There is no quick way to design a heavyweight van that is 100 per cent perfect, and suits the requirements of everyone that buy it. Vans need to be reliable mechanically, and tough enough to cope with the variety of jobs that they are called on to do. At the same time, as an owner you will naturally want good fuel economy, a safe ride and have the sort of comfort that you probably would not have expected even from your family car ten years ago.
If you want to know if such a van exists, then the answer has to be a definite yes, as the Citroen Relay has all of these qualities and more. To win the award of Best Heavy Panel Van, you obviously need to be the best, and with the Relay it is safe to say the French company Citroen have come up with a winning formula.
Raising the standard for the rest to follow, the Relay went through more of an evolutionary facelift rather than something revolutionary in 2014. The 35 L3H2 HDI 130 now has a six-speed manual transmission, giving first-class performance, and adding to a rather distinctive mix of load carrying practicality.
The Relay offers the highest payload in its class. This is 1,525 kg, which is way ahead of its closest rival. The load compartment is also set out to deliver the maximum space and ease of loading and unloading.
As you would expect in today’s technological age, this van comes with a shed load of gadgets. These include air conditioning, sensors for parking, Bluetooth hands-free, sat nav, remote central locking, cruise control and touchscreen audio software.
It’s fuel efficient too, at 38.2mpg, and comes with state-of-the-art intelligent tracking control and underbody protection.
As well as offering standard panel vans, Citroen has new models for specialist purposes, which is an excellent idea. Included in the range, you have Luton vans, dropsides and tippers. These a quality conversion models that come with a full company warranty that covers the conversion job, and the chassis.
The Citroen Relay is a shining example of what to expect when a vehicle manufacturer gets everything right.