Look at the Berlingo as a van with windows and rear seats and it will surpass all reasonable expectations; it is refined, economical and decent to drive. Even if you measure it against conventional passenger cars and small MPVs, the Citroen acquits itself well enough, even though ordinary MPVs do still have the edge dynamically.
Those sliding side doors are a boon when loading kids in tight parking spaces, but the huge rear door could catch you out if there’s not much space at the back; it swings out wide and high, and you need a fair bit of height and strength to pull it shut. It may be an attempt to move the Berlingo away from its van roots, but van-like twin boot doors would be far more practical.
The Berlingo’s van roots are a little too obvious inside, too. The cabin is smart and airy, but the quality is more workaday than luxurious (although the wipe-clean approach might appeal to some).
The biggest problem with the Berlingo, though, is that it is highly sensitive to specification. Leave it too bare and although the price is low, you lose some of that all-important MPV flexibility. Go too mad with the options and you end up pushing the price perilously close to much more sophisticated seven-seat MPVs. With the discounts available on the likes of Vauxhall Zafira Tourers and even Citroen’s own Picassos, it’s worth thinking hard before speccing up a Berlingo.