Review: Citroen Relay (2006)
One of the largest vans in its class, wide choice of wheelbases and heights, punchy engines, suited to heavy work and towing, comfortable ride and good handling.
Drab plastics and the passenger bench seat is not as comfortable as it should be for long distances, noisy at all speeds.
Recently Added To This Review
Following the success of New Berlingo Van and Dispatch, Relay gains Worker and Driver versions from July 2019 production. Benefits across the range will include new equipment and new Euro6.2 compliant... Read more
While the basic profile of the van is unchanged, the Relay does get a new front end with high-mounted headlights that are more angular than before and a new multi-piece front bumper design with a flowing... Read more
Citroen updates the entire Relay engine line-up to meet Euro 5 emissions legislations. It sees power increases of 12.5% across the board, with further improvements to fuel economy and emissions. Read more
Citroen Relay (2006): At A Glance
- On average it achieves 89% of the official MPG figure
Jointly developed with Fiat and Peugeot, the Relay is a good large van that majors on carrying big loads for the lowest possible cost. This explains why it is one of the few serious threats to the Ford Transit’s superiority in this corner of the market.
The workmanlike appearance of the Citroen Relay’s cab tells you all you need to know about this van. It’s here to work and do a job, and do it well. This sums up the Relay’s approach to life and the cab offers a high-set driving position to give a great view of the road ahead. There’s also good vision from the side windows, though reversing can be tricky due to the Relay’s size. Load volumes span from eight to 17 cubic metres, while all get a useful 1.4 metres between the wheel arches. Payloads range from 1155kg to 1900kg.
All Relay models get navigation as standard in all models. This helps separate the Relay from its large van rivals and is a good selling point; however you have to spec up to Enterprise trim to get air conditioning and parking sensors.
The Relay comes with a choice of four body lengths, three roof heights and a spread of 110PS, 130PS and 150PS 2.2-litre turbodiesel engines and a 3.0-litre turbodiesel with 180PS. In 2016 Citroen introduced a range of Euro6 2.0 BlueHDi engines, with lower running costs and emissions. Power outputs, however, remain virtually unchanged.
The Relay has some of the lowest running costs in its class, with advertised fuel economy peaking at 48.7mpg for panel van versions and 42.8mpg for dropsides. What might put you off the Relay is the amount of wind and road noise that can be heard in the cabin.
While the engines are decently quiet and keep themselves to themselves at higher speeds, the amount of whistle and grumble from wind and road can leave you wishing for a set of earplugs. The ride is also quite bumpy when the van is lightly loaded. This is a real shame for the Relay, especially when the Ford Transit is noted for its quiet and comfortable nature.
Used Buying Guide - Citroen Relay
A canny choice then for a business looking for a smart, capable, huge, used van, the Peugeot Boxer has plenty to offer the second-hand buyer.
What does a Citroen Relay (2006) cost?
Citroen Relay (2006): What's It Like Inside?
Comfort in the cab is supplemented with electric windows, central locking and a dash-mounted clipboard. There is also a large glovebox in front of the passenger seat and another in the centre of the dash that can be locked for added security. Other storage is taken care of by a lidded cubby in the dash and cupholders.
For that complete mobile office experience, the Relay also comes with a passenger bench seat that folds to create a desk. This is perfect for dealing with paperwork or for keeping a laptop computer safely in place when not using it while driving.
The driver’s seat is normally sprung as standard, but there is the option of adding suspension for those who spend long hours behind the wheel without many breaks. For the passengers, comfort is not quite as high a priority it would seem for Citroen’s seat designers as the bench is thinly padded, though there is plenty of space for knees, elbows and shoulders.
A large glass area in the Relay’s cab means the air conditioning that is standard with the Enterprise model is all but essential unless you live in the chilliest parts of the country. During the warmer months, air con makes the Relay’s cab a much more pleasant place to be and helps reduce driver fatigue.
Behind the cab lies a large cargo area that ranges in size from 8.0 to 17.0 cubic metres, putting the Relay right among the largest vans on sale in the UK. With generous maximum payload and towing capacities too, the Citroen can cope with most users’ needs. There is a heavy duty rear suspension option for the longest wheelbase models that can deal with 3.5-tonne and 4.0-tonne weights.
Load heights range from 1.6 metres for the smallest versions of the Relay (L1/H1) to 2.1 metres for the largest L4/H3 vans. Likewise, the load floor starts at 2.6 metres in length and extend to considerable 4.0 metres for the long wheelbase panel vans.
A low load sill (507mm - 561mm) makes it easy to lift heavy items in and out or for a forklift to slot home cleanly. If you go for the optional self-levelling suspension, the Relay’s load sill height can be further reduced to a tarmac-skimming 460mm. The twin side-hinged rear doors open wide to 180-degrees as standard and can be ordered at extra cost to open to 260-degrees. A sliding side door is standard on all models and buyers can order a second sliding side door as an option.
What's the Citroen Relay (2006) like to drive?
The Citroen Relay is notable in this sector for being one of the best vans to drive, putting it into contention with the Ford Transit where few others can contend. An excellent range of turbodiesel engines helps here no end, with most based on the 2.2-litre unit. They come in 110PS, 130PS and 150PS guises and all come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard.
The entry-point 110PS 2.2 HDi is a good bet for those who spend most of their time in and around town. It offers good low-rev shove and is smooth and quiet in use, though it does miss the extra poke of its more brawny sister units when it comes to dealing with motorways and passing slower traffic.
If you mix up your driving between town and the open road much more, the 130PS and 150PS 2.2-litre engines are the way to go. They power the Relay with assured strength and make light work of most conditions, with the more potent of the two the better choice for those who make full use of the Relay’s considerable payload and towing capacity.
Finally, there’s the 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel with 180PS that will be the choice of those who need long haul comfort, refinement and power. There is a trade-off between economy, emissions and performance with this motor, but if you need the extra wallop this engine offers, the cost equation will not put you off.
In 2016 Citroen downsized the engine choices, with the introduction of a 2.0 BlueHDi engine, with Euro6 emission standards and better economy. Power outputs range from 110PS, 130PS and 163PS, with the latter providing 350Nm of toque.
It’s also a handy van to have on your side when it comes to taking corners. The Citroen Relay has light, accurate steering that helps the driver place the van on the road, so no danger of wandering over white lines or straying too close to the verge in this van.
The steering is also good when it comes to parking and positioning the Relay thanks to its tight turning circle and easy to whirl steering wheel. There are standard rear parking sensors on the Enterprise model, which makes reversing the Relay a much easier task.
Real MPG average for a Citroen Relay (2006)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their vehicles could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.