Monday 28 February 2011
We road test the 2004 Citroen Relay 2.8HDi LWB High Roof Enterprise which has always been among the front runners in the heavy panel van sector. With all the extra kit on board the Enterprise, it makes even better fleet sense.
Citroen is one of the most aggressive and enterprising marques on the market when it comes to selling vans.
So it is rather fitting that it has launched a new range of vehicles labelled Enterprise, which offer extra standard specification for a bargain basement price. Enterprise versions are available on all the Citroen range apart from the old C15 Champ.
On the model tested here, it means the van comes with ABS brakes, a driver's airbag and a CD player together worth £770, but at £19,650 ex-VAT, the van costs only £120 more than its standard brother. That apart, the Relay is as solid and impressive a performer as it has always been. It is one of the better-looking panel vans on the market today. There are masses of plastic at the front and rear to protect it from shunts and there are rubbing strips on each side, although curiously the wheelarches remain unprotected. A large Citroen badge on the bonnet leaves those around in no doubt as to who made it and the exhaust pipe sprouting from the side of the van gives it a rather feisty look. (all prices as of September 2009)
Entrance to the cab is via standard remote central locking and although the doors feel massive and solid, they snick shut nicely without a lot of banging. The driver's seat is a dream, which moulds to the body and contains an adjustable lumbar bar and left hand side arm rest. But the surprise is that the twin passenger seats are almost as good - none of your spindly old bus benches here. Both are moulded and prove comfortable.
The dashboard is a pleasant mix of style and functionality and contains lots of nooks and crannies for odds and ends and a central clipbboard that pops up to sit like a blackboard easel. The centre part of the middle seat's backrest folds down to form a handy desk complete with document clip and coffee cup holders. There is both a cigar lighter and a 12-volt take-off point on the centre console so drivers can charge their phones and light a fag at the same time. Both doors contain those all-important cola bottle bins. In the back, a ladder frame bulkhead comes as standard, along with a single side sliding door and rear doors which open to 180 degrees.
Our test van had an additional full steel bulkhead at £150, which made the van a lot quieter on the road. At the rear, there is a special step to help with loading and the sides are lined to waist height. I'd recommend full ply lining as a must as it is a cheap way of improving residual value at selling time.
On the road, the big 2.8-litre common rail diesel powerplant proves a lusty performer and will hustle this van up to illegal speeds in no time at all. I didn't test it loaded, but my guess is that the 127bhp engine would cope with a full cargo easily. The high driving position gives a good view of the road ahead and side mirrors the size of serving plates give a grand panorama of what's behind. Completing the pleasant driving experience, the dash-mounted gearlever has that notchy-but-nice feel that only a short-throw stick offers.
The Relay has always been among the front runners in the heavy panel van sector. Now with all the extra kit on board the Enterprise makes even better fleet sense.
Search for used Citroen Relay vans for sale
Search for used Citroen vans for sale