Mercedes-Benz eCitan van review (2023)

The Mercedes-Benz eCitan offers a touch of posh in the small electric van class

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0


  • Smooth and quiet to drive
  • Strong safety kit
  • Posh cabin features
  • Rapid charging available


  • Only one battery/motor combo
  • Costs more than rivals
  • Payload not as big as diesels
  • Range still under 200 miles
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Mercedes has not had a small electric van before. In fact after first launching the eVito more than 10 years ago the thought of an electrified version of the Citan had barely registered an interest, but finally, the Mercedes-Benz eCitan has hit the market.

The eCitan is identical to its diesel Citan counterpart, except for the powertrain. This also means it shares a chassis, motor and battery pack with the Renault Kangoo E-Tech and the Nissan Townstar Electric to which it is closely related.

Mercedes differentiates itself from these two vehicles with a unique interior and more comprehensive aftersales package.

Although it is the smallest electric van in the Mercedes range, it’s not an overly small van. The previous generation Citan was undersized compared to its rivals but this new model is considerably bigger. Speaking of rivals, not only a direct competitor to the Renault and Nissan but the wealth of Stellantis-made small vans that include the Citroen e-Berlingo, Fiat E-Doblo, Peugeot e-Partner, Toyota Proace City and Vauxhall Combo Electric.

The Mercedes eCitan shares lots with Renault and Nissan rivals.

Power comes from a 122hp (90kW) motor producing 245Nm of torque, with the power supplied by a 45kWh battery. It’s the only choice of power output in the range and is just slightly less powerful than the top-rated diesel engine which is available with 131hp (the equivalent of 96kW).

Verdict: is the Mercedes-Benz eCitan any good?

Definitely. It might be Mercedes’ first attempt at a small electric van, but the eCitan is based on a best-in-class platform with more than a decade of Renault expertise behind it.

The premium Mercedes badge might be a good thing or bad – depending on your view – but the upgraded interior you get with a Mercedes van lifts the eCitan, improving safety and tech features.

You get a little more than just a posher badge when you opt for the Merc over its siblings.

It handles well, is quiet and comfortable to be in and it’s not shy of being able to do proper work as well. It’s all round a very accomplished electric van. Is it the best? Well, the Citroen e-Berlingo can carry more - in both payload and dimensions - and if you want the eCitan's capabilities you can get them from Renault for less money.

Mercedes-Benz eCitan driving experience

4.3 out of 5 4.3
  • Quiet to be in
  • Easy to drive
  • Comfortable ride

Although not the most powerful of vans, the 122hp electric motor is plenty powerful enough for the eCitan. The instant 245Nm of torque from a standstill is enough to get even a heavily laden van moving and, because of the lack of gearshifts, it feels just as fast as the more powerful highest output diesel van. In fact, those used to a diesel will be shocked by the Citan's instant get-up-and-go, with performance up to 30mph enough to shame even a petrol sports car.

Where Mercedes usually excels itself in its electric vehicles is in the flexibility of the drivetrain with its numerous settings. Because this is a shared product with Renault, however, there are fewer Mercedes-like elements, which does detract a little from the experience.

Mercedes-Benz eCitan is the brand's first electric small van

The eCitan only gets D-, D and D+ modes compared to the five settings you’d find in a eVito or eSprinter. While that may sound like a minor thing, it does mean that you have a little less flexibility with how you like to drive your electric van.

The eCitan offers a simple driving experience.

The regular D mode is capable enough to just leave the eCitan in for normal driving but the multiple modes of the larger vans allow you to really customise the experience, fine tuning it for different scenarios. As it stands with the eCitan there is a heavier braking mode (D-) and a coasting mode (D+) but it’s not as nuanced as those familiar with the Mercedes range have come to expect.

Comfort and stability

For the majority of drivers that won’t be a problem. The eCitan has good overall visibility and is comfortable to be in for long periods of time. Understandably there’s little difference between it and a Renault Kangoo E-Tech, but it is slightly softer in its ride comfort than the Citroen e-Berlingo and other Stellantis models. Its wide body and stance on the road also makes it feel more planted than the competition, adding to its handling and overall sure-footed feeling.

The eCitan offers a comfortable ride and accomplished handling.

Those hoping for an engaging drive should look elsewhere, but since the demise of the Ford-designed Transit Connect that's been the case for all small vans. The eCitan does have nicely direct steering and it's accurate and easy to position on the road.

Mercedes-Benz eCitan cabin & interior

4.3 out of 5 4.3
  • Reasonable cabin space
  • Smart looking interior
  • Good level of tech and safety

There’s a noticeable difference between the previous Citan and the new model, which the eCitan benefits from when in the cabin. The main difference is space. The new platform is wider giving more elbow room and a less claustrophobic feel. There’s more space around your legs and you’re not as close to your passenger. It’s the same story you’ll find with the Renault Kangoo E-Tech, but as this is Merc’s first small electric van it’s good that it's got it right from the beginning. Width is one thing, however taller drivers will find themselves hemmed in and unable to put the seat back as far as they'd like - an issue in many small vans but noticeable here. The seats are comfortable but the central armrest is made of hard plastic.

The main difference between the Renault and the Mercedes is the upgrades to the materials used in the cabin. The Merc gets its own set of styling cues with piano black surrounds for air vents and the instrument panel on the higher of the two trim levels.

There are Mercedes-specific touches in the eCitan's cabin.

This does add a level of luxury that you don't get in most small vans, though Mercedes' piecemeal approach to upgrading switchgear does somewhat spoil the impression of luxury. While you get Merc air vents and a nice leather-wrapped Merc steering wheel, you still start the van with a power button shared with the budget Dacia range.

There's a 7.0-inch touchscreen that runs the MBUX operating system. This does get you plenty of nice extras, such as a clever sat-nav optimised for electric driving with information on charge points, plus the useful MBUX voice command system. It does feel rather dated in operation though, with massive bezels marking it out as a handover from Merc's older passenger cars. The touchscreen in the Kangoo equivalent is easier to use, and simply plugging into Apple CarPlay or Android Auto is easier still - albeit without the EV-specific goodies.

Some elements lend a touch of luxury in the eCitan's cabin, others are borrowed from cheaper models.

It's a quiet cabin to be in, with little in the way of wind or road noise. There is a slight drone from the motor at low speeds but it’s not overly invasive. Cabin storage isn't the best, though. The door bins aren't particularly large and nor is the glovebox - and while you get a covered storage bin on top of the dash, good luck accessing it while driving. Phones, meanwhile, will be relegated to a tray almost on the floor.

Mercedes-Benz eCitan running costs & value

3.9 out of 5 3.9
  • Higher starting price than rivals
  • Two trim levels available
  • Both offer a decent level of standard kit

Pricing for the eCitan is quite punchy when compared to its main rivals, thanks in part to Mercedes-Benz UK's approach to trim levels. There are just the two models on offer in the UK, with no Base version that strips out a chunk of the kit of the higher models in a bid to lower the starting price. So the entry-level £33,995 (not including VAT or the Plug-in Van Grant) price is higher than the cheapest version of the rival Citroen Berlingo van and indeed than the Renault Kangoo E-Tech which is basically the same vehicle underneath the badging.

The two trims are Progressive and Premium and you get a fair amount of equipment included as standard, in terms of technology, driver assistance and safety.

Safety equipment levels are decent on the eCitan.

Mercedes-Benz eCitan warranty

The eCitan comes with an unlimited mileage warranty that lasts for three years. The battery gets a longer warranty in terms of time but it does come with a mileage cap - you get cover for eight years and 100,000 miles.

Mercedes-Benz eCitan standard equipment

The eCitan specification is not far off that of the diesel versions, bar some equipment only an EV could offer. There are two comparatively well-equipped trims named Progressive and Premium, with no Base trim, as there is elsewhere in Europe. UK buyers expect a level of luxury from Mercedes vans, so the Base trim's plain dashboard and few simple bits of kit such as rear parking sensors and hill-start assist wouldn't cut it

The Progressive comes with features such as the following:

  • Climate control with pre-conditioning
  • Heated driver and passenger seat
  • Auto lights and wipers
  • Heated windscreen
  • Rear parking assist
  • Multifunction steering wheel
  • Heated and powered door mirrors
  • Rear parking sensors and reversing camera
  • MBUX infotainment system with smartphone integration
  • Satellite navigation with three years of map updates
  • Cruise control
  • Keyless entry and start
  • Electric parking brake

The Premium is a largely visual upgrade, with the following added:

  • Body coloured bumpers
  • Metallic paint
  • 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Gloss black and chrome interior details
  • Highbeam assist LED headlights and LED fog lights

Mercedes-Benz eCitan reliability, common problems & faults

4 out of 5 4.0

It’s still early days for the reliability of the eCitan to be assessed, but the previous generation of Renault Kangoo electric vans have on the whole proven to be a dependable model over time. There’s little doubt that, despite a change in chassis, the overall running gear of the new vans would be just as reliable.

Mercedes wants to keep a high level of customer service with its vans, and as such the first four services - two major, and two minor - will be provided free of charge. This has to be beneficial in keeping most eCitans well-maintained and reliable for their first few years on the road.

Mercedes-Benz eCitan safety & security

4.1 out of 5 4.1
  • High levels of standard safety equipment
  • Useful rear parking sensors
  • Class leading equipment

Mercedes prides itself on the levels of safety equipment it offers in its vans, and the eCitan is no different. There’s a huge range of standard equipment from features we’ve become accustomed to on Merc vans like crosswind assist to new standard items like speed limit assist with traffic sign recognition to help you stay within the law. While much of the competition has been increasing their standard offering, it feels like Mercedes has been able to go one step ahead of its rivals.

The standard kit levels are good on the UK-bound eCitan.

Its safety equipment is the defining feature, aside from the badge, that sets the eCitan apart from its Renault Kangoo E-Tech sibling. The below is all offered as standard:

  • Crosswind Assist
  • Attention Assist
  • Active Brake Assist
  • Active Lane Keeping Assist
  • Blind Spot Assist
  • Speed Limit Assist with traffic sign recognition

This tech is, by and large, very unobtrusive, which is good - it means drivers are less likely to turn it off at the start of every journey.

There is also a fantastic level of airbags - so often an area where vans fall short. The eCitan comes with no fewer than six, which is a distinct improvement on the solitary driver's airbag that many offer.

There is also a rare feature for a van of any kind - an Isofix point for a child's car seat with automatic airbag deactivation. This is really handy for those who want to do the school run on their way to or from work.

Which Mercedes-Benz eCitan is best for me?

The Progressive trim looks by far the better bet of the two versions on paper, as it comes with all the useful stuff at an admittedly slightly higher price than the core rivals. The Premium version only really adds cosmetic features, which might be appealing to those wanting to make a statement with their van, but we'd save the cash and put it towards some eye-catching signage for the outside of the vehicle.

There is only the one battery and motor available and, at the time of launch, just the one length. A longer version will join the range later, though. If the Mercedes gets the same stronger rear axle as the Renault and Nissan, then this might be the one to go for as it offers a higher payload and more space. Normally a larger van gets a slightly lower payload than its smaller equivalent, as the extra body adds to the weight of the vehicle, therefore reducing the amount of weight you can carry.