It's a motoring magazine’s nightmare!
Three vans from three manufacturers being relaunched at the same time, but coming off the same production line.
Three foreign launches to attend and three sales and marketing pitches to listen to, all for what is essentially the same product.
We must be fair and give equal coverage to all but we have two major problems.
We couldn’t spare a staffer to attend one of the launches and editor Trevor Gelken missed the flight to Italy to attend another of the test drives (a first in 11 years).
So let’s get the apologies out of the way first and we’ll get down to the serious business of bringing you the lowdown on our new triplets – the Citroën Relay, Peugeot Boxer and Fiat Ducato.
To all those at Fiat who paid for the editor’s plane ticket to Milan and left without him while he was sitting forlornly in a queue on the M25: we’re truly sorry.
Apparently we missed a splendid ‘do’ in Italy and it will take us a long time to live down that particular misdemeanour.
To all those at Peugeot who invited Fleet Van to drive the new Boxer in France, we’re truly sorry that staff problems meant we couldn’t attend.
Once again, by all accounts, the driving and other associated activities were first class.
Which leaves the Citroën Relay.
For our on-the-road impressions featured later, when we say ‘Citroën’, readers can think ‘Peugeot’ or ‘Fiat’ as all three vans are identical apart from the badges and a few minor spec differences.
So let’s get down to the nitty gritty...
There are four vehicle lengths available, on three wheelbases and with a choice of three roof heights.
The vans have been designed to offer improved comfort and stability, thanks to wishbone and McPherson front suspension with an anti-roll bar and single or dual leaf springs at the rear.
Air suspension is also an option at the back end, offering a kneeling function to provide a low floor height for loading and unloading.
Three Euro IV engines are available, two based on a 2.2-litre motor along with a range-topping 3.0-litre powerplant.
The base 2.2-litre offers 100bhp with 184lb-ft of torque available from 1,500-2,800rpm.
This engine comes mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.
The mid-range engine, which is expected to account for 40-50% of UK sales, has 120bhp on tap backed up by 236lb-ft of torque at a slightly higher 2,000-2,300rpm.