly twisted.
There are quite a number of small storage compartments, although the only decent-sized space is located underneath the passenger bench and can only be accessed when the passenger door is open. The quality isn’t quite up to the standard of the competition either and the panel covering the bulkhead has been cut poorly and there are big gaps around the edges.
The Dispatch does, however, have an impressive amount of kit on the specification list. Base X models come with cruise control, remote-control central-locking and a DAB radio with Bluetooth and ports for USB and auxiliary connections.
The higher-spec models are also available with a seven-inch touchscreen display that incorporates a mirror screen function to allow access to smartphone-based apps via the screen. This system can also host the intuitive 3D Connect sat-nav, which can provide information on services such as location and pricing for fuel stations and car parks as well as live weather information.
Citroen’s innovative Park Assist 180 goes one step further than the conventional reversing camera and front and rear parking sensors by zooming in on obstacles to provide a more precise display of the remaining distance.
With low starting prices, the new Citroen Dispatch is looks very affordable compared with most of the competition. A lot of Citroen’s well-respected Business Centre dealerships offer good deals on products, too.
But if you're planning to buy on finance, you may find more desirable rivals have lower monthly costs. So check before you sign on the dotted line...
Ownership is also very affordable. The new engines return between 48.7mpg and a class-leading 55.3mpg on the combined fuel economy cycle. Service intervals are set at a fairly lengthy 25,000 miles or two years, whichever comes first.
Citroen has gone down the SCR (selective catalytic reduction) route for Euro 6 compliancy, which means AdBlue has been introduced. This is stored in a 22.4-litre tank, an amount providing a range of 9,320 miles. In theory.
Citroen is using the same 1.6- and 2.0-litre engines, which proved to be fairly reliable with the previous generation.
All Citroen vans come with a three-year/100,000-mile warranty, although the first two years are unlimited mileage.
There’s no doubting that vans are becoming a lot safer with each generation, and the new Citroen Dispatch is testament to that. A whole host of new safety systems has been introduced, like adaptive cruise control and speed limiter, road sign recognition, driver attention alert and active safety brake.
Forward-facing cameras are able to 'read' road signs and then warn the driver or even pre-set the speed in the cruise control if they are exceeding the speed limit. The cameras can also detect an impending collision, which sends a signal to the driver and prepares the brake for maximum braking force.
Driver attention alert monitors the driver’s behaviour, reactions and body movements to sense fatigue, and recommends breaks if necessary.