How Reliable Are Citroen Vans?
Reliability is one of the top criteria for any commercial vehicle owner alongside load space, payload capacity and general practicality. Citroen achieved a top 5 finish in the annual Fleet News FN50 reliability survey in 2014 and 2018. They also finished sixth three years running between 2015 and 2017.
Since 1996, Citroen has produced a range of reliable vans, including the Berlingo, Dispatch and Relay. The fact that you still see a number of older Citroen vans on the road today is a testament to their build-quality, popularity and reliability.
Citroen Berlingo Reliability
Citroen's small van, the Berlingo, is one of the best-selling vans in Europe. Originally introduced into the UK commercial vehicle market in 1996, the third-generation Berlingo was released in 2018, instantly picking up the coveted International Van of the Year Award 2019.
In 2018, the Berlingo was named the fifth most reliable van in the FN50 reliability survey, beating its sister van - the Peugeot Partner. It also finished in the top 10 in four of the previous five years.
On the used market, the second generation Berlingo (2008 - 2018) improved upon the first generation's reliability with a new range of 1.6-litre diesel engines. It's a strong workhorse with brake discs that should last around 60,000 miles and a resilient clutch. The only issue that mechanics report with any regularity is water getting into the fuse box which is a relatively straightforward fix costing between £80 - £200.
The latest third generation model has carried over a number of engines, features and components from the previous Berlingo. The engines were updated in 2015 to Euro 6 compliant, award-winning BlueHDi units which are also used in Citroen's passenger car range.
All new versions come with a three year/100,000 mile warranty - the first two years of which actually offer unlimited mileage. In addition, service intervals have increased from every 12,500 miles to 15,000 miles.
Citroen Dispatch Reliability
Also introduced in 1996, the Citroen Dispatch bridged the gap between a small compact van and the larger panel vans. The first generation only offered a load area up to 4m³ - most small vans can now be configured to offer this level of space.
In 2007, the Dispatch was updated to be better in almost every way compared to its predecessor with three different cargo volumes available which could also carry heavier loads.
Dispatch owners responding to the RAC's 'What Goes Wrong' survey were largely satisfied with the MK2 model reporting that the HDi diesel engines were extremely reliable and economical. One company managed to run its Dispatch for 315,000 miles with only one clutch replacement.
The current third generation model was released in 2016 having been completely redesigned from the ground up using PSA's Efficient Modular 2 platform. However, the Euro 6 compliant 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre BlueHDi diesel engines that proved to be so reliable were carried over from the previous version.
A new 1.5-litre engine was released into the range from May 2019, replacing the 1.6-litre units in order to meet the more stringent Euro 6D regulations. This 'new' engine has been used in Citroen passenger cars for a number of years, so there isn't any cause for concern in terms of its reliability.
Despite some recalls regarding issues with the suspension, steering and other elements, the Dispatch remains a very capable and reliable medium-sized van.
Citroen Relay Reliability
Citroen released the Relay large van in 2006 and, despite only having minor updates throughout its lifetime, continues to offer value, efficiency and practicality.
The original 2.2-litre diesel engines were downsized to newly-developed 2.0-litre BlueHDi units in 2016 to comply with the latest Euro 6 emissions which actually resulted in an increase in power and efficiency across the range.
The Relay is able to boast a solid reliability record, although the drop links that connect the anti-roll bar to the suspension wishbone tend to wear out after 20,000 miles. Fortunately, they're relatively cheap and easy to replace.
Some owners have reported starting and running problems with the older 2.2-litre HDi engines, but these appear to be relatively isolated incidents. For peace of mind, if you're looking at an older used Relay, check the service history carefully.
Pre-Euro 6 Relays had 25,000-mile service intervals which was extended to 30,000 miles with the introduction of the 2.0-litre engines which were extensively tested in commercial vehicle-specific conditions.