Gone is the Citroen Berlingo Multi-Space, replaced by the Citroen Berlingo. Yes, Citroen have dropped the long name from their latest Leisure Activity Vehicle, it is now simply a Berlingo, which I think is very sensible.
Very sensible is a good way to describe the new Berlingo as well. This is small car designed to offer incredibly versatility & after a week behind the wheel, I think I have found the perfect family hire-car cum Festival transport, all in one go. Yes it’s boxy & yes it’s not sexy, but crammed into this little car, are a myriad of clever design touches that will appeal to plenty of families with active lifestyles.
For a car based on a van the Berlingo doesn’t look too boxy. There’s a short front overhang, with the Citroen front grille & Chevron logo. The flanks offer a 60:40 split of steel to glass & both sides feature sliding rear doors. The rear hatch opens wide & there’s an optional rear window that opens, to allow access to the boot without opening the whole rear door. You can gain entry to the roof case, which was fitted to my test model & with the 2 height position parcel shelf you can load your groceries with no need to open the tailgate. The parcel shelf can support up to 25kg. Roof rails & wheel arch cladding also add to the utilitarian looks.
Following along the lines of it’s car range, the Berlingo is available in two trim levels, Feel & Flair, with prices starting at £19,070 for the entry level 1.2L PureTech 110 S&S. We got to drive the 1.5L BlueHDi 100 5-speed manual, which retails at £21,850 & I have to say that at that price, it’s incredibly good value for money.
Citroen have squeezed up to 180 litres of useful storage space into the cabin as well. Vast door pockets plus a dashboard top-loading box make the Berlingo very practical. If that’s not enough, they’ve even added a roof container that drops down from the roof above the boot & there’s almost no part of the Rifter’s interior that hasn’t been utilised for space.
Then there’s the Modutop® Roof, an option on M models & again fitted to our test car. This wide, one-section panoramic glass roof, can be covered with an electric blind & features a floating, translucent arch, including storage compartments, whilst simultaneously, floods the passenger compartment with light. The floating arch has a capacity of up to 14 litres & is edged with LED ambience lighting. The Modutop Roof® has many accessible storage areas giving a total 92 litre capacity.
The new Berlingo makes driving simpler a swell, with up to 19 driver aids, four connectivity technologies, three independent folding rear seats & a folding front passenger seat. New Berlingo is also available for the first time in two sizes, M (5-seats) and XL (7-seats), making it even more practical than before. Just how practical can be seen in it’s capacity figures; with five seats in place, there’s 775 litres under the parcel shelf on M models, 1,050 on XL. You can fold down the three rear seats independently & a folding front passenger seat, increases load length to 2.70m (M) & 3.05m ( XL) & a massive 4000 litres in the back with all rear seats folded down.
New Berlingo offers a choice of four engines ; Two petrol, a 1.2L PureTech 110 S&S 6-speed manual & 130 EAT8 auto & two diesel, a 1.5L BlueHDi 100 5-speed manual & a 130 S&S 6-speed manual & EAT auto. We tested the 1.5 BlueHDi 5 speed manual & like the same engine in Peugeot’s Rifter it really is very good. There’s a bit of pull if required & it’s a quiet & frugal motorway performer. Top speed is 109 mph.The Euro 6.2 petrol engine is also quiet around town & comes with a combined fuel economy of 65.7mpg & emissions of 114g/km, the lowest in the range.
The cabin is satisfyingly laid out to be as useful as possible. Equipment level on our Flair was impressive. A large, 8” colour touchscreen ensures connectivity. Positioned within arm’s reach, it includes two USB ports, a jack socket, Bluetooth connection & a wireless charger. The system is Mirror Screen compatible with Mirror Link, Apple Carplay & Android Auto. Setting up & using your phone hands-free through Bluetooth is straightforward. The built in SatNav system is a little bland to look at but generally works well.
Safety is excellent as well, with both Feel & Flair offering just about everything you’d want, including, ABS, EBD, EBA, ESP with hill start, Adaptive driver & front passenger airbags, front & rear curtain air bags, a safety pack of active lane keeping assistance, speed limit recognition & Active Safety Brake. Both models come with air con, electric heated mirrors, electric front windows, 8” touchscreen, a leather steering wheel & a 230v socket. Outside, both models feature body coloured front bumper, Airbumps, white fog lights surrounds, gloss back roof bars & two sliding side doors.
Flair adds an electric parking brake, height adjustable drivers seat with lumbar support, a foldable passenger seat with under seat storage & elbow rest, tray tables on the rear seats, voice recognition, connected 3D nav, LED daytime running lights & 16” alloy wheels.
You can add extras such as the Safety Plus Pack : Safety Pack, Traffic sign recognition, Driver attention monitoring system, Intelligent Beam Headlights & the Drive assist Pack: Safety Plus Pack, Adaptive cruise control with stop function
My family & I are about to undertake a road trip from San Francisco to San Diego & back & whilst I would prefer the auto Berlingo to the manual, on such a long journey, as far as practicality goes the Berlingo would be hard to beat. My only real criticism of the Berlingo, is that the seats are quite shallow. The depth & width of said seats is somewhat lacking & taller drivers & passengers could suffer. But, other than that, the Berlingo would make the perfect Californian companion, especially with it’s top-notch connectivity.
Anyone who needs a compact people carrier should take a look at the latest Berlingo, as it’s been cleverly thought out & designed. Yes it looks like an MPV that’s based on a van & therefore, it won’t appeal to everyone. However, if you are a family of five travelling a fair way, with luggage, the Berlingo would be very hard to beat. I just hope I get one next time I queue at airport car hire !
A Big Sur 3.5/5