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High-roof station wagons as a van alternative: the load masters of tomorrow

Christian Schulte
High-roof station wagons as a van alternative
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W as families really want for their mobile device: TFT screens with wireless headphones, voice-controlled automatic climate control, the electric tailgate with motion sensor? Or maybe better washable surfaces, lots of space and two sliding doors? If you find yourself in the second group, you should read on now. Because over the past 15 years, a segment has established itself on the German car market in which robustness takes precedence over image and in which variability is more valuable than the latest design craze.

What our French neighbors with the Renault R4 50 years ago and further perfected with his heir Kangoo since 1998, has developed into a lucrative business model, especially for manufacturers of light commercial vehicles. The recipe for success: Take a sturdy delivery van with at least one sliding door, no longer than a compact car, but significantly higher. You can give it windows all around, a second row of seats that is as variable as possible and a small selection of the usual comfort extras - and you have a practical high-roof combination that looks more simple than its siblings from the car sector, but is cheaper and offers significantly more space.

Mercedes based on Renault

Mercedes now also wants to use this recipe to get into the popular segment of small multi-purpose vans (Around 700,000 units in Europe in 2011). After the in-house and comparatively expensive A-Class served as the basis for the first attempt with the Mercedes Vaneo, the Swabians now fall back on the tried-and-tested design of the Renault Kangoo and refine it in the style of the house: the Mercedes Citan has its own interior with a speedometer , Buttons and ventilation nozzles in the current Mercedes look.

There is also a lot going on under the sheet metal, because the Renault engines, as well as the chassis tuning and the standard ESP, are being modified and adapted to your own specifications. The range includes three diesel engines (75 to 110 hp) and a later-submitted petrol engine with 114 hp. The variants with passenger car approval also receive the Blue Efficiency package with automatic start-stop as standard. In terms of price, the Mercedes Citan will rank above the Renault Kangoo and cost around 17,000 euros as a 108 CDI.

Fordrenews the Transit Connect

And how does the French partner react? He is now expanding his range with a Grand Kangoo that has been extended to 4.60 meters. It comes with two additional seats in the rear and 110 hp diesel for 20,190 euros.

Meanwhile, Ford is also busy working on a new high-roof station wagon. The current Transit Connect is nine years old and will have a successor in 2014. The new look will be based on the Transit successor and will no longer be built in Turkey, but in Valencia, Spain. This suggests that future models such as Focus and Kuga will be based on Ford's C platform and will get the more modern 1.6-liter TDCi instead of the previous 1.8-liter diesel. This frees up capacity at the Kocaeli plant in Turkey for another model - for example a rival for the Microvan brothers Citroen Nemo, Fiat Qubo and Peugeot Bipper.

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