Citroën South Africa, which was established as a subsidiary of its French parent at the beginning of 2010, has expanded its product offering into the commercial vehicle segment of the local market after launching a stint of new passenger cars.
The new commercial vehicles are available as three panel van variants – New Berlingo, Dispatch and Relay with payloads ranging from 750kg to 1 850kg and cargo space stretching from 3,3m3 to 15m3. All the model ranges have a strong family resemblance in terms of styling and engineering layout. The previous generation Berlingo was marketed in SA between 2003 and 2009.
All Citroën commercial vehicles aim for a level of comfort found in passenger cars, with standard equipment including power windows. Ride comfort and loadability, together with active and passive safety, are a further strong consideration for the design and development teams when conceiving new commercial vehicles.
Besides the inherent security of a steel-bodied panel van there is automatic door locking when the vehicle is on the move and selective locking of the cabin and load area, as well as deadlocking.
Except for a petrol engine option in the Berlingo, the rest of the models use HDi turbo diesel power units mounted transversely driving the front wheels to maximise load carrying capability.
The economical engines combine with 20 000km/30 000km service intervals, (depending on the model) service plans and optional maintenance contracts and together with a 3-year/100 000km warranty combine to ensure low running costs which are vital in the current economic environment.
The new Berlingo is based on the platform of the C4 Picasso multi-purpose vehicle and places the emphasis on space, with two body lengths available – 4,38m or 4,63m – on a wheelbase of 2,73m.
The spacious van body allows two Euro pallets to be positioned one behind the other with 3,3m3 of space and a payload of 850kg for the shorter body and 3,7m3 and a 750kg payload for the longer version.
Access to the load area is via side-hinged rear doors and one or two sliding side doors. Both models can carry three people up front with a dashboard-mounted lever for the five-speed gearbox. The centre seat backrest folds to provide a desktop, while the seat itself provides a secure cubbyhole with a capacity or 7,5 litres.
The volume can be increased by 0,4m³ thanks to the innovative Extenso® seat.
The middle seat backrest can be folded forward to provide you with a desk on the move or fold the passenger seat completely flat to take on a load up to 3m on the L1 version and 3.25m on L2 versions.
Anti-skid brakes (ABS) and emergency braking assist (EBA) are standard on the New Berlingo, as is a driver’s side airbag with a passenger side airbag available as an optional extra. Other optional extras include manual air conditioning.
The New Berlingo is offered with a choice of 1,6-litre petrol or diesel engines, both delivering 66kW and driving the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox.
The medium sized Dispatch slots in between the New Berlingo and Relay.
It offers a load volume of 6m3 with a payload capability of 1 200kg and has the ability to carry a load of up to 2,6m in length. It also offers a host of convenient storage compartments in the cabin, including a lockable glove box, overhead stowage compartment and a cup-holder.
A must have for fragile cargo is the option of self-levelling air suspension at the rear, which can be used to lower the vehicle to less than 1,9m so it can access low-roofed car parks. There is also a 12V electric outlet socket in the centre of the dashboard to use with a mobile phone or laptop computer.
Safety levels are high, as one would expect from Citroën, with ABS, EBA, a standard driver’s side airbag and separate locking of the front and rear sections.
The Dispatch is offered with a 2-litre HDi turbo diesel engines delivering 88kW. All engines are mated to a six-speed manual transmission.
The Dispatch is also offered in an eight-seater passenger version which is carefully positioned to meet the needs of customers who like a well organised vehicle. The Dispatch passenger boasts a range of innovative equipment rarely seen in the LCV market, including automatic headlights, rain sensor windscreen wipers, rear parking sensors cruise control speed limiter, USB connection, Bluetooth and front and rear airconditoning.
Safety is enhanced by a total of four airbags, ESP, ABS, EBA.
The engine is powered by 100kW 2:0 HDi and is mated to a six speed manual gearbox.
The Relay is the largest vehicle in the current range on offer in South Africa. It comes in a variety of sizes – three overall lengths with two wheelbases and two body heights – which result in customers having the choice of load volumes ranging from 10m3 to 15m3. Access to the load area is made easy by the low sill (53-56cm, depending on the model) with rear swing doors that open to 180 degrees.
This is one of the few front-wheel drive panel vans that are rated at a gross vehicle weight of more than 3,5-tons. In the case of the Relay the GVM can increase to 4 000kg which allows for a payload of 1850kg. (It must be noted that a special licence is required to drive a vehicle of more than 3 500kg GVM).
There is plenty of storage space in the well-appointed cabin, with a centre console, lockable glove box big enough to hold under-seat stowage i.e. a laptop.
The Relay features an optional self-levelling rear suspension, with ABS and EBA for added safety and surefooted road manners.
The Relayis fitted with a choice of three diesel engines – the 2,2 HDi 100 (74kW), the 2,2 HDi 120 (88kW) and the 3,0 HDi 160 (115 kW). All three engines are mated to manual transmissions, with six gears for the HDi 120 and HDi 160 and five-gears for the HDi 100 models.
Warranty and Service Plans
Berlingo: 3year 100 000km warranty, 4 year 60 000km service plan
Dispatch: 3 year 100 000km warranty, 5 year 100 000km service plan
Relay: 3 year 100 000km warranty, 5 year 100 000km service plan
Pricing: (incl Vat)
Berlingo 1.6 9.0L1 R156 690.00
Berlingo HDI 90 L2 R189 190.00
Dispatch HDI 120 L2H1 Panel Van R274 100.00
Relay HDI 100 L2H1 Panel Van R281 050.00
Relay HDi 120 L3H2 Panel Van R308 400.00
Relay HDi 160 L4H2 Panel Van R360 400.00