Three-and-a-half-tonne dropside trucks are enjoying a bit of a halcyon period at the moment.
It’s as a result of the old 7.5-tonne sector going into freefall because of all the legal restrictions on those vehicles.
To run a 7.5-tonner you now need a tachograph and a speed limiter – and of course drivers who passed their car tests after 1995 won’t be able to operate them.
The major LCV manufacturers are making the most of this unexpected sales manna from heaven by offering dropside trucks at 3.5-tonnes – and Citroën is one of those queueing up for fleet business.
The vehicle on test here is one of the ones from Citroën’s Ready To Run range.
Buyers can choose window vans, crew-cabs, Lutons, tippers and glass vans.
One of the benefits of vehicles like these is that they come straight from the showroom and are guaranteed by the manufacturer.
Therefore if something does go wrong with the body, Citroën won’t turn round and tell you to go and see the bodybuilder.
This particular rear end comes courtesy of Ingimex and measures a stonking 3,675mm by 2,026mm – that’s around 12 feet long to you and me. Payload is 1,500kg.
Under the bonnet, Citroën offers a choice of 2.2-litre HDi common rail diesel engines offering either 100bhp or 120bhp.
There’s a 3.0-litre variant too with 160bhp on tap but it’s not really a fleet vehicle.
Our test model had the 120bhp unit which pumps out 236lb-ft of torque. The price is £13,150 ex-VAT.
Behind the wheel
The first thing you’ll notice about this particular vehicle – apart from its huge load length – is the price.
When the Relay arrived at the Fleet Van offices I thought they’d made a mistake in the press pack and called the Citroën press office to check.
But no, £13,150 is the price and all I can say is that I’m staggered, especially after having driven a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter dropside the other month which had a lower payload and weighed in at £25,415.
OK, so the Sprinter was a crew-cab and offered a far superior ride and a sturdier build quality but hey, you could almost buy two Relays for that money.
The Relay was only launched in its latest incarnation at the back end of 2006 and it’s a classy looker to be sure.