Citroen Relay Low Loader Review
The Citroen Relay Low Loader at a glance
Manufactured as a joint venture between the Peugeot Boxer and the Fiat Ducato, when it first launched in 2006 the Citroen Relay was a first-rate contender in the large van sector. And indeed we see it today continuing to compete with the likes of the Ford Transit and Renault Master thanks to its wealth of upgrades, high payload ratings, good value and strong MPG. However, it is hard to forget that the Relay is one of the oldest large van models still available on the market, and drivers may find that it struggles to keep up with its rivals when it comes to the driving experience and refinement.
Despite this, it still remains a very versatile large van with a wide selection of bodies and lengths, as well as the ‘Ready to Run’ conversion range – which is designed to meet a variety of business needs. The Low Loader variant which this review will focus on benefits from the Relay’s front-wheel drive design, which means that it offers a lower load floor height than rear-wheel drive vans, making it easier to load and unload. The inclusion of a lower floor results in an increase in load space, which stands at 22m3 in the Low Loader. No other model in the Ready to Run range offers more space.
Engines and Spec
The Relay Low Loader’s 2.2 BlueHDi diesel engine comes with either 120ps or 140ps, with both featuring energy efficient stop-start as standard and a six-speed manual gearbox directing drive to the front wheels. If you’d like to opt for a diesel alternative, the Relay Low Loader is also available in EV form, with a 1.0-litre electric engine. Whilst there is no automatic transmission, Citroen does offer a Grip Control system that’s designed to give the Relay Low Loader a semblance of off-road ability.
The three trims offered are the X, Enterprise and Driver: X is quite basic, whereas Enterprise offers a solid amount of kit. Driver vans receive kit such as a reversing camera, a Driver Assist pack and auto lights and wipers. Updates for 2021 saw the addition of cruise control to X versions, and Enterprise and Driver models benefiting from a new interior USB charging socket and dashboard tablet holder. A 12V socket in the load bay is now also included in every model.
Sadly, the Relay Low Loader is let down by its poor driving quality, and can be tiring at motorway speeds. The steering is light but it lacks precision, meaning that drivers will have to concentrate harder to even keep it pointed in a straight line. Ride comfort is also rather bumpy – typical for a large van of its age, but will settle when there’s some weight in the back – and refinement is still poor even with a full bulkhead. A lot of road and engine noise can also be heard in the cabin.
Load Space & Storage
With a payload capacity of 1300 kg and a load volume of 22m3, the Relay Low Loader certainly matches its competitors for load space – making it one of the best in its class, not to mention impressively versatile. The load space is accessed through two flush fitting barn doors at the rear that open to 270 degrees. Alternatively, a lightweight roller shutter is available as an option. The internal length and width stands at 4100mm x 2100mm, making the Low Loader a great vehicle for big deliveries or midweight removals.
The cab interior has certainly improved from previous models, but nonetheless feels a little utilitarian. However, the option to add a touchscreen infotainment display does help to keep it up to date. If you have a little room in your budget to work with, it’s worth moving up from the basic X model to Enterprise specification. This includes air conditioning, cruise control with a speed limiter, the touchscreen navigation pack with a 5-inch colour screen and steering controls, rear parking sensors and a perimetric alarm. The reversing camera and parking sensors available as options with the Driver trim are handy for backing into tight spots – ideal if you frequently drive on narrow city streets.
There are thirteen different storage areas, including a large overhead compartment and locking central glove box which can be used to keep your valuables safe when you’re loading or unloading. There are three seats as standard, including a pull-down table in the middle.
Pros & Cons
- Impressive payload ratings
- Spacious cabin
- Ready to Run conversions are a bonus
- Starting to show its age
- Tiring to drive on long journeys
- Road and engine noise inside
After 12 years on the market, the Relay Low Loader is definitely showing its age, and doesn’t keep up with its rivals for driving performance. However, it’s cost-effective, practical, boasts a sizable payload and the Ready to Run range is a huge plus – attributes which maintain its status as a strong contender in the large van market today.
To find out more about what the Citroen Relay Low Loader has to offer, get in touch with Van Sales UK. The diesel and electric engine models are both available through us for outright purchase, hire purchase and contract hire. All of our new Citroen vans come with a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty and manufacturer’s roadside assistance, as well as free mainland UK delivery on all purchases. For more information, call us on 0117 205 2619 or email us at email@example.com.