The Mercedes-Benz Citan 2021 will be unveiled later this year, according to reports. Like the previous generation, the new Citan will be based on the Kangoo – but this time – engineers from Merc will have a say in the design and construction stages.
While Mercedes-Benz is the undisputed heavyweight champion of vans with the Sprinter, the German manufacturer never even bothered fielding a light van for many years. That changed in towards the end of the last decade when small van sales soared across Europe – becoming the number one LCV sector.
Initially, Merc reached out to fellow Germans Volkswagen – with whom they were already collaborating on large vans – but the Caddy plant in Poland was already virtually at full capacity so they instead turned to fellow alliance partners Renault.
In 2012, the Mercedes-Benz Citan (CITy vAN) was launched and, despite assurances from the technical teams that Mercedes-Benz had implemented a wide range of engineering processes to improve the build quality, my co-driver managed to break one on the first ever international test drive in Copenhagen.
Dogged by its substandard build quality, high list price, poor driving characteristics, low payload and unflattering looks, the Citan has so far been a flop for Mercedes.
All-new Mercedes-Benz Citan 2021 development
As we’ve seen, manufacturers are pulling together and sharing vehicles as the cost of R&D increases due to increasingly stringent emission regulations and electrification. The third-generation Renault Kangoo, due later this year, will also form the basis of the next-generation Mercedes-Benz Citan and Nissan NV250.
“The new Citan will undergo a comprehensive new development and clearly be recognisable as a Mercedes-Benz at first glance”, remarked Mercedes-Benz Vans boss Marcus Breitschwerdt. “We will provide for a distinctive brand-adequate identity in the successor of our small van”.
Very little is known so far about the new vehicle except it will be available in diesel (expected to be the 1.6-litre unit), petrol (thought to be the new 1.3 turbo petrol) and electric versions. As with the current generation, three wheelbases have been confirmed.