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The Mercedes-Benz Citan has the worst emissions of the best-selling Euro 6 vans, according to testing company Air Index.

The official NOx limit for the van is 105mg/km, but according to the latest Air Index test results, the actual urban NOx emissions were 902mg/km – 17 times more NOx than Volkswagen’s Crafter, the lowest emitters tested.

The Air Index is an international, independent and standardised rating system that reveals accurately how much pollution a vehicle produces when it is used in towns and cities. As part of its latest round of testing, Air Alliance commissioned tests for ten of Europe’s best-selling diesel light commercial vehicles using scientifically robust, on-road vehicle testing to give each vehicle a simple A-E colour-coded Air Index rating, “showing the difference between clean and dirty vehicles.”

Mercedes-Benz Citan (30)

The 2019 Volkswagen Crafter CR35 LWB High Roof 2.0 litre is rated an ‘A’ on the Air Index, emitting 53 mg/km NOx, 72 mg less than the large-van (Class III) laboratory-based legal limit of 125 mg/km, while the firm’s 2018 Caddy C20 Highline TDI 2.0 litre and Peugeot’s 2019 Partner Asphalt 1.6 litre also an ‘A’ rating, as their on-road emissions fall below the 80 mg/km laboratory-based light van limit.

Other poor-performing vehicles were the Mercedes-Benz Vito CDI 111 LWB 1.6 (pre-update), Citroen’s Relay L3H2 Enterprise BlueHDi 2.0 and Vauxhall’s Vivaro CDTI 2900 1.6 which all scored D ratings.

Nick Molden, co-founder of Air, said: “The results of these van tests for the Air Index continue to hammer home the fact that current policy can’t do enough to prevent damage from high emitters and treat low emitters more fairly. This is impacting air quality across in cities across Europe and is potentially costing many thousands of lives. The Air Index gives fleet managers information they’ve never had before enabling informed decisions about the consequences of vehicle choice. The 10 Euro 6 diesel vans we tested represent just under half of the annual sales across Europe. If just those rated D or E were prevented from entering the centre of urban areas the Air Index could bring all European cities into air quality compliance.”

He added: “But the ultimate responsibility to implement change lies with the manufacturers. With simple service-led engine management updates, it is possible to make vans much cleaner, dramatically reducing emissions immediately.”