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Mercedes-Benz reveals 2013 Citan commercial van

by Ronan Glon

The Citan will debut next September at the Commercial Vehicle Show in Hanover, Germany.

Although Mercedes-Benz is best-known for high-end luxury cars, the German automaker is also a key player in the commercial van segment. Mercedes mostly produces larger vans, but will take on more compact offerings like the Ford Transit Connect and the Peugeot Partner with its latest Citan model.

The Citan (a combination of "city" and "titan") is the first product to come out of the alliance between Renault- Nissan and Daimler. It is based entirely on the Renault Kangoo, and the biggest aesthetic difference between the two models is a redrawn front end, which borrows styling cues from the recently-launched B-Class.

Like the Kangoo, the Citan will be available with three different wheelbases: compact, long, and extra-long. However, Mercedes will not offer a passenger version of the van, leaving that segment of the market to Renault.

The Citan will be launched with a 1.5-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine available with either 75, 90, or 110 horsepower. Although Mercedes refers to the mill as a CDI engine, it is actually a Renault-sourced dCi unit.

The 75 and 90 horsepower models will be equipped with a five-speed manual transmission, while the range-topping 110 horsepower model will come standard with a six-speed manual. Regardless of which gearbox is fitted, power will be sent to the front wheels.

The lone gas offering will be a 115 horsepower supercharged four-banger with a displacement of 1.2 liters. Like its oil-burning counterpart, it comes from the Renault lineup.

The Citan's instrument cluster was pulled out of the Renault parts bin, but for the most part, the rest of the interior is specific to the van. Small details like replacing the headlight stalk with a switch mounted on the dashboard make the Citan feel like a Mercedes product.

Mercedes is scheduled to publicly reveal its latest van at the Commercial Vehicle Show in Hanover, Germany, in September of 2012.

No word if the Citan will eventually join the Sprinter in Mercedes' United States commercial fleet, but it could offer buyers a unique alternative to the aforementioned Transit Connect.