The Auto Trader expert verdict:
The Citroen Nemo Multispace puts practicality and economy before luxury and speed. As a result it’s an ideal family car for those on a budget, looking for something unusual.
Reasons to buy:
- Very practical
- Reasonably economical
- Comfortable ride
How good does it look?
The Citroen Nemo Multispace is not a thing of beauty. Its bluff nose and bug-eyed headlamps combine with a gaping grille to give a look that can most kindly be described as distinctive. The black mouldings break up the large panels though, adding visual interest with practicality. Take the extended nose out of the equation and this boxy Citroen’s design is generally conventional, with sliding rear doors and a top-hinged single-piece tailgate. The overall design works well, but some of the detailing isn’t so good. For example, the tailgate is unwieldy and the rear side windows don’t open fully.
What's the interior like?
The Nemo’s cabin is rather utilitarian, and while the ergonomics are generally good, the seats are flat and unsupportive, although they’re comfortable enough. The controls are also easy to use, as they’re generally big and chunky, if somewhat cheap-looking. Indeed, that’s one of the downsides – the Nemo Multispace isn’t especially cheap, although it looks it. Meanwhile, the van-like seating position leaves the driver’s knees uncomfortably close to the dash while there isn’t enough vertical adjustment of the wing mirrors if you’re over six feet tall.
How practical is it?
This is by far the Nemo Multispace’s strong point, as there are plenty of clever touches in its cabin to increase carrying capacity. It feels as big as a Ford Transit, even if it is much smaller in reality. This is thanks to luggage pods and cubby holes all over the place, along with a load bay that can be expanded to a massive 2,500 litres with the rear seats folded. The rear seats don’t slide though, and with such a short wheelbase there’s a disappointing amount of leg room available in the rear.
What's it like to drive?
It’ll come as no surprise to learn that this is a car that’s set up for a comfortable ride rather than sharp handling. The soft suspension soaks up bumps without fuss, but the trade off is handling that’s rather wallowy, so there’s lots of body roll through bends. However, things never get uncomfortable unless you’re really pressing on, and as the steering is light and precise, it’s more fun than you might think.
How powerful is it?
Citroen offers just a 1.3-litre diesel engine in the Nemo Multispace, and it doesn’t provide enough urge to make the car at all enjoyable to drive on long journeys. Around town it’s fine and if you’re in no hurry on A or B-roads it’s okay, but once you load it up and you try to make some progress, you’ll find yourself constantly stirring the gear lever in a bid to keep the engine revs up. The engine packs just 67bhp and 118lb/ft of pulling power, which is enough to give a top speed of 94mph and 0-62mph in 18.7 seconds. It feels quicker that that around town, but not on the open road.
How much will it cost me?
The trade off for such a small engine with such limited performance is decent economy. Both cars are claimed to be capable of an impressive 62.8mpg on the combined cycle, although we managed less than 50mpg over 700 (mainly motorway) miles, thanks to a lot of downchangin g while trying to keep up with traffic. Depreciation tends to be savage on Citroens, but the Nemo Multispace is a bit more specialist than the company’s usual fare, and while the market is also limited, this is a car that should hold onto its value a bit more than a Citroen C3, C4 or C5. But not much.
How reliable is it?
Citroen doesn’t have a great name for reliability, with electrical and electronic glitches all too common. The Nemo has yet to prove its reliability – or lack of it – and its simplicity will reduce the likelihood of problems cropping up.
How safe is it?
With just a three-star Euro NCAP rating, the Nemo Multispace is outclassed by pretty much any recent car design, whatever segment it sits in. While the car’s structure is strong, in a rear-end impact, whiplash injuries are likely, hence the poor rating. Citroen has included a reasonable amount of standard safety kit though, such as traction control, electronic stability programme (ESP) plus front and side airbags for those in the front. However, those in the back aren’t so well protected as they get nothing more than a three-point seatbelt.
How much equipment do I get?
There’s just the one trim level offered and it doesn’t come with a huge amount of standard equipment. Included are 15-inch steel wheels, a CD/tuner, electric windows, remote central locking and mirrors which are electrically heated and adjustable. After that you’ll have to delve into the options list, which also isn’t especially extensive. If you’re prepared to pay extra you can choose from alloy wheels, cruise, control, air-con, Bluetooth and rear parking sensors, as well as metallic paint.
If practicality matters more to you than anything, but you don’t have much money to spend, the Nemo Multispace might be just what you’re looking for. As long as you’re in no hurry.