“Fly me to the moon” crooned Frank Sinatra. That, and watching the Apollo landings almost 40 years ago, was the closest many of us would ever get to space travel.
Now there’s a trend among billionaire entrepreneurs to launch space tourism projects appealing to well-heeled business and celebrity types willing to pay vast amounts to burst through the higher levels of earth’s atmosphere before returning to earth with the vane boast that they have become astronauts. Tim Peake eat your heart out.
There is an easier way to space travel, though. It involves nothing more arduous than a trip to your local Citroen dealer and booking yourself into the latest Space Tourer. It’s a trendy and possibly soon to be trending version of the New Dispatch, a multi-award winning addition to the company’s competent van line-up.
Not that the Space Tourer feels too much like a van. It’s more likely to leave you feeling transported to a higher level in the same way as certain German make of van that has acquired cult status far beyond its actual ability to do anything better than anyone else.
The Space Tourer is a fine bit of kit and, in a striking colour called Tourmaline, about which we have waxed lyrical before, it really looks the part.
The vehicle has the tall, snub nose that provides room for the oily bits but doesn’t take too much away from the overall length. It means there’s room behind the windscreen for much more volume, in the case of our test vehicle what was available could comfortably seat eight and still leave room for some luggage inside the huge tailgate.
It can’t be long before the Space Tourer must attract the brighter people in the campervan/motorhome industry. It has all the style anyone could ever want plus the mechanical strength to pull along some fairly heavy furniture and rising roof installations.
But its real potential comes as a people mover for large families, clubs, and organisations that need stylish meet and greet vehicles for customers. Everyone who rode in the Space Tourer we cruised around in for 12 days commented on it and, along with Bentleys and exotic sports cars, it was one of those vehicles on our driveway that attracted neighbours to ask questions and poke around inside.
What impressed many people was the powered sliding doors, which beeped, whirred, and then revealed a spacious interior that invited further exploration, in true space tourism style.
Everyone who ventured into our Citroen space capsule stepped out truly impressed, finding it hard to believe that the Space Tourer is created by adding extra kit to a van.
To be fair, the reason for their surprise is that the Space Tourer doesn’t much feel or look like a van. Its chunky lines might be a clue but quite a few cars have that look, too. The seats don’t feel van-like either although they do come with a well-built feel that suggests they will endure years of backsides sliding across them as the Space Tourer is put to hard work.
Our test van came with many extras that some users might want to do without but Citroen does allow owners to have things like curtain airbags built in for next to no cost.
What appealed most to us, though, was the addition of the amazing Grip Control system, this time combined with stylish allow wheels to carry the Michelin Agilis tyres with mud and snow grip ability, for a grand total of £1,080.
Grip control brings virtually all the advantages of four-wheel drive without the energy and fuel-sapping hardware that would accompany it. There are systems to tackle mud, snow, and sand and it makes you wonder why more manufacturers don’t go down this route in equipping vehicles to cope with difficult conditions when all it involves is a change in tyre choice and harnessing electronics that most cars already have to bring more effective results.
The test van was fitted with a two-litre diesel engine pumping out 148bhp, sufficient to give it a vigorous character. The van is virtually five metres long but less than two metres wide, so has manageable physical characteristics that avoid the width limits frequently found on many rural routes to attractive places that families love on days out.
With its promise of real-world fuel consumption of 36mpg or more it’s also an affordable way for families and businesses to move around larger numbers of people. With a three-year, 100,000-mile warranty they can go a long way without worrying about repair bills!
Maurice and Annette Hardy
Car: Citroen Space Tourer Feel BlueHDI 150 M S&S
Does it fit your ego…
0-62mph: 11.0 secs
Top speed: 106mph
Bhp: 148 @ 4000 rpm
Torque: 370 nm @ 2,000 rpm
…and your wallet…
CO2 emissions: 139 g/km
Best bits: delivers space travel today