Review: Citroen Dispatch (2016)
Excellent official fuel economy figures, useful hi-tech features, smooth and refined drive.
Automatic gearbox restricted to two engine variants, no high-roof option.
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Citroen Dispatch (2016): At A Glance
Developed as part of a joint venture between Citroen, Peugeot and Toyota, the new Dispatch provides significant improvements over the outgoing model, with higher carrying capacities, lower running costs and improved refinement.
The Dispatch will carry a maximum payload of 1400kg and will easily move up to three Euro pallets in one go. The new van is also capable of towing 2.5 tonnes when hooked up to a braked trailer, which is 500kg more than the old van. It’s available in van, crew van and chassis cab bodystyles.
Engines range from 1.6-litre to 2.0-litre BlueHDi diesels, with power outputs ranging from 95PS to 180PS, with automatic transmission optional on the entry-level motor and mandatory on the highest power output. All will return more than 50mpg on paper, with Citroen claiming 55.4mpg for the best-performing 1.6 BlueHDi 115. This gives the Dispatch a significant on-paper running cost advantage over rivals from Volkswagen, Ford, Renault, Vauxhall and Mercedes-Benz.
Three body lengths are available - M, XL and XS. In its smallest wheelbase, the Dispatch will carry lengths of 3.3m, but this increases to 4.0m in the XS versions. The interior has a clean look, with all models providing a central seven-inch touchscreen as standard. It also has a ‘mirror screen’ function, compatible with Mirror Link and Apple CarPlay technology, allowing certain smartphone apps to be accessed and controlled from the van’s dashboard screen.
The Dispatch gets a number of new features over the old model, with hands-free sliding doors that can be accessed with a simple foot motion. The loadspace bulkhead also gets a handy flap at the base, allowing you to utilise the vehicle's full length by sliding pipes, planks of wood or a ladder under the front passenger's seat.
The cabin gets more car-like features, with an optional seven-inch TomTom touchscreen displaying navigation and traffic alerts. All Experts get two seats as standard, while higher spec models get the option of three. Crew cab versions to carry up to six.
Cheap to run, comfortable and extremely practical, the Dispatch improves on its predecessor on every level. Admittedly, some might criticise the lack of high-roof option, but Citroen's medium-sized van remains one of the best in its segment for day-to-day usability and costs.
Essential knowledge: 10 things you need to know about the Citroen Dispatch
What does a Citroen Dispatch (2016) cost?
Buy a used Citroen Dispatch from £12,995
Citroen Dispatch (2016): What's It Like Inside?
The Dispatch looks and feels like a more capable van than its predecessors. The seating position is higher than before, giving the driver an improved view of the road ahead, and it also helps with the packaging of the load area. But despite the higher driving position, the van’s height at 1.9m means it can still fit in a multi-storey car park.
The side doors can be specified as hands-free, allowing them to be opened when a proximity sensor at the rear is activated by movement of the foot under the corner of the rear bumper. The vehicle unlocks and the sliding side door on the relevant side opens automatically.
The Dispatch has a load volume ranging from 5.1 cubic metres to 6.6 cubic metres, depending on specification. The front passenger seat has a modular design, and a special bulkhead and a flat floor extends the maximum load length of the New Dispatch by an extra 1.16m on the passenger side.
Payloads range from just under 1100kg to just over 1400kg depending on size, number of seats and engine. It’s available in van, crew van and chassis cab variants.
To cater for those who use their vans as a mobile office the central arm rest lowers to provide a pivoting table with an elastic and adhesive strip to keep objects in place (such as PCs or tablets). In addition, special holders for smartphones and tablets are available as accessories.
The front of the cab is home to a lower glove box with a jack, 12V socket and USB socket. The storage space under the passenger seat is large enough for a pair of shoes or a hard-hat. Cup holders are specified on both sides of the dashboard. A central upper storage area and two door bins large enough for 1.5-litre bottles of water also add to the mobile office credentials of the dispatch.
What's the Citroen Dispatch (2016) like to drive?
Citroen offers a choice of five power outputs with the Dispatch, from two different engines: a 1.6 Blue HDi and a 2.0 BlueHDi, both of which require AdBlue to help cut exhaust emissions.
The engine line-up starts with a 95PS 1.6 BlueHDi producing 210Nm of torque at 1500rpm. It has a five-speed manual gearbox and will reach 62mph from rest in 15.5 seconds. The automatic option on this is an a torque converter auto. The manual has CO2 emissions from 144g/km and fuel claimed economy of 51.4mpg.
The 115PS version of the 1.6 BlueHDi packs more power, with 300Nm of torque at 1750rpm. It comes with stop/start technology as standard and will return an official 55.4mpg. The version we drove was carrying a 300kg load, and provided smooth progress with ample acceleration and car-like steering responses. It also offers a great balance of performance and running costs.
Citroen also offers a 120PS Dispatch with the 2.0-litre BlueHDi engine, and while it might seem odd to offer similar power outputs from two different engines, the larger one has substantially more torque at 340Nm as well as a much higher maximum towing limit. It will pull up to 2500kg (braked) compared with 1800-2000kg for the 1.6 BlueHDi, depending on specification. The 120PS version is offered with a manual or EAT8 automatic transmission.
The 150PS 2.0 BlueHDi feels a lot more responsive than the 1.6, and might have more appeal for an owner-driver with a slightly more relaxed gait at higher speeds, while the range topping 180PS 2.0 BlueHDi will only interest those who regularly need to utilise the Dispatch's 2.5 tonne towing capacity and 1.5 tonne payload. The 180PS is linked to a torque converter automatic shift gearbox as standard.
The Dispatch is also available with a head-up display for the first time – a sector first. A transparent screen in the driver’s eye-line can show essential driving information (actual and recommended speed, cruise control/speed limiter setting, navigation instructions, and collision risk alerts).
Speed limits are read from road signs, so there is no way to remind drivers of lower LCV speed limits. Other options include an automatic dipping main beam, a 180 degree rear camera function and some are available with Citroen’s Grip Control, which improves traction on slippery surfaces.
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