The latest Citroen Dispatch was launched at the same time as Peugeot’s Expert & Toyota’s Proace at the 2016 CV Show in Birmingham, with the all-new Vaxhall Vivaro joining the gang in 2019.
The Dispatch actually stands out more than it’s siblings, with the large chrome-effect Citroen chevrons across the full width of the nose, as per the Citroen passenger car range. Derived from the PSA Groups Efficient Modular Platform, first seen on the Peugeot 308 & Citroen C4 Picasso, the Dispatch could very well be the most car-like van I have ever driven, whilst still managing to maintain all of the practicality that a mid-range van has to offer. The EMPT2 platform is only half the story though, because the Dispatch is a completely newly engineered van from the forward bulkhead back & having spent some time driving it, I can safely say that it’s very good indeed.
From a practical point of view, there are two wheelbase lengths, with a new oblique wishbone set-up, offering variable stiff shocks & springs to cater for different loads. This has been designed to support the rear of the van, but as I drove my test model unladen I am unable to tell you how this performs. Dispatch is offered in XS, M & XL sizes as a standard van, a six-seater crew van or a nine-seat combi, plus there’s a platform cab, allowing customers to build their own specialist bodies if required. Keeping things simple, the load capacity on all models is 1,400kgs.
The most popular model is the Medium version, which is the model we drove recently. Don’t be put off by the smaller XS model though, because amazingly it can handle two pallets, which is mightily impressive. Add in it’s size, just 4.6m long & it’s turning circle of just 11m & Citroen have produced what should be the perfect van for urban use, where customers value size & agility alongside load space. As a comparison, the M model has a 3,670m load length, the XL version 4,020m. On all three, cargo width between the wheel arches is 1,260m with the respective models coming with load volumes of 5.1, 5.8 & 6.6 cubic metres. The XS & M models are 1.9m tall & the XL is 1.94m high, meaning that they should also fit into most multi-storey car parks.
Also available on all models, is the Moduwork long-load system. I had a good look around my test van before I took it out & it featured the Moduwork bulkhead with a hatch, allowing an additional 1160mm of load length to fit into the cargo area & into the front rear left passenger footwell. There was also a triple-seat folding front bench with under seat storage on both passenger seats. The middle seat can also be folded to create a table for your laptop.
The cabin itself is well designed & it’s easy to reach all of the switches & buttons whilst driving, an important consideration for most van users. as is the view from the front which is also excellent. Just like with their cars, Citroen have historically tried to give customers as comfortable a ride as possible & the Dispatch doesn’t disappoint. I spent a week in the drivers seat & found it supportive as well as comfortable & the Dispatch’s suspension allows for a smooth ride as well. The insulated bulkhead on my test van helped to keep the cabin quiet, even without a load in the rear & I was even able to receive a couple of hands-free calls whilst on the move & not have to shout to be heard.
I drove the 114bhp version of the Dispatch – there’s also a 94bhp & a 148bhp version both 1.6 in size – but as Citroen expect the 114bhp version to be the best seller, it seemed like the obvious one to try. Alone & unladen this version performed well allowing me to change down the gears to overtake slow traffic on an A road & to accelerate up to motorway speeds with little effort at all.
Equipment even on the entry level X models is impressive. A pair of sliding side doors, electric windows, DAB radio & Bluetooth plus cruise control are also offered. The model I tested was the mid-range Enterprise, which adds the PSA group’s latest 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, air con & the Moduwork bulkhead & seat, with the touchscreen working well for DAB, Bluetooth but not SatNav which wasn’t fitted to my test van because it’s an extra. Spend a bit more & the top of the range Enterprise Plus adds LED driving lights, 17″ alloys, a rear parking camera & metallic paint. Safety kit includes speed limit recognition, a heads-up display & pre-collision braking.
As with many competitors vans nowadays, the interior has a car-like fascia design with a good quality feel to it & it’s also finished in nicely textured plastics, a mile away from vans of old. Apart from the under seat storage, there’s a total of 49-litres of storage space around the cabin, including ubiquitous large door bins, two glove boxes on the passenger side & an A4 sized compartment on top of the dash.
Importantly, Citroen’s Blue HDi engines meet’s the latest Euro 6 emissions standards. According to the official numbers, the 115bhp 1.6-litre I drove returns 55.4mpg on the combined cycle with CO2 emissions of just 133g/km. If you look at the other engines in the range, the 95bhp manual version returns 51.4mpg with 114g/km of CO2 in 5-speed manual form. The 120bhp comes with a combined figure of 51.4mpg & 144g/km of CO2 & the 150bhp van’s even better with 53.3 mpg & 139g/km of CO2. Even the 180bhp unit offers 48.7mpg & 151g/km of CO2. All are impressive.
One extra available on the Dispatch, which really appealed to me was that the twin sliding doors can be opened by a hands-free option, that allows anyone with their arms full & the key in their pocket to operate the door by waggling a foot under the van. Oh how I wish this had been invented when I was a student !
As I said at the start of my review, it only took me a day or so of piloting the Dispatch for me to really, really like it. Not only does it appeal to my car-like tendencies, it’s also spot on for load space, practicality, fuel-economy & even looks good as well. With Citroen’s network of Business Class dealerships set up to cater for the SME fleet manager & small business users, the new Dispatch alongside the smaller Berlingo, is selling well.
Any negatives ? Not really. Like it’s sister models from Peugeot, Toyota & Vauxhall, the Dispatch is an excellent product. In fact, Citroën Connect Nav with Connect Box became standard on Enterprise Plus versions from December 2017, which has made connectivity easier & is also available as an extra on Enterprise versions. This means that you can take advantage of the services you use, without having to tether the van to your mobile phone. Brilliant for busy van users !
A Serge Blanco 4/5
Prices start at £17,495 & rise to just over £25,845.
Body style Height Width Length
XS van 1,900mm 1,920mm 4,609mm
M van 1,900mm 1,920mm 4,959mm
XL van 1,940mm 1,920mm 5,309mm
Load area dimensions
Body style Height Width Length Volume
XS van 1,397mm 1,628mm 2,162mm 4.6cu m
M van 1,397mm 1,628mm 2,512mm 5.3cu m
XL van 1,397mm 1,628mm 2,862mm 6.1cu m
(Load volume is without Moduwork option – add 0.5cu m if Moduwork is fitted)