Citroen Berlingo Multispace mixes vast charm with incredible practicality
PUBLISHED: 16:35 21 November 2018 | UPDATED: 16:35 21 November 2018
Tom Wiltshire gets behind the wheel of Citroen's latest Berlingo to see if the van-based multi-purpose vehicle still has a place in today's crossover-dominated market.
The van-based MPV is nothing new but in a world filled with crossovers – where even traditionally budget brands are being forced to move upmarket – the latest models have a lot to do to compete. This is Citroen’s effort – the Berlingo Multispace, ‘funky’ sibling of the Peugeot Rifter and Vauxhall Combo Life.
Sitting on the PSA Group’s new platform, styling is inspired by cars such as Citroen’s C3 Aircross and the latest 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel turbo engines offer decent performance and impressive economy.
Inside has seen the biggest upgrade, with the van’s interior given a serious makeover while plenty of technology has been added.
Looks and image
There’s no disguising the van origins but Citroen’s turned them into something funky and desirable. The front shares the style of the C3 Aircross, while coloured foglight surrounds and funky plastic ‘Airbumps’ on the side panels give a fresh, modern look.
At the back, there’s only so much you can do with a box.
Under the bonnet
The middle option of the three 1.5-litre diesels – 75hp, 100hp or 130hp – has more than adequate performance for most daily needs along with impressive 60mpg economy. On faster roads, you’ll need use the five-speed gearbox – the higher-powered model has six speeds – but it remains impressively refined.
For lighter loads or mainly urban driving, the 110 or 130hp petrols make a great alternative.
How it drives
What the Berlingo aims to do well is comfort – and generally succeeds. There’s a stiffness to the rear inherited from its van roots but it settles with some weight. The Berlingo deals well with potholes and speed bumps, and doesn’t become unsettled on uneven surfaces.
The trade-off is plenty of body lean and some understeer when pushed – not a problem if you stay within its limits.
Space and comfort
Going from the equivalent crossover into the Berlingo Multispace is like stepping from a chapel into a cathedral. It’s vast inside with plenty of legroom and huge headroom for all five occupants. The boot – up to 775 litres – is cavernous but leave plenty of room behind to open the huge tailgate. A longer sever-seat version will follow soon.
You had to take the seats out in previous Berlingos to enjoy a flat load floor but now they fold flat, Twin side sliding doors make access effortless and storage up front is impressive.
The Citroen Berlingo Multispace mixes charm with incredible practicality in a way a similarly-sized crossover would struggle to do. If you value practicality above everything else, there’s little that does the job quite so well as this Berlingo.
SPEC AND TECH
Model: Citroen Berlingo Multispace Feel BlueHDi 100 S&S £19,600 (from £18,875)
Engine: 1,499cc, 100hp, four-cylinder turbo diesel with five-speed manual gearbox
Performance: 0-62mph 12.3 seconds; top speed 109mph
MPG: 65.7 combined
CO2 emissions: 112g/km