- The interior is huge
- Low running costs
- Very comfortable throughout
- Its angular looks won’t appeal to everyone
- Petrol engines are a little sluggish
- Not an exciting car to drive
The Citroen Berlingo may be based on a van, but because of its boxy lines and vast interior, it’s one of the most practical family cars money can buy.
There’s a choice of a standard five-seater or an XL seven-seater model. Both have well-designed interiors with plenty of useful storage and a spacious boot. The interior features some cheaper materials and lacks premium appeal, but bright colours and big windows combine to deliver a welcoming ambiance. There’s also plenty of equipment built into this versatile car, with everything you’re likely to need.
There’s a choice of petrol and diesel engines, with the punchy and economical petrol being the best bet. It’s not exciting to drive but the soft suspension makes it comfortable and relaxing.
Both the standard and XL versions have roomy interiors that offer lots of head and legroom. There are three individual rear seats that all fold flat separately to provide even more space when needed.
The XL version is a little longer (350 mm) and has a pair of individual seats in the boot that can be removed entirely when you don’t need them.
In the standard Feel version, there’s a vast 775 litre boot which is big enough for four large suitcases. When the back seats are folded flat, this extends to a huge 2,126 litres which turns the Berlingo into a van that can hold large pieces of furniture or a couple of bikes. There’s also an impressive 186 litres of storage spread over 28 different boxes and cubbies, which is great for holding all the family’s everyday essentials. Versions with the Modutop roof set-up also feature airplane-style overhead lockers for even more storage.
There’s a touchscreen infotainment screen that sits on top of the dashboard so you can use it without looking down and taking your eyes off the road. Models with the automatic gearbox feature a simple rotary gear selector that frees up space where the gear stick would usually be for extra storage.
Some of the plastics look low cost, but the Berlingo is robustly built and includes must-have kit, such as air con and smartphone connectivity in the form of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
With its vast windscreen and high driving position, the Berlingo feels very straightforward to drive. The steering is accurate and has plenty of grip when going round corners.
Its soft suspension makes for a comfortable drive with it coping effortlessly on bumpy roads. It’s also quiet, with only the large door mirrors causing a little wind rush on the motorway.
The engine line-up is limited to one turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol and two 1.5-litre diesel options. The 99 horsepower (hp) entry-level diesel is smooth enough, but if you plan on carrying heavy loads take a look at the more powerful 128 hp version.
The petrol is a great choice for most people with its combination of power and economy. A five or six-speed manual gearbox is standard, while a slick eight-speed automatic is only available on the most powerful diesel.
The Berlingo offers more room for your money than most. The diesel versions are the most economical, with a claimed 68.9 mpg for the entry-level version, while even the 1.2-litre petrol will reach 50 mpg if driven sensibly.
Servicing costs are good while low insurance groupings mean that you won’t pay high costs for an annual premium.
On the whole, owners appear satisfied with the Berlingo, rating it highly for practicality and low running costs. Satisfaction surveys show up some concerns about build quality and minor mechanical faults.
Citroen has always taken safety seriously and the Berlingo is no exception. Not only is there the full complement of airbags, but it also earned a five star Euro NCAP rating when tested in 2018. More importantly, all models feature autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warning.
Best for economy - BlueHDi 100
Best for families - XL BlueHDi 130
Best for fun - BlueHDi 130
There are three trim levels to choose from - Feel, Flair and XTR - which offer increasing equipment and style. The entry-level Feel has all the basics covered, with infotainment touchscreen and air con among the equipment list. The Flair adds better equipment and looks more upmarket thanks to its roof bars and contrasting exterior trim inserts. The more rugged-looking XTR features a reversing camera and parking sensors.