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MENTIONED IN DISPATCHES (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Citroen reckons that this third generation Dispatch van is its most important commercial vehicle introduction for two decades. Jonathan Crouch checks out what's on offer.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 61
The Dispatch is Citroen's idea of what a medium-sized van should be and goes up against some tough LCV rivals in this sector like Ford's Transit Custom and Volkswagen's Transporter. Style, size and technology are all factors that now rank in this much improved third generation model's favour though, in a package that has much to offer in its tightly-fought segment.
Backgroundword count: 175
With this latest generation Dispatch, Citroen aims to almost double its market share in the LCV sector, so this van had better be very good indeed in this MK3 model guise. This is Citroen's new-generation Euro6-compatible entry in the volume medium-range van sector, where VW Transporters, Vauxhall Vivaros, Mercedes Vitos, Renault Trafics and Ford Transit Custom models rule the roost. Taking on this lot isn't something you'd want to do single-handed, so the French brand has chosen to share this design not only with its partner Peugeot's Expert model, but also with Toyota's Proace and Fiat's Talento: all these vans share the same platform. The previous generation version of this vehicle didn't significantly trouble the main players in this segment. This MK3 model though, has got itself sorted out, with more sophisticated design and larger load volumes that rival anything in the class. You get clever design, proven engines and low running costs in a package that certainly works on paper. Whether it'll cut the mustard day-in-day-out though is what we're here to find out.
Driving Experienceword count: 272
Citroen reckons that the handling on this MK3 model Dispatch is much improved, narrowing the dynamic gap in this regard to the class-leading Transit Custom. Engine choice in a Dispatch is pretty straightforward, provided you've a clear idea of the kind of work you want it to do. Sensibly, all the Euro6 units on offer are diesels and if your needs are mainly based around lighter loads and short distance urban work, then the entry-level 95bhp 1.6-litre BlueHDi unit may well be quite sufficient: this engine's also offered with 115bhp. For heavier payloads and longer journeys however, you'll be needing the 2.0-litre BlueHDi model which gives you a lot more pulling power and is available with either 120, 150 or 180bhp, the most powerful unit mated to the brand's efficient EAT6 auto transmission. A key factor behind the success of the previous generation Dispatch was the way it remained compact and wieldy in the manner of smaller, more car-like vans from the class below. This model's bigger of course, but it retains much of that same usability around town and rides much better thanks to revised suspension and a stiffer EMP2 platform. Special wishbone filtering dampens the impacts of our country's terrible tarmac and the variable stiffness springs and shock absorbers deliver surprising levels of comfort whether the vehicle is loaded or unloaded. Citroen also claims that refinement is much improved this time round. And, as before, there's the option of a Grip Control traction system. We also like the 'Driving time warning system' which flashes up a dash warning after two hours of uninterrupted driving at speeds of 40mph and above.