The new Mercedes-Benz Citan: comprehensive safety equipment

Oct 20, 2021

Safety is a key brand value at Mercedes-Benz. A component which helps ensure the high level of safety in the new Citan is the stable body structure with its energy-absorbing load paths, as well as the comprehensive equipment of the van with modern driving assistance systems. These can all support and relieve the driver in numerous situations. The Citan is also a pioneer with regard to restraint systems: the Tourer, for example, is equipped as standard with a centre airbag which can deploy between the driver's and co-driver's seat in the event of a severe side impact. The panel van is equipped with six airbags as standard.

"When co-ordinating the driving assistance systems our goal was to implement the philosophy of Mercedes‑Benz Cars with regard to comfortable, harmonious interventions for a van too," reports Dirk Hipp, Strategic Project Head and Chief Engineer for Small Vans at Mercedes-Benz. Smooth intervention that the customer initially hardly notices can be found in ESP, as well as in Hill Start Assist and Crosswind Assist.

Supported by radar sensors as well as cameras, the driving assistance system observes the traffic and surroundings and, if necessary, can issue warnings or assist the driver by intervening. As in the new generations of the Mercedes C-Class and S-Class, Active Lane Keeping Assist uses steering interventions as opposed to braking and is thus particularly comfortable.

Comprehensive testing of the driving assistance systems in the new Citan was carried out, including at the Group's own Immendingen Test and Technology Centre (PTZ). More than 30 different test and monitoring routes are setup there on a surface covering 520 hectares.

Invisible helpers: driving assistance systems

In addition to the legally required ABS and ESP systems, the new generation of Citan models are also equipped with the Hill Start Assist pulling away aid, Crosswind Assist, the fatigue-warning system ATTENTION ASSIST and the Mercedes-Benz emergency call system as standard.

Fatigue is one of the most common causes of accidents. ATTENTION ASSIST uses numerous parameters ascertained from the behaviour of the driver to detect signs of increasing inattention and tiredness. If the system detects typical signs of driver fatigue, it audibly requests the driver take a break.

Compared to the legally prescribed eCall system, the Mercedes‑Benz emergency call system offers additional functions. For example, communication doesn't take place in the respective location's national language, but rather in the language which the driver has set in the infotainment system. This is especially useful in the case of an accident occurring abroad. The Mercedes‑Benz emergency call centre will then inform the nearest emergency services call centre. Another special feature from Mercedes‑Benz: in addition to data transfer via the vehicle's installed communication module, the most important data concerning the accident are also sent by SMS text message to the Mercedes-Benz emergency call centre, thereby increasing the assurance of data transfer.

The other available driving assistance systems are clearly divided up into these two packages:

The Active Safety Package[1]

  • Active Brake Assist: can also detect cross traffic as well as pedestrians and cyclists
  • Active Lane Keeping Assist: is active from 70 km/h, works comfortably with steering interventions
  • Blind Spot Assist: uses radar to observe the areas to the side of the vehicle not covered by the outside mirrors, and warns of danger in Mercedes-typical fashion using an illuminating triangle in the outside mirrors
  • Speed Limit Assist[2]: can use a camera to detect speed limits and display the limits in the instrument cluster

Additionally included in the Driving Assistance Package[3] in conjunction with automatic transmission:

  • Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC: automatically maintains the selected speed and distance to the vehicle driving in front and is capable of so-called automatic traffic jam driving. At the press of a button, the current speed limit is adopted. DISTRONIC uses information from the camera as well as from radar sensors. The desired distance can be set in several steps. If the traffic in front comes to a standstill, the vehicle can brake itself automatically down to a stop. If the traffic sets off again within the space of three seconds, the Citan automatically pulls away again. If more than three seconds elapse, pulling away is initiated either by pressing a button or briefly tapping the accelerator pedal
  • Active Steering Assist: assists the driver in keeping the Citan in the middle of its lane – especially on monotone journeys on straight or slightly bending roads. In doing so, Active Steering Assist uses any lane markings which it has detected, as well as the position of the vehicle in front within the same lane for orientation.

In combination with an optional trailer coupling, the new Citan models also feature trailer stabilisation. If the vehicle combination begins to sway, this system uses braking interventions in a bid to stabilise the vehicle.

For a better view even in poor weather: the lighting systems

For the Citan Panel Van and Citan Tourer, the LED High Performance headlamps can be ordered as an option. They offer greater safety at night thanks to a wider light distribution, as well as a light colour which is similar to that of daylight and they have a less-intensive energy consumption. Just like the standard halogen headlamps, these can also be combined with Highbeam Assist. With a camera installed behind the windscreen, the system continually monitors the traffic and, from a speed of 40 km/h, it regulates the light distribution appropriately. If the system detects oncoming vehicles or vehicles travelling in front, it automatically dips the headlamps. This means that the driver no longer needs to manually switch between dipped and main beam, and can thus benefit from the greater range of main-beam headlamps for a longer time.

To ensure the very good vision in darkness or poor weather, the standard light and rain sensor ensures that the headlamps and the windscreen wipers can be switched on automatically in appropriate weather conditions.

Up to seven airbags as standard: modern restraint systems

The Citan Panel Van is equipped as standard with six airbags: driver and co-driver can be protected by front airbags, windowbags and thorax sidebags. Meanwhile, the Citan Tourer also gets a centre airbag as standard, which is truly novel, and not just in this segment. In the event of a severe side impact, the centre airbag is deployed between the driver's and co-driver's seats and thus serves to reduce the risk of the two heads coming into contact with one another.

When it comes to safety, every little detail has been well thought out: child seat anchors in accordance with the iSize standard with Isofix child seat anchors and TopTether are fitted on the outer rear seats as well as on the co-driver's seat. In combination with seat height adjustment and seat heating, they are also available for the Panel Van. To ensure safety for little ones riding along as co-pilots, the co-driver's airbag is automatically deactivated thanks to automatic child seat recognition on the co-driver's seat: A mat integrated in the seat surface detects the weight distribution on the seat in order to determine whether a child seat is fitted. Special child seats equipped with a transponder are therefore not required.

An additional detail: the sliding doors of the Citan Tourer are equipped with a child safety lock. In line with the appropriate equipment, this protection also applies to the power windows in the rear.

Firmly in place: load securing

Besides the fixed partition wall (available with and without window) between the driver's cab and the load compartment, the Citan Panel Van is also available with a folding variant. This option has already proven its worth in the predecessor model and has since been further optimised. If long objects need transporting, this grille on the co-driver's side can be swivelling through 90 degrees, before being folded in the direction of the driver's seat and locked in place. The steel load protection grille can protect the driver and co-driver from the cargo.

The tie-down eyes in the load compartment floor are ISO-certified and can support a higher load than those of the predecessor model (up to 400 daN). Six eyelets are standard in the Panel Van and Tourer variants. Plus on the Panel Van, depending on the equipment, there are also six eyelets in the side wall (maximum load of 50 daN each). There, it is even possible to screw retainer rails in place in the screw holes of the bodyshell.

[1] Optional for the Citan Panel Van, standard for the Citan Tourer

[2] In combination with the Navigation Package, this optional extra includes optimised road sign recognition with map data.

[3] Expected to be available from the first quarter of 2022