Citan van – Merc bakes a French loafComment on this story
This, Mesdames et Messieurs, is the Citan, Mercedes-Benz' new delivery van, in official pictures released by Stuttgart several months ahead of its formal debut at the Hanover commercial vehicle show in September.
And if you think you're suffering from déjà vu all over again, you're right. The Citan is a rebadged Renault Kangoo, born as the fruit of the recent Daimler/Renault tie-up, and will actually be built alongside the Kangoo at Renault's plant in Maubeuge, France.
But it does at least reflect current Mercedes styling cues (as on the new A-Class) in its headlight clusters and V-shaped bonnet above a special three-slat grille with a big, chromed tri-star in the middle, and trapezoidal lower air intake - all of which are bolt-on parts, so you could convert a Kango into a Citan and vice versa without any structural modifications.
TOUCH OF CLASS
Inside, there are Mercedes-style gauges in a standard Kangoo dashboard, complete with remote gear lever, and a nice Mercedes steering wheel to lend a touch of class.
Like the Kangoo, the front-wheel drive Citan will be available in three lengths - Compact (3.94m), Long (4.32m) and Extra-Long (4.71m) - as well as three layouts (Panel van, Crew Bus and a four-seater combination called Mixto).
Citan customers will also have a choice of three direct-injection turbodiesels - rated from 55 to 81kW - and an 83kW supercharged petrol engine.
Transmission will be by either five or six-speed manual 'box depending on the model.
'Green tech' features such as idle stop, on-demand ancillaries and low rolling-resistance tyres will be standard on petrol models and optional on the diesels.
All Citans will also come with an adaptive electronic stability programme that weighs the load and integrates the anti-locking braking, vehicle dynamic control, and traction control systems to suit.
The Citan will be on sale in Europe by the end of 2012. The decision isn't set in stone yet, but it's likely we'll see it in South Africa in mid-2013.