Citroen Berlingo Multispace review
Citroen's affordable van-based MPV tested.
Citroen pioneered this class of 'budget MPV' in the UK, and from a handful of initial sales, it is now the market leader in a sector currently worth 15,000 sales a year. So, to maintain its position, it gave the Berlingo a thorough update late 2003, making it look less austere and more SUV-like. The front end is particularly successful, with chunky bumpers and stylish new headlights, while there's more colours and alloy wheel options to please those with larger budgets. Not that any Berlingo is expensive; it costs around two-thirds the price of a Picasso.
And there's even more space inside (easily accessed - the rear doors slide) than many MPVs, due to its van roots. Headroom is huge, enabling the option of Citroen's 'Modubox' (roof-mounted air vents and storage), or the world's largest sunroof. The boot is also simply huge - you have to see it to believe it. Up front, there's a far more luxurious dash, with electric windows and remote central locking fitted as standard. However, the van-like driving position remains; pedals are close, the steering wheel's angled, and it's hard to reach the top of the wheel if you're tall. You get used to it though, as you do to the soft ride, softish but surefooted handling, and reasonable but still-notchy gearchange. Best engines are the zippy 1.6 and punchy, smooth 2.0 HDi diesel - the 1.4's hard work, and the 1.9 diesel's even slower and not as economical as you'd think, if surprisingly smooth. Overall, a happy, friendly car to drive and travel in, and perfectly refined transport if you're counting the pennies. The update makes a fine car even better.