Citroen Berlingo review
Bargain MPV remains one of the best value ways to transport a growing family and everything that goes with it
The Citroen Berlingo has always been a great MPV and an ideal family car thanks to the generous passenger and boot space, low running costs and great value it offers. The latest iteration improves on each of those areas even further, plus it’s much better to drive, reasonably comfortable and certain versions can seat seven. It’s also offered with a choice of petrol, diesel or pure-electric power, with the e-Berlingo one of the few EVs available with seven seats right now. Sure, the Berlingo doesn’t have kerb appeal of a typical family SUV, but those with more sense than money should have it on their next family car shortlist.
About the Citroen Berlingo
Ever since it launched in 1996, the Citroen Berlingo has taken 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 and others continue to employ, with its current crop of rivals like the Volkswagen Caddy, Peugeot Rifter, Vauxhall Combo Life and Mercedes T-Class all following a similar recipe.
The third generation Berlingo is more car-like than ever. Under the metal is a mix of the old Berlingo and PSA’s (now Stellantis’s) EMP2 platform. The latter also serves as the underpinnings for dozens of cars, including the Citroen C5 Aircross, Peugeot 3008 and Vauxhall Grandland family SUVs, while the Berlingo’s modified platform is the same one used by the Peugeot Rifter and Vauxhall Combo Life MPVs. The result is vastly improved refinement, infotainment and safety tech compared to its predecessor.
Car group tests
Used car tests
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 two trim levels to choose from: Feel and range-topping Flair XTR. Standard kit includes an eight-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, rear parking sensors, myriad safety systems and Citroen’s ‘airbump’ panels on the doors which protect against minor dings in supermarket car parks.
In addition to the size and specification, buyers also have a choice of power sources. Base models feature a 1.2-litre PureTech 110 petrol engine under the bonnet, while those who cover lots of miles will find the 1.5-litre BlueHDi 100 and 130 diesel motors more appealing. The more powerful BlueHDi 130 is the only engine available with Citroen’s eight-speed automatic, with the other two paired with a simple six-speed manual gearbox.
If you’re after a greener option, there’s the pure-electric e-Berlingo. It uses a 50kWh battery to power a single electric motor that drives the front wheels. Citroen says the e-Berlingo will cover up to 177 miles on a single charge, and can charge from 0 to 80 per cent in just half an hour.
Used and nearly new
The Berlingo's ‘van with windows’ formula has proven incredibly popular, with Citroen shifting more than three million units of the Berlingo in the past two decades. It remains one of Citroen’s biggest sellers worldwide, 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...
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…
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 Citroen Berlingo MPV, visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk...
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingBargain MPV remains one of the best value ways to transport a growing family and everything that goes with it
- 2Engines, performance and driveTypical family SUVs handle better and offer more refinement, but the Berlingo is comfortable and very easy to drive
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsBuyers have a choice of frugal petrol and diesel engines, or greener electric power, but regardless of which you choose, running costs should be low
- 4Interior, design and technologyChunky exterior design matched with hard-wearing interior – though it can’t fully hide its humble commercial origins
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThere’s not only a vast amount of space, but brilliant design ensures that it’s exploited brilliantly
- 6Reliability and SafetyPlenty of safety kit by van-based standards, but the Berlingo comes with just a standard three-year warranty