It's a big deal for me, the debut of the new Citroen Berlingo/Peugeot Partner. I’ve owned a Berlingo Multispace, the four-door, “civilised” version for knocking on five years, and it has been such versatile, enjoyable car that I’m burning to know whether completely changing it after 12 years makes it better, or spoils it.  

My model, new in 1996, uses the old Citroen Xsara/Peugeot 306 platform, which still works really well. The suspension is supple, and the car steers nicely.

However, the new model, which is a foot longer, at least 100kg heavier, and compared with my car is more “styled”, uses the much more modern Citroen C4/Peugeot 308 platform.

Thus its crash performance is bound to be better, and its space and carrying capacity are both increased about 10 per cent. But on early acquaintance it lacks the post-2CV simplicity of my car, which I still enjoy. And my 2.0-litre HDi version has been replaced by a higher output, lighter 1.6 HDi, which might lack the low-end grunt I’ve come to value for towing my car-trailer.