This is fun!
Yes, I know vans aren’t supposed to be fun to drive but every time I get behind the wheel of the cute and stylish Nemo, I get a big grin across my face as I know that the journey ahead is going to be extremely pleasant.
For starters, the Nemo is just the right size to chuck around the corners and its superb road manners mean you won’t crash into a wall while doing so, unless you are driving VERY badly.
But despite the van’s diminutive exterior, the driver’s seat is large, supportive and extremely comfortable for long journeys – and believe me I’ve done a few of those lately.
Of course now I have to look at the Nemo in a new light.
Not only has it been voted European van of year, along with its twin brothers the Peugeot Bipper and Fiat Fiorino, but in December it also took the title of City Van of the Year at the inaugural Fleet Van awards.
A couple of people have since asked me why the Bipper and Fiorino didn’t win too as they are basically the same vehicle, and although I can’t divulge exactly what passed between the august panel of judges, I can reveal that the Nemo won for three basic reasons.
Firstly it offers a better warranty than the others, secondly Citroën offers an LPG version which the others don’t and thirdly some of the big fleet buyers on the panel felt that Citroën’s aftersales service was best of the three.
You see, while some magazines judge their vans purely on the vehicles themselves, we look at the total fleet package offered by each.
Suffice to say I’ve no problems voting the Nemo a winner.
It is designed very much as an urban runabout but I’ve found it’s no mean performer on the open roads either.
It will buzz along at a great lick on the motorways and I also discovered that it will hold a fair load in the rear too.
Number one daughter wanted a bed settee moved the other week and although I doubted it would go in, I offered to drive over and give it a whirl.
The bed settee disappeared into the Nemo’s rear with yards to spare (well, almost!) and I was more than a little impressed.
That handy folding passenger seat will allow for longer loads to be carried too. It disappears right into the floor allowing a maximum load length of 8ft 2in.
There are always gripes, however, and I have a couple.
Firstly (although you can’t really blame the van for this) the windscreen wipers make the most annoying graunching noise, even in a good storm.
Funnily enough I had a Fiat Fiorino on test the other week and it suffered the same problem.
Secondly I’ve been a little disappointed in our test miles per gallon figure.
The official figure is 62.8mpg and a Nemo actually achieved 84mpg in a recent MPG marathon.
But try as I might I can’t get our total above 52.3mpg.
I’ll admit I don’t exactly hang around when I’m out on the roads, but neither do most van drivers either, so fleets which expect over 60mpg in real-life terms will probably be disappointed.