One of the largest vans in its class, the deservedly popular Citroen Relay is versatile, practical and hugely competent – and great value to boot. Available in a wide choice of wheelbases, heights and body styles, all of them excellent load carriers, it also offers striking looks, generous equipment and punchy engines.
This version of the Relay was launched in 2006 and updated in 2014 and 2016; it's built on the same platform as the Peugeot Boxer and Fiat Ducato, and there aren't a huge number of differences between the three vans. It's a vehicle into which Citroen has put a lot of thought – as the RAC puts it, “Considerable effort went into making sure that the Relay could match or beat its fiercest rivals in every respect.”
The Relay has one of the best load-carrying capacities in its class – it can transport a payload of 8-17 cubic metres, or up to 2,310kg, with a load area up to 4.1m long and up to 2.2m high. The load bay is also one of the widest in the class at 1.87m. There's a choice of four lengths, three wheelbases and three heights, making a total of 43 variants, including panel van, chassis cab, crew cab, tip-up truck, Luton van and dropside.
It's easy to lift heavy items into and out of the Relay thanks to one of the lowest load sills in the class (between 49cm and 60cm off the ground). A nearside sliding side door is standard on all models, and you can load a Euro pallet through the 1.25m-wide opening – the previous owner may have opted for a sliding door on the other side too for convenience. A steel bulkhead is standard on all models, and the rear doors are reinforced to help prevent damage.
The three-seater cabin is spacious, with thoughtfully laid out controls and 13 storage spaces. These include a document clipboard on the dashboard, a 22-litre overhead space, cup holders, generous door pockets, an area under the passenger seat and a fold-down desk. The high driving position affords very good visibility to the front and sides, and both the driver's seat and steering wheel are height-adjustable to help you get comfortable. There's also an armrest for long journeys. A DAB radio with Bluetooth and USB is standard, and steering-wheel-mounted controls make it easy to operate while you're driving.
The Relay is one of the best vans in its class to drive – the ride is comfortable and handling is smooth, and it feels particularly composed in corners. The steering is light and accurate, and the turning circle reasonably tight for the van's size, making it easy to park and manoeuvre. The Relay's height, however, will bar you from some car washes and multi-storey car parks; it's also worth pointing out that the heaviest versions weigh more than four tonnes, which means they're actually classed as lorries and you need an HGV licence to drive them, and possibly a tachograph.
Relays from 2016 onwards come with a strong, quiet 2.0-litre BlueHDi engine delivering 109bhp, 128bhp or 158bhp, and 258lb ft of torque in the latter two versions. Before that, the choice was between a four-cylinder, 16-valve 2.2-litre diesel offering 100bhp or 120bhp, and a 157bhp 3.0-litre diesel; you should be able to get up to 35mpg out of the former. All recent iterations of the Relay are front-wheel-drive and come with a six-speed manual gearbox; there's no automatic option.
Citroen has put a lot of effort into keeping the Relay's long-term running costs low, as can be seen in touches like a front bumper made of three parts, so that if it's damaged only one section needs to be repaired. The bumper also incorporates a couple of steps so you can climb up and clean the windscreen. Even the tyres were chosen with a view to being widely available and inexpensive to replace.
The new engine delivers fuel economy of up to 48.7mpg, and service intervals are only every two years or 30,000 miles, which reflects the Relay's good reliability record. The parts in the newest Relays have been extensively tested to ensure they’re dependable and if your used Relay is less than three years old - as long as it hasn't done more than 100,000 miles - it'll still be under warranty.
Standard equipment is generous and includes electric front windows, heated mirrors, a 12-volt socket, remote central locking and an immobiliser on the base model. Enterprise trim adds air conditioning, cruise control with a speed limiter, a five-inch touchscreen infotainment system, rear parking sensors and an alarm. The twin-lens door mirrors have lower sections that can be angled downwards, which is useful when parking, and the passenger side mirror is electrically adjustable. As for safety kit, ABS with emergency brake assist, a driver's airbag and hill start assist are all standard, and the four-tonne versions get lane departure warning.
Here at Vanwise Group in Maidstone andHarlow, we offer a wide selection of used Citroen Relay models for you to view and test drive. You can browse through our stock listings online or visit us today to explore our full range of used Citroen vans. Thanks to our flexible van finance packages too, you’ll be able to find a suitable way to fund your chosen vehicle. Contact us today for further details and to arrange a test drive.