Citroen Berlingo Multispace 1.6 HDi VTR

Seven-seater diesel MPV is the ace of space in our £14,000 pack

it’s hard to beat the Citroen Berlingo Multispace on value for money. If you want as much space as you can get for £14,000, this car – or sister company Peugeot’s near-identical Partner Tepee – is a shoo-in.

What’s more, spending this amount of money doesn’t restrict your choice too much. Steer clear of the flagship XTR versions, and you can pretty much have your pick. The 88bhp 1.6-litre petrol VT starts from as little as £11,785 – although we’ve chosen the firm’s more economical 88bhp 1.6-litre HDi diesel, in mid-range VTR trim.

It costs £13,215, and we’d recommend specifying the £825 Family Pack option, which brings extra airbags, an additional 12-volt socket and airline-style picnic trays on the front seatbacks. This nudges the price over our £14,000 budget by less than the cost of a full tank of fuel, and gives you a genuine seven-seat MPV with near-50mpg potential – which is simply brilliant value for money.

Unfortunately, the Family Pack doesn’t include anything to improve the Berlingo’s appearance. Say what you like about the affordability of budget people carriers, but their styling is still the biggest obstacle that car makers have to overcome.

At the front, the Citroen doesn’t appear too ungainly, with its smooth, car-like nose. The tall body, vertical sides and big windows are the trade-off for its cut-price approach – although when you climb aboard, these compromises begin to make sense, as there are lots of useful benefits to the Multispace’s commercial roots. Not only does the interior provide a massive amount of head, leg and shoulder room wherever you sit, but access to it could not be easier, thanks to the tall seating position and sliding rear doors.

Legroom is generous everywhere, even in the optional third row, although boot space does suffer if you use all seven seats. Still, they’re reasonably simple to remove – and if you haven’t opted for the Family Pack, you get a vast 675-litre load area. It has the potential to accommodate 3,000 litres of luggage if you remove the second row, too.

You even get air-conditioning, remote central locking and handy storage drawers beneath the front seats. And the surprises don’t stop when you take to the road, as the Berlingo is a capable performer.

The 88bhp diesel engine is torquey and smooth, and gives the big Citroen lively performance. We just wish the five-speed manual gearbox featured an extra ratio, as refinement suffers at high cruising speeds.

On twistier roads, the tall-bodied MPV displays uncanny composure. Yes, there’s plenty of roll if you push it hard through corners, but there’s more than enough grip, and the Multispace is still able to raise a smile at the same time as scoring on comfort. All this, on top of claimed economy of nearly 50mpg, makes it an endearing and appealing package.

In detail * Price: £13,215 * Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000): £5,194/39.3% * Benefit in kind tax bracket: 20% * Annual tax liability (std/higher rate): £529/£1,057 * Road tax band/cost: F/£125  Insurance group: 4 * Driver Power pos. (manufacturer/dealer): 26th/23rd * Euro NCAP  (adult/child/pedestrian/overall): 4/4/2/75 * Engine: 1.6-litre diesel, 4cyl * Power/torque: 88bhp at 4,000rpm/215Nm at 1,750rpm * 0-62mph/top speed: 14.3 seconds/100mph * CO2: 149g/km * Urban/extra urban/combined econ: 40.4/56.5/49.6mpg * Length/width: 4,380mm/1,810mm * Wheelbase/height: 2,728mm/1,852mm * Kerbweight: 1,407kg * Boot capacity (seats up/down): 675/3,000 litres * Standard equipment: Electric heated mirrors, sliding doors, split/fold/removable rear bench, trip computer

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