Your right hand van? Quite possibly.
So what’s it like on the move? Well, from behind the wheel, the commandingly high driving position gives you a good view out across the bonnet which makes the Dispatch easy to place in tight urban situations. Light steering and a relatively tight turning circle contribute here too. Under the skin, the Dispatch’s ‘EMP2’ family car platform has considerably improved its driving dynamics, this mid-sized LCV now able to ride over poor road surfaces with a calm and composure that most rivals can’t match. Helping in this regard is a suspension design using adaptive shock absorbers that provide excellent control, no matter how much weight is on-board. At higher speeds, you get some wind and road noise but through the bends, the handling is surprisingly stable and there’s plenty of grip.
Under the bonnet, there’s a choice of five BlueHDi diesel engines, with drivers choosing from a range of efficient 1. 6 or 2. 0-litre BlueHDi units. Go for the 1. 6 and there’s a choice of 95 or 115bhp outputs, the former with the option of ‘ETG6’ clutch-less transmission. We’d be tempted though, by the extra torque for the 2. 0-litre engines, all able to tow up to 2. 5-tonnes. The 120bhp unit, able to return up to 53. 3mpg on the combined cycle and up to 139g/km of CO2. There’s also a 150bhp variant and a flagship 180bhp model that must be ordered with ‘EAT6’ auto transmission.
Time to look at the cargo area in a little more detail. Even the ‘XS’ bodystyle offers 4. 6m3 of capacity and 2,162mm of floor length – enough to carry two fully loaded Europallets, which is pretty impressive given that in this form, your Dispatch would be only 4. 6m long. The mid-range ‘M’ bodyshape has 5. 3m3 and 2,512mm of floor length, go for the top ‘XL’ bodystyle and you’re looking at 6. 1m3 and 2,862mm of floor length.
Don’t make your decision between these three bodyshapes until you’ve taken into account the potential extra capacity that can be freed up by a very clever extra feature that’s been incorporated into the third generation Dispatch design – the ‘Moduwork’ load-through bulkhead. It’s a standard inclusion provided you avoid entry-level trim and whichever bodystyle you choose, it can add a useful 1,162mm to the overall loading length and 0. 5m3 to the overall carriage capacity.
This is easily the most credible mid-sized van Citroen has ever brought us and much of the reason why lies with the light, stiff ‘EMP2’ platform it sits upon. This is more sophisticated than the cruder underpinnings that most rivals use, so can support cutting-edge electronics, at the same time as allowing this Citroen to deliver a more absorbent standard of ride.
As for problems with this LCV, well there aren’t too many and they tend to be things that may not bother many potential company drivers very much.
Otherwise, the Dispatch’s main issue probably lies in the fact that much the same package at much the same price is available badged as either a Peugeot Expert or a Toyota Proace. This model’s advantage over these two design stablemates probably lies less in product design and more in after-sales service. Citroen has been a major player in the LCV industry for longer than Peugeot or Toyota, which is why the brand has a larger and more experienced ‘Citroen Business Centre’ dealer network.
In short, it’s a package that should get the job done. Which of course, is what driving a van should be all about.