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Expert Review

Citroen e-Dispatch Panel Van (2020 - ) review

Easy to drive, well-equipped and sensibly-sized the Citroën e-Dispatch is well suited to urban operators looking to make the switch to electric

The Auto Trader expert verdict:

5

Like its siblings - the Vauxhall Vivaro-e and Peugeot e-Partner - the Citroën e-Dispatch is a fantastic medium-sized electric van, offering fantastic value for money for businesses looking to decrease their carbon footprint and promote sustainable messaging to their clients and customers.

Reasons to buy:

  • tickGood range
  • tickLow running costs
  • tickDecent load space

At a glance:

Cargo & practicality

The e-Dispatch has a load volume of 5.8m3 and a one-tonne payload, which means you’ve lost nothing to the electric batteries compared with the medium-sized, internal-combustion engined Dispatch van. It is, however, far heavier (as are electric cars) and the battery and motors bring the kerb weight up to 2,025kg. Maximum load length stands at 3,674mm. Twin sliding side doors, coupled with 180-degree rear opening doors, make loading and unloading from either side easy, which is a relief for multiple stops with unpredictable parking in the course of the day.
Expert rating: 4/5

Interior

Up front you have the driver’s seat with arm rest and dual passenger seat (my kids loved barrelling around with me in it at the weekend, as did I). Citroën has done an excellent job here. The driver’s position is quite low for vans, which means it’s one of the most comfortable and easy for driving. The interior is also far quieter on the move than the petrol or diesel versions, given there’s no noise or vibration from an engine. With low windows and well-positioned wing mirrors, visibility is good and parking feels less intimidating than in other vans. There are deep storage holders in the doors for 1.5-litre bottles, cup holders and lower and upper glove boxes.
Expert rating: 5/5

Running costs

This is where electric vans beat their petrol and diesel counterparts hands down. Electric vans make even more sense financially than electric cars, in terms of running costs. To start with the Government grant is more generous for vans than cars and immediately knocks £6,000 off the price. Plus you won’t pay any Benefit in Kind (BIK) or annual VED. The service interval is two years or 25,000 miles, but with fewer moving parts less can go wrong. Crucially for inner-city van drivers making deliveries, electric vans are exempt from London’s congestion charge and similar low-emission-zone initiatives elsewhere in the UK. On top of all that, if you have an off-peak tariff for your energy provision, the cost of electricity can be 10 times cheaper than that of fuel.
Expert rating: 5/5

Reliability

Although electric vans don’t have much history yet on which to judge their reliability, Citroën and sister company Peugeot have been busy rolling out hybrid and electric cars for a while yet, and so far so good. In fact, we feel French brands are getting an unfair rap these days for reliability, based on histories of shoddy build quality that haven’t been relevant for a while now. In most customer satisfaction surveys, both brands are starting to rise above their German counterparts. There’s an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on the battery.
Expert rating: 4/5

Performance

The huge benefit for urban commercial drivers with electricity is the instant dose of power you get form a standing start, which makes pulling away from lights and junctions a speedy affair. The e-Dispatch has a 75kWh battery, and the equivalent of 136 horsepower available. That means 0-62mph in 14 seconds and a top speed of 81mph, although your range will fall off a cliff at that speed. And speaking of range, Citroën claims up to 211 miles in real-world conditions, so you’re probably looking at about 180 miles, which is roughly double the range of the next size of van up.
Expert rating: 5/5

Ride and handling

Both the ride and handling are among the best in the medium van segment. The combination of the manageable length and width, plus light steering, makes the e-Dispatch feel infinitely manoeuvrable. The extra weight is positioned low down which has the benefit of smoothing out the ride, and it’s a tranquil, peaceful experience to drive around town on electric power. Even the fake, futuristic sound emitted by the van at low speeds to warn pedestrians is oddly comforting.

Safety

The Citroën offers great visibility from both sides, although unlike more expensive vans, there’s no rear-view mirror relaying a camera image of what’s behind. You get hill-start assist to stop it rolling back, and a safety pack includes lane-departure warning, speed-limit alert, driver attention alert and smart-beam headlights. There’s also forward-collision warning and advanced emergency braking. Security includes deadlocking and separate locking for the cab and an alarm.
Expert rating: 4/5

Equipment

Our test van came with power folding and heated wing mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, rear parking camera and blind spot monitoring. Comfort features include air-con, cruise control with a variable speed limiter, automatic lights and automatic windscreen wipers. The 7.0in touchscreen has DAB radio, Bluetooth, USB socket, smartphone mirroring and sat-nav. Citroën and Peugeot unfortunately have among the worst navigation systems known to man, but with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on offer, you can just use Google maps.
Expert rating: 4/5

Why buy?

The Citroën e-Dispatch is simply one of the best all-rounders, for those who don’t need a huge load space with a high roof. It offers one of the easiest and most satisfying driving experiences and has enough creature comforts in the cab for the longest days on the road. For those who are new to van life, this is a friendly way in, and the low running costs of electric propulsion are highly tempting.
Expert rating: 5/5

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