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Citroen Dispatch Van Review

5 Stars (42 Reviews)
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Latest Reviews

  • Ammer Chaudhry - 09/11/2018

    The van wan just want i asked for and the colour is the best

    5 Stars
  • Neil Jennings - 12/08/2018

    Very good nice looking and very comfortable excellent van all round

    5 Stars
  • Robert Clark - 08/08/2018

    Perfect for our business

    4 Stars
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  • Handling: STARS
  • Comfort: STARS
  • Quality: STARS
  • Reliability: STARS
  • Performance: STARS
  • Practicality: STARS
  • Running Costs: STARS
  • Value for Money: STARS

Our Review

Citroën Dispatch 1000 1.6 HDi 90 H1 Enterprise Diesel Van Review

Twenty or so years ago things used to be simple – you either wanted a small van, a medium sized van or a big one. Times have changed and these days buyers are simply spoiled for choice. Citroën’s line-up includes the little C2 Enterprise Van, the slightly bigger Nemo, the excellent Berlingo, the Dispatch and the Relay. And what's more, some of these models are available in a variety of configurations:  The Dispatch is offered in two wheel-base sizes (L1 and L2) and two roof heights: standard (H1) and high (H2). Its predecessor was restricted to just one wheelbase and one height. So it was with these thoughts in mind that we got to grips with one of the smaller models in the Dispatch range — the short-wheelbase, standard roof L1 H1 1.6-litre HDi diesel.

At a glance

The Citroën Dispatch will appeal to operators in the market for a panel van, though its compactness and drivability around town and in residential areas lends it the appeal of smaller, car-like vans from the class below.

The steeply raked frontal styling borrows from the current Citroën passenger car range. The radiator grille displays the familiar Citroën double chevrons and below that the multi-part bumper juts forward forming a blind spot. However, visibility through the vast windscreen and low-cut side windows is excellent while dual-pane, adjustable, fold-back wing mirrors come as standard. Front fog lights were neither standard nor optional on the Enterprise model we tested, although these are available on other models in the range.

Engines and spec.

The three engine options for the Dispatch are all HDi common-rail diesels and they take some beating on grounds of fuel economy, if not refinement. The 90bhp 1.6-litre unit returns over 40mpg with careful use on the Combined cycle and can hustle a light load along quite briskly. The 2.0-litre engines are likely to be a better bet in the larger models. The range-topping 136bhp engine delivers 38mpg and 320Nm of torque, and is quicker, but this may not justify the price premium in the eyes of some buyers.

Equipment levels look generous with Citroën offering the headline-grabbing Smartnav satellite navigation system as standard along with ABS, EBA, driver’s airbag, three height-adjustable front seats, remote central locking with deadlocks and dashboard control, rear parking sensors, a CD Stereo with wheel-mounted controls and electric windows. The LX derivatives get self-levelling suspension along with other desirables. Sensibly, alloy wheels are not available for the Dispatch.

Load area

Access to the generous 5.0m3 cargo area is by means of sliding doors on each side plus twin rear doors, both of which can be pushed through 90° and through 180° if you release the stays. They open to reveal a load bay with eight cargo tie-down points and doors that are panelled to half their height. As are the sides, but surprisingly there is no protection for the wheel arches. We liked the hard wearing flooring in the rear which in practice should prove easy to clean and maintain.

It's worth mentioning that an H1 Dispatch has an overall height of 1,942mm, which will enable it to squeeze into most multi-storey car parks which usually have a height limit of 1,950mm. That said, it’s worth double-checking a car park’s height limit before you enter, as some will be lower.

At the wheel

Get behind the wheel of Citroen’s Dispatch and it becomes the proverbial curate’s egg. On the positive side, the cab area has been thoughtfully designed to make best use of the available space. There is comfortable, supportive seating and a respectable amount of storage space to keep oddments in check. A three-seat capacity is claimed but, as so often in small vans, the legroom for the middle berth is severely restricted by the dash-mounted gear lever which occupies the space where the middle passenger’s knee should be.

Facilities for storing oddments include a cubby-hole, a pull-out cup-holder and a shallow shelf at each extremity of the facia, a shelf beneath the steering column, one beneath the controls for the RDS stereo radio/CD player — you'll find a set of remote controls on the steering column — and two lidded ones above the windscreen. There are shallow bins with a moulding to hold a flask or a bottle of water in each door and a tray beneath the passenger seat. On the down side, many of the storage areas are simply too small for drinks bottles, cans or mobile phones and not ideally situated.

One of the vehicle's big plus points is ease of cab access. Although the handbrake lever is unusually positioned - between the driver's seat and the door - it does not present an obstacle. The driver's seat is height-adjustable — it's got lumbar adjustment too — as is the steering wheel so most people will be able to achieve a comfortable driving position. Cross-cab movement is rather more problematic.

A Trafficmaster Smartnav satellite navigation package comes as standard and allows your van to be tracked remotely if stolen. The screen can be removed and stored out of view in the glove compartment and  a 12v power point means you can operate ancillary equipment with another one in the load area.

On the road

Anyone jumping from another small panel van into the Dispatch will notice how much lower the driver sits in the Citroën. This makes access far easier and is ideal for delivery drivers who are constantly climbing in and out of their vans. It can also be difficult to see over that extensive bonnet when parking, especially as the driver sits a long way back from the base of the windscreen. In general the Dispatch does feel compact and it’s easy to thread through traffic, thanks to a footprint that’s barely larger than a standard family saloon. Engine noise tends to be intrusive but the brakes respond with assurance and body roll when cornering is helped by that low centre of gravity. The gear change, though not class-leading in its accuracy, is an improvement over the old Dispatch and the suspension gives a well-judged blend of comfort and stability.

Our Verdict

If your business needs to carry more then the Citroën Dispatch is probably the answer. It takes up no more road space than a big people carrier yet offers up to 1,200kg carrying capacity, is fitted with twin side load doors and can seat two passengers as well as the driver.

Standard twin side load doors, large rear doors and a low height sill means that the Dispatch is easy to load and unload and is suitable for a wide range of applications. On the debit side the Dispatch is starting to show its age relative to other Citroën models and the cabin area is not great in terms of space or layout.

Twenty or so years ago things used to be simple – you either wanted a small van, a medium sized van or a big one. Times have changed and these days buyers are simply spoiled for choice. Citroën’s line-up includes the little C2 Enterprise Van, the slightly bigger Nemo, the excellent Berlingo, the Dispatch and the Relay. And what's more, some of these models are available in a variety of configurations:  The Dispatch is offered in two wheel-base sizes (L1 and L2) and two roof heights: standard (H1) and high (H2). Its predecessor was restricted to just one wheelbase and one height. So it was with these thoughts in mind that we got to grips with one of the smaller models in the Dispatch range — the short-wheelbase, standard roof L1 H1 1.6-litre HDi diesel.

 

At a glance

The Citroën Dispatch will appeal to operators in the market for a panel van, though its compactness and drivability around town and in residential areas lends it the appeal of smaller, car-like vans from the class below.

The steeply raked frontal styling borrows from the current Citroën passenger car range. The radiator grille displays the familiar Citroën double chevrons and below that the multi-part bumper juts forward forming a blind spot. However, visibility through the vast windscreen and low-cut side windows is excellent while dual-pane, adjustable, fold-back wing mirrors come as standard. Front fog lights were neither standard nor optional on the Enterprise model we tested, although these are available on other models in the range.

Engines and spec.

The three engine options for the Dispatch are all HDi common-rail diesels and they take some beating on grounds of fuel economy, if not refinement. The 90bhp 1.6-litre unit returns over 40mpg with careful use on the Combined cycle and can hustle a light load along quite briskly. The 2.0-litre engines are likely to be a better bet in the larger models. The range-topping 136bhp engine delivers 38mpg and 320Nm of torque, and is quicker, but this may not justify the price premium in the eyes of some buyers.

Equipment levels look generous with Citroën offering the headline-grabbing Smartnav satellite navigation system as standard along with ABS, EBA, driver’s airbag, three height-adjustable front seats, remote central locking with deadlocks and dashboard control, rear parking sensors, a CD Stereo with wheel-mounted controls and electric windows. The LX derivatives get self-levelling suspension along with other desirables. Sensibly, alloy wheels are not available for the Dispatch.

Load area
Access to the generous 5.0m3 cargo area is by means of sliding doors on each side plus twin rear doors, both of which can be pushed through 90° and through 180° if you release the stays. They open to reveal a load bay with eight cargo tie-down points and doors that are panelled to half their height. As are the sides, but surprisingly there is no protection for the wheel arches. We liked the hard wearing flooring in the rear which in practice should prove easy to clean and maintain.
 
It's worth mentioning that an H1 Dispatch has an overall height of 1,942mm, which will enable it to squeeze into most multi-storey car parks which usually have a height limit of 1,950mm. That said, it’s worth double-checking a car park’s height limit before you enter, as some will be lower.
 
At the wheel

 

Get behind the wheel of Citroen’s Dispatch and it becomes the proverbial curate’s egg. On the positive side, the cab area has been thoughtfully designed to make best use of the available space. There is comfortable, supportive seating and a respectable amount of storage space to keep oddments in check. A three-seat capacity is claimed but, as so often in small vans, the legroom for the middle berth is severely restricted by the dash-mounted gear lever which occupies the space where the middle passenger’s knee should be.

 

Facilities for storing oddments include a cubby-hole, a pull-out cup-holder and a shallow shelf at each extremity of the facia, a shelf beneath the steering column, one beneath the controls for the RDS stereo radio/CD player — you'll find a set of remote controls on the steering column — and two lidded ones above the windscreen. There are shallow bins with a moulding to hold a flask or a bottle of water in each door and a tray beneath the passenger seat. On the down side, many of the storage areas are simply too small for drinks bottles, cans or mobile phones and not ideally situated.

One of the vehicle's big plus points is ease of cab access. Although the handbrake lever is unusually positioned - between the driver's seat and the door - it does not present an obstacle. The driver's seat is height-adjustable — it's got lumbar adjustment too — as is the steering wheel so most people will be able to achieve a comfortable driving position. Cross-cab movement is rather more problematic.


A Trafficmaster Smartnav satellite navigation package comes as standard and allows your van to be tracked remotely if stolen. The screen can be removed and stored out of view in the glove compartment and  a 12v power point means you can operate ancillary equipment with another one in the load area.

 

On the road

 

Anyone jumping from another small panel van into the Dispatch will notice how much lower the driver sits in the Citroën. This makes access far easier and is ideal for delivery drivers who are constantly climbing in and out of their vans. It can also be difficult to see over that extensive bonnet when parking, especially as the driver sits a long way back from the base of the windscreen. In general the Dispatch does feel compact and it’s easy to thread through traffic, thanks to a footprint that’s barely larger than a standard family saloon. Engine noise tends to be intrusive but the brakes respond with assurance and body roll when cornering is helped by that low centre of gravity. The gear change, though not class-leading in its accuracy, is an improvement over the old Dispatch and the suspension gives a well-judged blend of comfort and stability.
 
Our Verdict

 

If your business needs to carry more then the Citroën Dispatch is probably the answer. It takes up no more road space than a big people carrier yet offers up to 1,200kg carrying capacity, is fitted with twin side load doors and can seat two passengers as well as the driver.

 

Standard twin side load doors, large rear doors and a low height sill means that the Dispatch is easy to load and unload and is suitable for a wide range of applications. On the debit side the Dispatch is starting to show its age relative to other Citroën models and the cabin area is not great in terms of space or layout.

Our man with a van

Adrian Foster

Motoring journalist Adrian Foster has been commissioned to write impartial van and pick up reviews for our website, specifically to help with your decision making process. We have provided him with a van and the spec and nothing more, so you can rely on his views being real and honest.

Adrian began his career in the motor retail industry with Perry’s Group before turning his hand to motoring journalism. He launched the Drivelines motoring press agency as a means of providing high quality journalism on new cars, commercial vehicles, motorsport and the motor industry at large.

Customer reviews

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