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fly similarities between the Fiat Ducato and the Citroen
t Relay are intentional. Both products of Sevel, the Italianbased joint venture between Fiat and PSA, they share a body and offer identical wheelbase and height options.
With a 3.2m wheelbase, the Relay 1800 2.5TD LW8 high-roof is the Citroen version of the biggest vehicle on offer from Sevel. A (2.85m) SWB option and a (3.2m) medium wheelbase are also offered across the ranges, but Citroen is the only Sevel participant not to offer a petrol-powered model. A standard-roof model is available only on the SWB variant: it measures 2.14m, compared with the high-roof models which breast the tape at 2.46m high, and the extra-high-roof variant's 2.68m.
Drivers of the Relay will find slightly less space between the dashboard and the seat 10.8m) than will Sprinter drivers. The seat height is adjustable from 1.09m down to 1.04m, making the driving position slightly more cramped than for the Sprinter. Some care has gone into dashboard layout. Visibility is good, with most controls within easy reach. However, the lack of a rev counter does seem to be a strange omission on any diesel, and safety would certainly be well served by putting the radio in a more accessible position. A dash-mounted yet conventional gearlever gives the Relay a marked advantage in terms of cross-cab access, and the accommodation of a second passenger. While the seats may not be as comfortable as others on offer, this is by no means a bad driving environment. Despite the solid bulkhead, the Relay proved to be slightly noisier than the Sprinter, hitting 78.5dBlA) at motorway speeds. In fact this falls into the "turn-theradio-up-a-touch-to-remedy" category, and cab. not detract from the overall build quality of Problems do begin to appear in terms of storage space—there are no obvious places to store either a toolkit or the jack and this would soon grate on the nerves of a house-proud driver. Space to store maps, documents and the like is also inadequate, but changing a fuse is simple enough; a flip-up panel at the front of the glove compartment makes this task a lot easier than it might be for Sprinter drivers.
One disconcerting aspect of the Relay's cab is the door mounting. Push the hinges the wrong way and the panel flexes. It may be undue pessimism on our part, but if the door were ripped oft we suspect the operator would be in the market for a new van. The Sprinter is equipped with shear pins on both front and rear doors. Where the Relay really wins through is in its load area. The rear doors open up across the full 1 76m-high load area and, coupled with a loading width of 1.56m, the overall aperture deserves praise.
A low loading height of 0.56m means filling and emptying the load space is not an onerous task.
We also approve of the full-height side door, which is available on both sides of the vehicle. This makes for excellent carrying capacity for bulky and awkward shaped loads; coupled with the completely flat floor it's hard to fault the Relay rear of the bulkhead.
It's also clifficul to
find fault with Citroen's warranty package. At the time of purchase
operators can choose either a high or low-mileage option. High mileage operators can opt for a two year, unlimited-mileage parts and labour cover package, while lowermileage users can opt for a ports and labour package over either three years or 100,000 miles.
Citroen has 95 servicing outlets but, unlike the Sprinter, the Relay needs attention every 6,000 miles.
Model: Relay 1800 LWB 2.51 Price as tested: £18,515. Engine: 2.5-litre 103hp (76k1 indirect-injection charge-cool' diesel; four cylinders in-line. Transmission: Five-speed, FW GVVV: 3,500kg.
Fuel consumption (laden): 24.7mpg (11.414/100km). Average speed: 67.0km/h.