New models - Citroen - Dispatch
Fiat and Citroen mount mid-size van attack
Value-packed Fiat Scudo and Citroen Dispatch vans arrive Down Under
8 Apr 2008
By TERRY MARTIN
THE distributor of Citroen and Fiat vehicles in Australia, Ateco Automotive, has made a significant move in the lucrative medium-sized van market with the introduction of two new related light commercials for the French and Italian brands.
The product of a wide-ranging joint-venture program between Fiat and the PSA Peugeot-Citroen Group, the French-built Citroen Dispatch and Fiat Scudo are mechanical twins but have minor differences in front-end design and, for Australia, some unique specification details in order to minimise sales cannibalisation.
The Peugeot version, the Expert, is under consideration for sale in Australia but would be imported and sold through a separate distributor and retail network.
The Fiat-PSA collaboration will also see the emergence of at least two new Turkish-built ultra-compact vans, including the Fiat Fiorino and Citroen Nemo, both of which are now expected early in 2009. A third version, the Peugeot Bipper, remains under consideration by Peugeot Automobiles Australia.
Known as the Jumpy in non-English-speaking countries, the Citroen Dispatch is positioned as a larger alternative to the Berlingo compact van, and, in an effort to minimise the transition from the compact to medium segment, is offered in both short- (3000mm) and long-wheelbase (3122mm) configurations.
Left: Citroen Dispatch and Fiat Scudo
For the Scudo, Ateco has overlooked short-wheelbase variants and will stick with the longer version for the time being, which still enables it to stand as a smaller alternative to Fiat’s well-established Ducato range.
Pricing starts from $34,990 for the SWB Dispatch, while the LWB version and the Scudo both kick off from $36,990 – a similar mark to the Hyundai iLoad (diesel) van range launched last month, which, like the Fiat and Citroen twins, will compete with a large number of entrenched European and Japanese competitors.
Both the Dispatch and Scudo use a PSA-derived 2.0-litre common-rail direct-injection turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine producing 88kW of power at 4000rpm and 300Nm of torque at 2000rpm. (A 100kW/320Nm version will be available on the long-wheelbase Dispatch in the coming months, with a higher-output Scudo still to be announced.) Frugal on fuel consumption and compliant with the Euro IV emissions standard, the engine drives the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox. The Dispatch takes an unimpressive 15.4 seconds to accelerate from 0-100km/h – the Scudo manages it in 12.8 seconds – while fuel consumption for the Citroen over the combined urban/extra urban theoretical benchmark is listed at 7.2L/100km. No figures on the latter have been released for the Scudo.
Chassis hard points include MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam configuration at the rear. Self-levelling pneumatic rear suspension with a deck-lowering feature is also available on the both van ranges.
The steering is a rack-and-pinion system with electro-hydraulic power assistance, enabling a turning circle of 12.2m on the SWB Citroen and 12.6m on LWB models across both brands.
Disc brakes are used at either end of the vehicle, with 304mm diameter ventilated discs up front and 290mm solid rotors at the rear. ABS electronics (with electronic brake-force distribution) are also standard across both ranges. All models have 16-inch steel wheels with 215/60-section tyres.
The tape measure shows the SWB van runs to 4805mm in overall length, 1942mm in height (or 1894mm with air suspension) and 1895mm in width. All models are designated low roof, meaning the height and width remain the same on LWB versions but the length extends to 5135mm.
The payload is 988kg on the SWB Dispatch and 1188mm on the LWB version. Gross vehicle weight is 2702kg on the SWB, 2932kg for LWB, and the maximum braked towing capacity is 2000kg for all variants.
Load space volume is five cubic metres for the SWB and six cubic metres for LWB. That translates to a maximum load length of 2254mm for the SWB and 2584mm for the LWB, with compartment width for both ranging from 1245mm between the wheelarches to a maximum 1600mm. Maximum load compartment height measures 1449mm.
Standard equipment across both ranges include a driver’s airbag, remote central locking, electric windows, air-conditioning, a CD stereo (with steering-mounted controls), twin barn doors (with demister and rear wipers), twin sliding side doors and tinted windows.
Feature differences are minor, the most notable being the standard inclusion of a double passenger bench seat on the Dispatch. This is optional on the Scudo. Additional airbags, electronic stability control, cruise control, parking sensors and Bluetooth mobile phone integration are among the options available on both ranges.
Fiat vans are sold through a dedicated commercial vehicle dealer group, while Citroen vans are available through the car dealer group.
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