Car group tests

Fiat Doblo vs Citroen Berlingo vs Ford Tourneo Connect

Fiat's new Doblo squares up against its van-based Ford and Citroen MPV rivals

If you want to maximise the amount of space per pound you get from a car, then you can’t do much better than a van-based MPV. Their commercial vehicle roots give you a large, square load area to play with, and sliding side doors boost access in tight spots.

One staple of the sector is the Fiat Doblo, and the second-generation model has recently been revamped with a new look, different engines and revised suspension. But the Doblo has plenty of tough competition in the class, and we’ve lined up a pair of accomplished rivals here to give it a run for its money.

The Ford Tourneo Connect has also been the subject of an update, with the old 1.6 TDCi diesel being replaced by a new 1.5 TDCi that the brand claims is more efficient without sacrificing performance.

Best MPVs and people carriers to buy

Our second opponent is the Citroen Berlingo. Even in this cost-conscious market, the Berlingo is a great-value choice. But it’s been on sale for a while now, so can it still cut it against newer rivals?

As these MPVs are available in a variety of styles and configurations, we’re looking at the overall ranges to see which model delivers the best mix of practicality, value and car-like driving ability.

Head to head

Rear access

All three cars have top-hinged back doors, while the Citroen’s tailgate glass opens to boost access in tight spots. The Fiat can be had with side-hinged doors for £115. They open to 90 degrees normally, but can be unlatched to 180 degrees to boost access. The offset split obscures rear visibility, though.

Van roots

There’s no avoiding the fact that these cars are essentially vans with windows. At least the Tourneo embraces its van roots, as it has two-part door mirrors with wide-angle glass to boost visibility. The Doblo’s restricted rear view means it could really do with a set.

Seven seats?

The Berlingo is the cheapest car to upgrade, at £850, while the Doblo’s third row costs £925 but has a 1.65-metre height restriction. You have to spend £2,250 extra for a Grand Tourneo. It’s 400mm longer and has a vast 1,287-litre boot in five-seat mode.

Verdict

First place: Ford Tourneo Connect

The Tourneo demands fewer compromises than its van-based MPV rivals, and it’s the only car in the class that doesn’t feel like a van to drive. The new 1.5 TDCi is a good performer, yet it might struggle with a full load in seven-seat Grand Tourneo guise. Go for the standard wheelbase in Titanium trim, and it’s a practical, user-friendly car with smart seating and an upmarket feel.

Second place: Citroen Berlingo

It’s getting on, but the Berlingo’s mix of space, practicality and efficiency puts it ahead of the Fiat. The top-spec XTR model offers great value and decent performance with the 118bhp engine, although we’d recommend trying a seven-seat version for size before committing. A better option would be to stick with five seats and add the Modutop cabin storage system.

Third place: Fiat Doblo

The updated Doblo offers lots of space and a few neat storage touches, but it’s not enough for it to make an impact here. The diesel engines aren’t particularly efficient, even with stop/start, and while access to the back seats is better than in the Citroen, it’s well behind the Ford. Add in pricing onpar with its rivals and an average driving experience, and it comes third.

Other options...

New: Volkswagen Caddy Life

Price: £19,989 Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, 101bhp

Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life TSI 2016 - front tracking 2

It’s pricier than our test cars (a top-spec Maxi Life 2.0 TDI 150 DSG is nearly £27k), but the new Caddy offers a car-like drive. It looks more like a van than the Ford, yet that means you get a vast load area.

Used: Ford Galaxy 2.0 TDCi Titanium X

Price: £19,500 Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, 161bhp

Ford Galaxy

For the price of the five-seat Tourneo Connect, you could bag a two-year-old top-spec Ford Galaxy. At this price, you’ll avoid high-mile ex-taxis, and kit includes nav, leather and climate control.

Figures

 Ford Tourneo Connect 1.5 TDCi 120 TitaniumCitroen Berlingo BlueHDi 120 XTRFiat Doblo 1.6 MultiJet 95 Lounge S&S
On the road price/total as tested£19,645/£24,025£18,975/£21,060£19,430/£20,870
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)£8,585/43.7%£7,267/38.3%£6,587/33.9%
Depreciation£11,060£11,708£12,843
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£901/£1,802£870/£1,741£924/£1,848
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,407/£2,345£1,427/£2,378£1,954/£3,257
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost9/£454/C/£3017/£706/C/£308/£629/D/£110
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£159/£249/£159£149/£149/£209£399 (3yrs)
    
Length/wheelbase4,418/2,662mm4,384/2,728mm4,406/2,755mm
Height/width1,852/1,966mm1,862/1,810mm1,845/1,832mm
Engine4cyl in-line/1,560cc4cyl in-line/1,560cc4cyl in-line/1,598cc
Peak power/revs118/3,600 bhp/rpm118/3,500 bhp/rpm94/2,500 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs270/1,750 Nm/rpm300/1,750 Nm/rpm300/1,500 Nm/rpm
Transmission6-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel60 litres/£12053 litres/repair kit60 litres/£170
Boot capacity (seats up/removed)1,029/2,410 litres675/3,000 litres790/3,200 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,449/591/1,200kg1,630/455/1,300kg1,430/810/1,300kg
Turning circle11.3 metres11.0 metres11.2 metres
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (100,000)/1yr3yrs (60,000)/1yr3yrs (unltd)/1yr
Service intervals/UK dealers20k miles (1yr)/78116k miles (1yr)/19612k miles (1yr)/160
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.27th/26th*26th/9th*32nd/11th*
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars94/85/62/5 (2013)56/74/63/3 (2014)N/A
    
0-60/30-70mph12.6/13.6 secs11.1/11.9 secs13.7/15.1 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th5.5/7.8 secs4.3/5.5 secs4.8/6.1 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th12.2/15.6 secs9.0/11.1 secs9.7/12.0 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph106mph/2,000rpm109mph/2,100rpm99mph/2,200rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph52.4/37.6/11.7m51.5/35.8/10.9m55.6/33.5/12.4m
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph64/47/58/66dB65/45/62/68dB73/48/61/68dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range43.2/9.5/570 miles42.6/9.4/497 miles31.1/6.8/410 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined57.6/64.2/61.4mpg57.6/67.3/64.2mpg52.3/65.7/60.1mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined12.7/14.1/13.5mpl12.7/14.8/14.1mpl11.5/14.5/13.2mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket175/119g/km/23%178/115g/km/23%243/124g/km/24%
    
Airbags/Isofix/rear park sensors/camSix/yes/yes/£390Four/yes/yes/£210Four/yes/yes/no
Auto box/stability/cruise control/AEB^No/yes/yes/yesNo/yes/yes/£450No/yes/yes/no
Climate control/leather/heated seats£240/no/£120£290/no/no£295/no/no
Metallic paint/high roof/seven seats£360/no/£2,250£520/no/£850£500/£885/£925
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/Bluetooth£900/yes/yes/yes£400/yes/yes/yesNo/yes/no/yes

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