We’re told that good things come in small packages and the Citroen Ami Cargo is certainly small. This miniature electric van is so small that it isn’t actually a proper vehicle. Instead it's a quadricycle. But, don’t let that put you off because the Citroen Ami Cargo, also known as the My Ami Cargo, could well be the ideal small van you need. With its doors and roof, it’s definitely a great alternative to a motorbike.
It's cute like a Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo and fun to drive like a Suzuki Jimny LCV. In a nutshell the Ami Cargo is a two-seater “car” made of recycled plastics, with a tiny battery and one seat taken out to give you storage space. It's something out of the ordinary.
Where the passenger seat should be is a modular storage area with a flat upper surface designed to be used as a mobile office, with tray like compartments for a laptop or papers. Beneath there's a boxed out storage bay with small dividers giving 260-litre of storage. Altogether, the Citroen Ami Cargo has 400-litre of storage or 0.4 cubic metres.
The payload is essentially the allowance you’d have for a passenger plus a bit more. The Citroen Ami Cargo has a payload of 140kg. Considering its size, that’s not actually bad. The flat shelf area can also support a weight of up to 40kg. Be carefeul, though, as there are no ways to secure anything.
It’s definitely not very big then. In fact the Citroen Ami Cargo is just 2.41m long, 1.39m wide and 1.53m high. It’s so small it can be parked nose to the kerb in a parking space and is very reminiscent of the G-Wiz, and original Smart car. It’s most similar to the Renault Twizy Cargo which enjoyed several years on sale in the UK. Unlike the single seat Renault Twizy Cargo (which also had no doors) the Ami Cargo has a side-by-side seating configuration and is left-hand-drive only.
Because the Ami Cargo is classed as a quadricycle, it also doesn’t require a full driving licence to drive one. The Citroen Ami Cargo can be driven on a moped licence from the age of 16. The downside of that is that it is speed limited and doesn’t need to meet stringent safety regulations like a car would.
Read our round-up of the best small electric vans
It is unlike any of Citroen's other electric vans like the Citroen e-Berlingo, Citroen e-Dispatch or Citroen e-Relay.
The Citroen Ami Cargo uses a 6kW electric motor and 5.5kWh battery giving it a range of 46 miles. 6kW is just 8hp, so unsurprisingly the top speed is limited to just 28mph. There’s a charging cable built into the door frame on the passenger side. Charging the Citroen Ami Cargo takes just three hours from 0-100%.
The Citroen Ami Cargo's dimensions are compact to say the very least. It is just 2.4m long, 1.4m wide and 1.5m high. The exact dimensions are:
Length: 2,410mm Width: 1,390mm Height: 1,525mm
Amazingly, Citroen says the Ami Cargo is capable of transporting load lengths of up to 1.2m or 1200mm. Presumably they'll also tell you it can transport loads of up to 1.3m wide - although we're pretty sure you couldn't and they don't claim to either.
The two-seat version of the Ami gets plenty of choice and customisation options with Ami Pop and Ami Vibe trim levels that mostly add decorative colours and decals to the exterior. For the van, there’s only one version of the Citroen Ami Cargo and there’s no option jazzy colour packs either. That makes it a very straightforward range in terms of its power, load capacity and options.
There’s also no choice when it comes to the interior with the Ami Cargo getting the same equipment and layout as the two-seater.
There is no fancy infotainment system in the Ami but you do get a smartphone holder. It’s centrally mounted in the dash close to the USB socket for power but it is quite unsubstantial and larger phones don’t really fit. If you want music there’s the option of a standalone Bluetooth speaker that you can buy as an accessory. The steering wheel is fixed, which can make adjustments for your driving position tricky. The backwards and forwards range the seat, however, is rather good. Very tall drivers won’t struggle to fit in the Ami but they will be eating into valuable storage space behind the seat.
Speaking of the seats, they’re very basic with minimal padding, and are very hard. It’s not a massively comfortable cabin to be in. Life is made harder still by having fold-up windows. There’s hinged glass, giving you a flap that is held in place by a clip. It’s a retro throwback to the 2CV. It’s kind of cute, but equally frustrating.
The doors are equally as frustrating – although you’ll get used to them very quickly – as the passenger door is hinged normally while the driver’s door is hinged at the rear in suicide door fashion. That’s because the Ami Cargo is made up of matching parts to reduce costs. The front and rear and identical, and so too are the doors. It’s an ingenious cost saving strategy. The release mechanism is with a pull chord in the dash, and there's no central locking. Door locks are done the old fashioned way, with a key.
Citroen Ami Cargo is full of surprises when it comes to driving it. The first shock is that it is fast. It’s not lightening quick, but with just a driver and some modestly heavy items it will definitely keep up with traffic. The problems will come when you add more weight or if you encounter a steep hill. If you have to stop on the hill, you’ll also have to use the handbrake to stop you rolling back as there’s no hill hold assist or any other driver assistance systems. That includes self-cancelling indicators.
The 28mph limit is sufficient in busy towns where you’ll mostly be travelling under 20mph. Buzzing around at top speed can get a bit tiresome as the Ami Cargo is not particularly quiet. There’s plenty of road noise. There’s also no regenerative braking to speak of either, which is unusual for an electric vehicle.
Handling is impressive, and because the Ami Cargo is so little you feel encouraged to dart around into gaps. You’re not going to be dissecting the traffic like a moped, but a cheeky lane change is possible.
Ride quality is generally poor. The Ami is let down by its suspension. It’s bouncy and coupled with the hard seat it doesn’t make for a comfortable ride. As an inner-city vehicle, potholes and cobbles are the nemesis of the little Ami.
Visibility is its strongest asset. The front windscreen gives a tremendous view, and while you do feel a bit like you’re in a goldfish bowl – especially as the Ami attracts so much attention with people peering in – you do get to see everything that is going on around you. That’s despite it having comically tiny circular mirrors and no rear-view mirror at all. The A-pillars are narrow, and the glass roof gives a real sense of openness and space. Although that can mean it gets pretty bright in there – take sunglasses.
At slower speeds the Ami is a great city vehicle, but even if you must do a stint on a 40mph limit road you begin to feel vulnerable. You’re more protected and more visible than on a moped. But the thin plastic shell and deafening noise as something large like a truck thundering past does unnerve you.
Remember… The Citroen Ami Cargo has no airbags, no fancy safety features and no crash protection standards to comply with. It’s basic, but potentially safer than a moped or bicycle.
Unusually for a commercial vehicle, the case for and against the Ami Cargo goes far beyond how practical it is. Food delivery, florists and bakeries are obvious candidates for this quadricycle van. But any business might do well to consider it. Think of it as a mobile branding tool. It’s small enough that you’ll likely get to regularly park outside your premises, so makes an ideal advertising board. It certainly stands out on the road. And it can also be easily customised.
As well as the appealing starting price of £7,995 for the Citroen Ami Cargo there’s also monthly payment plan options for less than a mobile phone contract. That price also includes VAT, so registered businesses can claim back 20%. It’s also being sold exclusively online, which says a lot about the target audience.
A full charge isn’t going to cost a lot of money. Bolt-on servicing packs can be purchased upfront or with the monthly payments to give you two to five years of cover with up to 10,000 miles annually.
If you’re sticking to towns or cities, want something to stand out from the crowd and don’t need to move a great deal of stuff around then the Citroen Ami Cargo makes great sense.
It’s fun to drive, cheap to buy and run, and above all will be memorable if sign written with your company brand.
It’s not comfortable, quiet or all that practical but that shouldn’t stop you from considering the Ami Cargo an all-round investment.