The light commercial vehicle: Citroen Nemo

This low-cost, manoeuvrable van strikes a good balance between utility and size for most small firms, from electricians to window cleaners

Who’s it for? IT firms, window cleaners, electricians, audio-visual technicians
Launched: 2007
Price (ex-VAT): £10,975.00
Contract hire price: £119/mo
Price 2 years’ old:
£5,994 (2013 reg, 4,478 miles)

Why it’s good for business

One of a number of similar light commercial vehicles available, the Citroen Nemo manages to strike the right balance between weight, size and carrying capacity, with fairly zippy handling to boot.

For businesses which won’t ever need to carry around heavy equipment, such as florists, this van is ideal – and the high-cube design with what has been described as a ‘Tardis-like’ 2.5 cubic metres of space means tradesmen such as plumbers carrying around medium-sized equipment should find it adequate too. You can fit one standard Euro pallet between the interior wheel arches.

All models feature an ‘Extenso’ passenger seat, which can be folded down or stowed away completely to form an extension of the load area around the passenger side, so longer items such as piping or ladders can be carried.

The vans are available in either a basic petrol model or a range of diesel models, which start at around £1,500 more than the petrol version. The diesel models offer slightly better miles per gallon (mpg) than the petrol version, but given the lower price of petrol (8-10p a litre less) you should find that the petrol model still offers superior economy.

The van’s handling has been singled out for praise, with some reviewers describing it as ‘car-like’; this, coupled with its compact dimensions, means the Citroen Nemo is perfect if you’re based in a city where traffic is high and parking space is at a premium. The van’s light weight does have a downside, though; without a load you will experience a somewhat bumpy ride.

There are three trim levels, the X, LX and Enterprise; the higher-end models contain extras such as Bluetooth sound systems, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and an offside sliding door. The high-end Enterprise model will run you around £2,000 more, excluding the cost of factory-optional extras.

Ralph Morton, editor of industry publication BusinessVans.co.uk, offers his assessment: “The Citroen Nemo offers van users a brilliantly compact and agile van that’s capable of carrying a europallet – some feat in such a compact van that’s perfect for urban deliveries.

“The Nemo’s other strong point is economical running costs (nearly 70mpg in some versions) backed up by a network that is attuned to the needs of small businesses.”

Alternatives

There is little to choose from between the Citroen Nemo and its nearest competitor vans; the Fiat Fiorino, Peugeot Bipper, and Renault Kangoo are all similarly-priced and have very similar interior cubic dimensions. Investigate all your options before committing.

If you have a bit more money to spend and wish to stay in the same van class the Mini Clubvan represents a premium and stylish alternative, with prices from around £12,000.

5 key features:

–          High-cube design with up to 2.8cu m storage

–          Car-like handling

–          Low fuel consumption

–          Fold-away passenger seat to extend load

–          Petrol model available

2 negative features:

–          Bumpy ride without a load

–          Basic X model has no side doors

Specification (X model)

Load length 1523mm (2491 with Extenso seat folded)
Load width (max)1473mm
Load height1205mm
Carrying capacity: 2.5 cu m (2.8 with Extenso seat folded)
Payload660kg
Towing capacity braked/unbraked1000/400kg
Engine1360cc Petrol
Power/Torque190.0Nm
Economy (combined) 67.5mpg
CO2 Emissions113g/km

 

Small business case study

Tony Watson, accountant and fleet manager for UK vehicle parts distributor Mill Autoquip, uses a fleet of HDi 75 manual 660 Citroen Nemo vans for parts delivery to customers. Watson says: “The Nemo, with its combination of excellent fuel economy, load capacity and the Extenso folding seat – which allows us to carry exhaust systems – fulfils our requirements for most day-to-day deliveries.”

The company keeps its Nemo vans for three years, during which they will make up to 50 deliveries per day each from one of the company’s 17 depots across Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. Over the course of its life with Mill Autoquip, each Nemo will clock up around 100,000 miles. “Despite the tough life our vans lead, we still have people queuing up to buy our Citroens when we have finished with them,” explains Watson.

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