Citroen Relay 30 L1H1 100 long-termer (1)


My partner decided we needed some new tiles in the kitchen the other week so, as I have the DIY skills of a chimpanzee, we agreed it would be best to get a professional in to do the job.

As coincidence would have it, the guy turned up at our flat in a Citroën Relay, albeit the older model to the one I have on test, so I took the opportunity to grill him about his own experiences and driving impressions.

He had clocked up 40,000 miles in two years in the van, a long-wheelbase medium high-roof variant, with no reliability problems at all so far.

In fact he told me: “I love driving that van – I prefer it to driving my car!”

I almost began wondering if the lads in the Citroën press office had got wind of his visit and had primed him with a few used fivers.

But the fact of the matter is, he’s dead right.

I prefer driving this van to my car as well. I love the elevated driving position, that firm but oh-so-supportive driver’s seat and the sheer practicality that a panel van brings.

On top of it all, this 3.5-tonner actually returns a better fuel economy figure than my car. It currently stands at 37.5mpg.

Eagle-eyed readers will notice that the van’s mileage has increased dramatically since my last report.

This is owing to a disaster in the Gelken household just before Christmas when my son was run over and seriously injured by a drink-driver.

I have spent the past month or so rushing from my home in Southend-on-Sea to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge to be at his bedside aiding his recovery and while the event has proved a nerve-wracking experience, it has at least given me the chance to get to know the van’s finer points intimately.

And there are certainly a lot of finer points to appreciate.

There has never been a back twinge to complain about over all those miles and the several times that there has been a blockage on the M25 or M11 between my home and the hospital, the Trafficmaster sat-nav system that comes free with all Relays and Dispatches automatically guides me round them.

On several occasions, I’ve been told to peel off my route and take a strange back road that I didn’t even know existed. I understand straight away that there is trouble ahead and the little gem of a unit is taking me round it.

The Relay is about to go into the local dealer to have the dent in the rear door fixed after the previously-reported rear end shunt from a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.

I’ll let you know in the next report if the dealer proves as good as the manufacturer.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.