There was a time when I was spouting praises for the Peugeot Partner, it’s nearly a year since we bought that van as our Franchisee van, but to tell you the truth I was never 100% happy with the deal because I’d been spoilt by my old Daihatsu Extol. Although they are now becoming troublesome we have had them for seven years and it was the decision to buy two at the same time in September 2006 that helped to transform our business. Then we added the two Daihatsu’s to the two Ford Transit Connects we had then. The recent trouble with them is because they both have done about 100,000 miles which obviously means that, for petrol engine vehicles, they are perhaps close to the end of their life. But I really loved my Daihatsu and the reason it was just so easy to use mainly because of the two side doors and the tailgate. Everything just flowed at every job and it was just so easy to throw the cleaning kit through the drivers side sidedoor at the end of the job and not have to walk around the van. I found it really did help me to make our system faster and be able to pack more jobs into the day if I needed to, or finish and get off home. We still have now the Peugeot Partner and our older Citreon Berlingo which have just one side door and barn doors to the rear and our employees who use them have got used to them, and like them, and they probably don’t even think about the walk around the van to put their kit in, or how often they get wet because they don’t have a tailgate. These vans also have a three seat bench seat which is useful and our Franchisee in Exeter loves this as he can pick his children up from School in the van. Incidentally I was closely watching the OvenClean franchisee who turned up at the house next door to us to clean an oven and I noticed that he threw ALL of his kit in the back area on top of his tank, it didn’t seem very well organised to me.
So when the new Mercedes-Benz Citan van came out this year I knew that if I could order tailgate ones as a factory order and as they were standard with two side doors I knew I could get the best layout for our use and any future franchisee’s use. So although my first Citan van has barn doors the next one I ordered, and now have, has the tailgate. I have ordered a few more which are being stored to be ready for when new franchisees start. So it means that the new franchisees will get the ideal spec van. With our fit I am putting into two internal LED lights, one in the centre compartment and one in the rear compartment. This means that the franchisee will have some bright light when the nights draw in towards Christmas.
So I have been driving the new van for a few weeks now and I am very impressed with it. I can get the ideal driving position – which for me is sitting dead upright – so I don’t aggravate my hip injury I got from running too much, and the seats are quite hard which I like and the van comes as standard with air con and electric windows and a steel bulkhead. Also there is a parcel shelf above the seats. After my day at Mercedes Van Experience 2013 I can appreciate the value of the EVS system which is fitted and the van really handles very well, better than the Berlingo and Partner. It has stop start technology which I have got used to and use all the time and as the fuel consumption is quoted at approx 62 miles to the gallon I am looking forward to lower pertrol bills for the business once we get more of them. The only thing I haven’t liked is the Cruise control as I had a panic when I had it on when on the motorway and someone I got distracted and then instead of putting my foot on the brake put my foot on the accelerator when a lorry pulled out in front of me. So now I am only using it for maintaining my speed over short distances such as in regulated roadworks. And the other thing with the cruise control was I accidentally knocked when it was on the speed limiter setting at a low speed and when I went to accelerate I couldn’t go past 20 miles per hour; but now I keep my hand away from it. Also the hand brake got some getting used to at the start.
Overall I love the van, its very comfy, great to drive and has all the features we need and it is certainly the best van that we have had. I believe that it has all the benefits that any professional oven cleaner could wish to have on it.Google+