What is it?
An all-new version of the popular van-based Citroen Berlingo Multispace MPV. Between 1996 and 2008 Citroën sold more than a million Berlingo Multispaces. To put that into context, Citroën only sold 800,000 Berlingo vans.
Actually it’s unfair to describe the new Berlingo as van-based. Where the old car was very much a van turned into an MPV, the new car has been developed as both.
So the van-like dimensions remain (and this is a good thing, as it affords acres of interior space, especially as the new model is 240mm longer), but the smooth and willing 108bhp 1.6 HDi motor, and general air of refinement and dynamic sophistication make the Berlingo feel more like a family hatch. Which is entirely natural, because the Berlingo (and its Peugeot Partner Tepee twin) share a basic platform with the Peugeot 308 and Citroën C4.
What’s it like?
The new Berlingo is much more car-like than its unpretentious but basic forebear. But there remain a few compromises. The driving position is spoiled by a steering wheel that, although adjustable for reach and rake, rests at an odd tilt.
The tall body also means plenty of body roll, and the ride, while composed, does not cope well with bumpy roads and coarse surfaces.
But these are niggles. Where the Berlingo really scores is its flexibility. As well as three individual, removable rear seats, there’s a delightfully simple removable storage locker/centre console, an overhead storage box (part of the Modu-top package which also includes rear air vents and a part-glass roof), and as many cubbies as you can count. There’s even an optional and ingenious internal roof rack.
It’s a shame, therefore, that most of these clever gadgets are either extras or likely to only be available as standard on high-spec models.
hould I buy one?
If you want an effective, versatile vehicle with which to lug your family around, the new Berlingo is an excellent choice. But value for money is equally as important as clever storage ideas at this end of the MPV market, so the price - and equipment levels - will have to be right.