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Expert Review

Citroen Dispatch Panel Van (2016 - 2024) review

With a reputation for producing reliable and fit-for-purpose vehicles, Citroen’s Dispatch medium van faces stiff competition from some of the biggest names, including sister brands sharing the same platform. Auto Trader’s Tom Roberts takes a closer look.

Tom Roberts

Words by: Tom Roberts

Published on 19 April 2024 | 0 min read

The Auto Trader expert verdict:


A worthy contender in the medium van segment, the Citroen Dispatch is a capable workhorse which should prove cost-effective to run. However, there are a couple of shortcomings that need to be taken into consideration before a buyer signs their name on the order form.

Reasons to buy:

  • tickGood payload.
  • tickExcellent road manners.
  • tickReliable with low running costs.

At a glance:

Cargo & practicality

The Dispatch XL is the larger of two available sizes and offers a load length of 2862mm, on par with most competitor vehicles. There’s just a single roof height giving an internal dimension of 1397mm and that all-important width between the wheel arches is 1258mm, allowing a Euro pallet to slide nicely through. If loadspace volume is critical, 6.1 cubic metres is there for the taking. A medium van is expected to work for its living and the Dispatch XL fitted with the 1.5-litre 102hp diesel engine can cope with a load weighing up to 1160kg and has a towing capacity of 2000kg. Accessing the loadspace is made easy with the standard twin rear doors and a side loading door on both sides of the van, allowing for safe kerbside loading and unloading on either side of the road. A steel bulkhead protects the occupants from shifting loads which can be secured using the 8 load lashing points provided. With its longer length, the Dispatch XL forms the basis for a practical, dual-purpose crew van, providing seating for a total of 6 people whilst retaining a decent load length but, this option isn’t available in conjunction with the 1.5-litre diesel engine.
Expert rating: 4/5
Citroen Dispatch Rear View
Citroen Dispatch Rear View


While the cab interior can’t be described as ‘cutting edge’ in appearance (it was relatively sparse on launch), it’s reasonably practical with comfortable seats for the driver and two passengers. There’s a centrally mounted multimedia screen which, although not angled towards the driver, is relatively easy to see, reach and operate. The instrument panel isn’t exciting but provides the driver with all the information he or she needs. Storage is on the average side, with the usual door bins and other relatively modest cubby holes although there is capacity under the passenger seat for those items that need to be kept out of reach of prying eyes. There’s no getting away from the fact that the cab feels small and cramped (perhaps more so now even small vans like the Renault Kangoo make great use of cabin space), especially when compared to the likes of the Volkswagen Transporter and Ford Transit Custom. With three people on board, it can feel slightly claustrophobic, and, with the dashboard being high combined with a low seating position, visibility isn’t the best in class by far. Some users have reported noticing that the pedal position is offset to one side, giving the driver discomfort, particularly on longer journeys although this isn’t seen as an issue for others. Personally, it’s never bothered me.
Expert rating: 2/5

Running costs

The 1.5-litre diesel engine is relatively frugal, with the official WLTP Combined cycle test giving a result of 44.8mpg. The Dispatch requires a service every 2 years or 25,000 miles, a decent interval designed to keep downtime to a minimum, and the van has a 3-year / 100,000-mile warranty. Resale values are reasonably strong, although not as healthy as other vans in the sector, so for those planning to purchase and eventually resell, depreciation shouldn’t be too much of a concern. Leasing the van, or acquiring it on finance, would make the most sense for a small business, and it would be remiss of me to mention that many big fleets operate the Dispatch precisely because it is so economical to run.
Expert rating: 4/5


The 1.5-litre diesel engine, although only introduced to the Dispatch in 2019, has been fitted to the manufacturer’s passenger cars for quite some time and there have been no issues reported regarding reliability – in fact, the French company has an enviable reputation for producing power units that are rugged and durable. However, Dispatch has been subject to several non-engine-related recalls. Suspension, steering and brake issues have been identified that required a dealer visit for checking and rectification. A purchaser can check any vehicle for outstanding recalls via the Government’s online service. If you’re picking one up used, it’s worth checking to see if the model was recalled at any point for extra peace of mind.
Expert rating: 4/5


Just two or three decades or so ago, an engine producing 102hp in a medium van would have been more than adequate. Nowadays? It looks a little on the meagre side and this is borne out by the tepid maximum speed of 90mph (although considering maximum van speed on UK roads top out at 60mph it’s not a deal breaker). Torque output for a small engine is reasonable, and this combined with the six-speed gearbox fitted as standard will help when driving a laden van around town. The gearbox isn’t the smoothest when it comes to changing ratios, the change mechanism feels a bit ‘notchy’ and distant from the gearbox itself. When I first reviewed this van, this ‘notchiness’ surprised me, but again it’s not a deal breaker. If this information proves concerning, the automatic versions are well worth a look – they offer a nice and smooth ride.
Expert rating: 3/5

Ride and handling

The Dispatch is a refined van to drive. The steering is positive with enough feedback to give the driver confidence, The ride, despite the test van being unladen, was smooth and the suspension coped well with poor road surfaces. Handling is excellent, the van benefits from a low centre of gravity thanks to the engine being positioned low in the vehicle. The level of build quality can often be demonstrated by the amount of noise and harshness being evident in the cab. Dispatch excels in this regard with no significant intrusion from any source and a lack of squeaks and rattles. There’s no denying the fact these vans are built to last – tough and strong. I can forgive a sparse cabin in a van that can have seven shades beaten out of it and still turn up to work.
Expert rating: 5/5


Safety tech fitted as standard to the Dispatch Enterprise is somewhat disappointing. Although the spec sheet boasts the likes of ESC and ABS, these are features that are now mandatory anyway. The customer would have to spend an additional £1000 for the optional Safety Pack which, in all fairness has a comprehensive suite of technology including Advanced Emergency Braking System, Collision Alert, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Speed Limit Recommendation and Intelligent Speed Adaptation, Driver Attention Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control and Blind Spot Assist Advanced. Vans from rival manufacturers generally include at least some of these items at no additional cost. The NCAP safety rating for the van is Bronze, with a Safety Assist Performance score of just 24%. Make of that what you will.
Expert rating: 2/5


Citroen has been generous in the level of equipment fitted as standard to the Dispatch Enterprise, despite it being the lower of the two trim levels available. In the cab, there’s air conditioning and the driver also benefits from cruise control and rear parking sensors. The 7-inch multimedia screen, offering access to the DAB radio and other input options also includes smartphone integration in the form of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. A Thatcham category 1 alarm approved alarm is fitted, giving added security and protection. This is adequate for many drivers, illustrated by the fact that the higher trim level Dispatch has few additions, most of the enhancements being to the exterior of the van.
Expert rating: 4/5

Why buy?

There are plenty of reasons why the Dispatch (perhaps at the Enterprise trim level) could be a great buy. For a start, and although looks are subjective, most would agree that it’s a good-looking van. The loadspace is a decent size and most users probably won’t need to use the full 1-tonne plus payload capacity, but if you need it… it’s there. Running costs should be reasonable with a 2-year service interval for all but the higher mileage drivers, and depreciation shouldn’t be too much of a concern (especially if you acquire it on a lease or on finance). The standard level of equipment in the cab is good, most drivers these days putting Apple CarPlay and air conditioning at the top of their ‘must have’ lists – I know I do. So, where does the medium van from Citroen not quite work? Well, for those anticipating doing a lot of mileage, the cramped cab and (for some) awkward driving position could make the working day less than comfortable and tiring, and the 102hp power unit may well not be suited to long, steep motorway inclines, especially when fully laden. And then there’s the safety aspect – there’s little safety tech as standard and this may well be the cause of the poor Euro NCAP rating. Overall? The Citroen Dispatch is a good, solid workhorse… with room for improvement. The next generation is touted to make some significant steps forward, but if you can snap up a Dispatch on a great lease deal or on the used marketplace – and it fits your needs – I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed.
Expert rating: 3/5

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