Citroen Relay 35 Dropside Review

Citroen Relay 35 Dropside 2008 Model Ready to Run

Citroen Relay 35 Dropside 2008 Model Ready to Run

Structural Change - Benefits the Dropside LCV

Back in 2008, the van sector experienced a bit of a seismic change. New rules came in that meant that the popular 7.5 tonne sector vehicles were required to be fitted with a tacho and also a speed limiter. There were also licensing changes for the driver. Anyone who passed their driving test after 1995 couldn’t now drive the vehicles on a standard licence and would need to sit their HGV test. That meant that there was a rush by manufacturers to beef up their 3.5 tonne van offerings so that customers could drive them on a standard licence.

Citroen's 'Ready to Run' Dropside Range

The Citroen Relay 35 Dropside of 2008 vintage is one of the products resulting from this decision. Citroen decided to offer a number of body options in what they called their ‘Ready to Run’ range, and these included glaziers’ vans, tippers, Lutons, crew cabs and windowed vans, as well as the dropside. One of the great advantages of buying from the range was the absence of a third party in the deal. The vans were all supplied by Citroen themselves instead of a conversion specialist, so if there was a problem with the van, you wouldn’t get that annoying game of pass the blame parcel between Citroen and the bodybuilder. In fact, the bodies were produced by third-party specialists; it was just that the specialist supplied the finished vans to Citroen and not the end user, thus cutting out the complexity of the middleman for the customer.


The Citroen Relay 35 Dropside had a loading area of 2,026mm wide by 3,675mm long, which equates to around 12ft long for those who still think in imperial units. The payload was a perfectly respectable 1.5 tonnes. Pop the bonnet and you will find a choice of engines, such as 2.2 litre common rail injection diesels rated at 100bhp or 120bhp or a 3.0 litre power plant pumping out 160bhp. You would pay around £13k for the 120bhp version, which produced 236lb-ft of torque.

Vaule for Money

If you think that this price seems a little low, you would be right. At the time, Mercedes were selling a similar dropside with a lower payload for more than £25k. Granted, the Mercedes dropside had a crew cab and benefited from Mercedes’ superior build quality, but it was still almost double the price.

The Citroen Relay 35 Dropside cannot match the driving experience of the Mercedes, but at half the price you can forgive this. The lower-power version is capable enough but might need a bit of patience to get up to motorway speeds under load. The bigger three-litre-engine van with 160bhp, on the other hand is, if anything, overpowered, and the happy medium 120bhp model seems like a good choice. The dropside conversion was actually carried out by Ingimex and is of good quality. The steel surfaces are tough, and the sides have robust hinges and are easy to operate.

The interior is spacious but a little basic, but nevertheless a used Citroen Relay 35 Dropside with a decent service record could be a good investment.

Categories: Citroen / Relay /

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