Citroen's SpaceTourer is a super-large People Carrier aimed at families with their own private parking space outside the maternity unit. Jonathan Crouch checks out the latest range.
Ten Second Review
Thinking of buying a People Carrier with room for up to seven people? Well, what about if, for not much more, you could get yourself a smart-looking one with space for up to nine folk? That's what's on offer from Citroen's appealing-looking SpaceTourer MPV.
Citroen has never been a serious player in the super-large People Carrying MPV market, the segment that sees cars that are essentially converted medium-sized vans, models like Volkswagen's Caravelle and the Mercedes V-Class. The French brand has long offered minibus versions of its Dispatch LCV, but they've never really courted car customers. Now though, the Gallic maker has a model line that very definitively does, the SpaceTourer.
It's still based on a van of course: that's necessary if the room required by customers in this segment is to be achieved. But, Citroen tells us, the Space Tourer has very definitely been developed as a car. Or as a proper MPV anyway. It's based on the second generation version of the company's Dispatch LCV and it's the French manufacturer's version of a People Carrier also marketed by Peugeot (as the 'Traveller') and by Toyota (as the 'Proace Verso').
Sensibly, all the Euro6 combustion engines on offer in the SpaceTourer are diesels and if your needs are mainly based around lighter people carrying duties and short distance urban work, then the entry-level 120hp 1.5-litre BlueHDi unit (offered only with manual transmission) may well be quite sufficient. It's better though, to try and stretch to the newer 2.0-litre BlueHDi 140 unit, which can be had with the option of smooth EAT8 auto transmission. For heavier payloads and longer journeys however, you'll be needing the 2.0-litre BlueHDi 180 model which gives you a lot more pulling power and has to be had with EAT8 auto transmission. The other option is the Electric variant, which offers 136hp and uses a 50kWh battery that can offer up to 143 miles on a single charge.
News that this Citroen MPV is based on the marque's Dispatch van may lead you to fear the worst when it comes to handling dynamics. Actually though, you should be pleasantly surprised by the dynamics on offer here, these aided by a variant of the same EMP2 platform used for Citroen's Grand C4 Picasso People Carrier. The ride should particularly impress. Special wishbone filtering is provided to dampen the impacts from our country's terrible tarmac and the variable stiffness springs and shock absorbers should deliver decent levels of comfort whether the vehicle is loaded or unloaded. Refinement is also claimed to be surprisingly good for such a large, square MPV. And there's the option of a Grip Control traction system. We also like the 'Coffee Break Alert' warning system, which flashes up a dash warning after two hours of uninterrupted driving at speeds of 40mph and above.
Design and Build
Citroen's first serious stab at the super-large MPV segment is surprisingly easy on the eye, aiming at what the brand calls 'a sense of robust assurance without appearing aggressive'. The front design consists of a short horizontally-styled bonnet with large, high-set headlights, providing a commanding view of the road. In addition, the front features a broad, protective bumper with strong black air intake grilles that contrast and accentuate the SpaceTourer's styling.
Under the skin, this MPV utilises the acclaimed 'Efficient Modular Platform 2' (EMP2) chassis, one of the things that enables this model to offer so much interior space. There's room for up to 9 spacious seats with 1,500 litres of boot space - or up to 4,900-litres of luggage space if you take out the removable seats. The SpaceTourer's height of 1.90m is low enough to guarantee entry into covered car parks - a relatively rare attribute in this segment. It's available in two defined lengths - 'M' and 'XL', measuring in at 4.95m and 5.30m respectively. Key selling points include hands-free access for the electrically-operated side and rear door and an opening rear window in the tailgate so small items can be more easily put inside.
Top 'Business Lounge' derivatives feature four armchairs in the rear cabin complete with Isofix mounting points, longitudinal and back rest angle adjustment, and - for optimum flexibility - the seats in row two can be mounted forward or rear facing. A rail-mounted table can be added at extra cost to convert SpaceTourer 'Business Lounge' into the perfect mobile meeting room.
Market and Model
Think in terms of a £38,000-£50,000 price point for this Citroen SpaceTourer and you shouldn't be far out. The basics of specification are worth repeating here, so there's a choice of two vehicle lengths - 4.95m 'M' and 5.30m 'XL' - both of which can be configured as 8 or 9-seaters. There's a choice between 'Feel', 'Flair' or 'Business' levels of trim.
'Flair' models are very well specified, with standard features such as black leather seat trim, driver and front passenger seats with individual armrests (plus electric adjustment, along with a heating and massage function), a panoramic glass sunroof and twin 'hands free' electric sliding side doors with foot-operated remote sensors. 'Flair' trim also provides a technical showcase with standard features including head-up display, blind spot monitoring, 180?? colour reversing camera, keyless entry and start, Citroen Connect Nav and an uprated HiFi pack.
This SpaceTourer MPV is also available for corporate customers in the form of the 'Business' trim level. 'Business' trim provides the perfect solution for any operator requiring shuttle or courtesy vehicles. Here, you get up to nine seats as standard, a hard wearing TPO plastic floor and air conditioning. Across the range, latest generation electronic driving assistance devices include 'Driver Attention Alert', a 'Road sign recognition' system, a Head-up display and an 'Active Cruise Control' set-up. You could also add 'Blind Spot Monitoring' and a 'Park Assist 180' surround view camera system - both useful on a vehicle of this size.
Cost of Ownership
The SpaceTourer's Euro6 engines have been chosen with operating costs rather than performance in mind and this will suit businesses as well as families with a firm grip on their finances. For the 1.5 BlueHDi 120 variant, combined WLTP fuel economy is pegged at up to 47.1mpg, along with up to 126g/km of CO2. For the 2.0-litre BlueHDi 150, the figures are up to 41.9mpg and up to 142g/km. If you want a little more power and opt for this engine in 180hp guise, you're looking at up to 40.6mpg and up to 144g/km.
What about the electric SpaceTourer, with its 50kWh battery. Well here, because the design supports up to 100kW rapid charging technology, an 80 per cent charge can take just 30 minutes. This e-SpaceTourer also features a 7kW on-board charger as standard. A full charge from a 7.4kW domestic Wallbox takes 7 hours 30 minutes. For peace of mind, the lithium-ion battery pack in the e-SpaceTourer comes with an eight year/100,000 mile warranty, for up to 70% of the initial battery capacity.
What else are you going to need to know? Well across the range, there's the usual unremarkable three year/60,000-mile warranty and service intervals for all engines are every 20,000 miles or once a year - whichever comes first. You can budget ahead for the work by taking up Peugeot's 'Service Plan' that for a fixed monthly fee, can cover you for up to 50,000 miles of motoring over either three or five years.
It's time the super-large MPV segment was shaken up a bit. For too long, it's been dominated by the Volkswagen Caravelle and the Mercedes V-Class, both models that sell at rather over-inflated prices. The only more affordable alternatives in the past have been relatively unappealing - models like Ford's Transit-based Tourneo Custom. In comparison, this Citroen SpaceTourer looks a far better proposition.
It's much cheaper than a Caravelle or a V-Class, easier to drive because it feels more compact on the road, yet just as spacious inside, with room for up to nine. The only real impediment to success might lie in the fact that you can get much the same recipe in this segment from the Peugeot Traveller, Vauxhall Vivaro Life and Toyota Proace Verso models that share this Citroen's basic design. Still, if you get the right deal on a SpaceTourer and you've a Citroen dealer in close proximity, we think you'll like it.