Mercedes-Benz Vans Australia says is still working out whether it makes sense to sell the second-generation Citan light-sized van here.
The new 2022 Citan premiered overnight in Stuttgart. As with the former model which never made it to Australia, it shares its bones with the Renault Kangoo.
“[We are] still assessing the suitability for our market. No decision to launch here has been made yet,” a Mercedes-Benz Vans Australia spokesperson told us today.
Mercedes-Benz will launch the Citan in both panel van and Tourer (people carrier) incarnations measuring 4498mm long with a 2716mm wheelbase, and promises a longer-wheelbase variant soon to haul bigger objects.
The company claims the SWB grade is roomier than before, with more than three metres in loading length with a flexible load-through partition fitted. Rear 180-degree barn doors are fitted, and you can opt for twin side sliding doors.
There are two Euro 6D combustion engines to start with: a 1.5-litre diesel in three tune states (topping out at 85kW/270Nm for the 112 CDI) and a 1.3-litre petrol in two tunes making 75kW/200Nm or 96kW/230Nm.
They’re mated to six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmissions. All models are front-wheel drive.
An eCitan electric van will join the range from the second half of 2022, with about 285km of range in WLTP tests and a 10-80 per cent recharge capability of 40 minutes. Mercedes also says to expect no losses in payload or towing.
The car-like underpinnings comprise a McPherson strut front with lower wishbones, and a torsion beam rear with coils. Mercedes says it changed the spring rate and damping tune over the Renault Kangoo to impart its own dynamic flavour.
While safety was a bit of an issue with the old Citan (its three-star Euro NCAP crash rating was one reason Mercedes-Benz Vans Australia never imported it) this new model promises improvements in that area too.
Up to seven airbags feature (in the MPV), as do all the requisite camera- and radar-based active safety systems.
The flagship infotainment system inside uses MBUX on a 7.0-inch touchscreen, and offers conversational voice control and real-time navigation.
A brand new version of the top-selling VW Caddy just went on sale in both van and MPV forms with various levels of spec, while Renault Australia’s new importer Ateco is expected to offer the latest Kangoo generation from 2022.
Playing on Mercedes-Benz’s mind is the relatively low scale of the light van segment in Australia. There have been more than 16,000 medium (2.5t-3.5t) vans sold this year (like the Vito), against just 924 sub-2.5t GVM vans.
In its favour is the fact Mercedes-Benz performs quite well in other van segments: the Vito has found 623 buyers this year for 3.9 per cent market share, while the Sprinter is the number-one heavy van on sale with 1761 sales YTD.