In-depth reviews

Citroen Berlingo review

Bargain MPV remains one of the best value ways to transport a growing family and everything that goes with it

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£21,105 to £27,935
  • Cheap to buy
  • Comfortable
  • Van-like practicality
  • Van-like looks
  • Wind noise
  • Clunky manual gearbox

The Berlingo keeps all of the things that made the previous model a great MPV – brilliant passenger and boot space, low running costs, great value – and improves on each even further. Crucially, it’s much better to drive than before and while it’s not quite as fun as most rival family cars, it’s refined and reasonably comfortable.

Upon release in 1996, the Citroen Berlingo took a different approach to its MPV rivals. While most were developed from the ground up to be cars first and foremost, the Citroen used more humble van underpinnings. Adding windows and seats to a popular commercial vehicle made for a rugged, simple and affordable alternative to the mainstream.

This ‘van with windows’ formula is one that Citroen continues to employ, with rivals like the (closely related) Vauxhall Combo Life and Volkswagen Caddy Life also following a similar recipe. Citroen has sold 3.3 million units in the last two decades and the Berlingo remains Citroen’s second-biggest seller worldwide (behind the C3).

The third generation model is more car-like than ever, though: under the skin it’s a mix of the old Berlingo and PSA’s latest EMP2 platform – underpinnings used by the likes of the Peugeot 3008 and the Citroen C5 Aircross. The result is vastly improved refinement, infotainment and safety tech compared to its predecessor.

But it’s practicality where the Citroen Berlingo has always shone, and the good news is that it’s now more useful than ever. The boxy exterior shape translates into fantastic passenger and boot space, while deep cubbies, a huge glovebox and a host of other clever storage spaces shows that genuine thought has been invested in the cabin.

There are two body styles to choose from: the M model is the standard model, while the XL measures 35cm longer – enough space for a third row of seats, taking the total from five to seven. There are three trim levels to choose from: Feel, and the better-equipped Flair and the range-topping Flair XTR.

The Berlingo competes against the likes of the Fiat Doblo Passenger and Volkswagen Caddy Life, but its closest rivals come from within the PSA brand: the Berlingo, Peugeot Rifter and the Vauxhall Combo Life are – minor cosmetic differences aside – close to identical. In other words, choosing between the three should really come down to money: we recommend choosing whichever of the three is offered with the most competitive deal at the time.

Used and nearly new

The Berlingo's ‘van with windows’ formula has proven incredibly popular, with Citroen shifting 3.3 million units of the Berlingo in the past two decades. It remains Citroen’s second-biggest seller worldwide, behind the C3 supermini so you should have little trouble finding a used Citroen Berlingo for your budget if a new car doesn't quite fit the bill.

Citroen Berlingo Mk3: 2018-

The current Citroen Berlingo is the best of the breed, as you'd expect. More car-like than ever, with a subtle hint of SUV in the styling, it uses a platform shared with the likes of the Citroen C5 Aircross and Peugeot 3008. This means it’s safer and more refined than before, with the latest tech you’d expect to find in a modern family car. It might look like a van, but it doesn’t feel like one when you’re inside. Practicality is now desirable. Read our full Mk3 Citroen Berlingo buyer’s guide here...  

Berlingo Mk2

Citroen Berlingo Multispace Mk2: 2008-2018

It’s not the most stylish car on the market, but few cars offer such a compelling blend of practicality and value for money. The diesel versions should be inexpensive to run, and reliability is good, providing you buy a good example. The Mk2 Berlingo Multispace  was one of a relatively rare-breed of van-based people-carriers, which accounts for its exceptional space efficiency. It shares its underpinnings with the Peugeot Partner, has highly practical sliding side doors and can transport seven passengers. If you take the last row of seats out, the luggage area is a whopping 3,000 litres. Read our full Mk2 Citroen Berlingo buyer’s guide here… 

berlingo

Citroen Berlingo Multispace Mk1: 1996-2008

This is where it all began for the Citroen Berlingo. Claims that MPVs were nothing more than vans with windows didn’t worry Citroen when it launched its original Berlingo in 1998, playing on the fact this boxy people-carrier was derived from a van in order to offer as much practicality as possible. Being based on a van meant immense practicality for relatively little outlay, while with no sporting pretensions, owners also loved the comfort offered by their Berlingos. 

For an alternative review of the latest Citroen Berlingo MPV visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk

Next Steps

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.2 PureTech Feel M 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £21,105

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.2 PureTech Feel M 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £21,105

Fastest

  • Name
    1.5 BlueHDi 130 Flair XTR M 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £25,260

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