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Citroen Berlingo Van Review

5 Stars (189 Reviews)
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Latest Reviews

  • Derek Millen - 04/01/2019

    Great small van

    5 Stars
  • Derek Millen - 04/01/2019

    Great small van

    5 Stars
  • Derek Millen - 19/12/2018

    Great spec on this van for the price.

    5 Stars
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  • Handling: STARS
  • Comfort: STARS
  • Quality: STARS
  • Reliability: STARS
  • Performance: STARS
  • Practicality: STARS
  • Running Costs: STARS
  • Value for Money: STARS

Our Review

Citroën Berlingo L1 H1 1.6 HDi 625Kg Enterprise 75PS Review

Some manufacturers try to palm you off with exaggerated claims that their vehicles are new when in fact they are little more than facelifts. However, Citroen’s latest Berlingo van – launched in 2012 – is a dramatic improvement on the previous model, with far more style and sophistication about it. Berlingo vans have swept the board with Fleet Van’s Van of the Year and Best Small Van of the Year awards for a second year in succession. Among others, it has also netted Trade Van Driver’s Best Small Van of the Year accolade. And rightly so, in our opinion.

At a glance

On the face of it, replacing the established 1.9 and 2.0-litre diesel engines with a 1.6-litre unit may seem like a step backwards, but diesel technology has come on at such a pace that Citroen’s smaller engines are better than the bigger old ones, so it is logical to use them and save weight. And that’s exactly what Citroën has done with the Berlingo. The old engines were admirable performers but the new 1.6 HDi is much better. The Berlingo is offered in either 75bhp or 90bhp specifications (the model on test here is the 75bhp version) and torque is increased and offered at lower revs than in the old 2.0-litre unit.

On the outside, the Berlingo has been given a feisty-looking new front end which endows the van with a chunkier, more solid look. The new bonnet is more horizontal and has been raised by 40mm. Headlamps are bigger and now have clear polycarbonate lenses, with beams and indicators in one cluster. The front bumper has also been raised. Other big news is the addition of a standard side-loading door on Enterprise models and the fact that this van will now run on up to 30% biodiesel.

Engines and spec.

Engine choice is kept simple with a straight division between 1.6-litre petrol and diesel motors. Customers can choose from a 90bhp petrol engine (which can be an LPG converted van through the Citroën dealer), or a class-leading 1.6HDi diesel with either 75bhp or 90bhp outputs. The petrol version may be swift enough, but for most users one of the diesels would seem a better fit.  Two wheelbase versions (L1 & L2) and four payloads (625kg, 725kg, 750kg and 850kg) in total are available. In summary, there are three trim levels (X, LX and Enterprise), no less than four engines (1.6i 95, HDi 75, HDi 90 and e-HDi 90), and five-speed manual or six-speed automated manual EGS6 gearboxes for customers to choose from.

At the wheel

Greater comfort and a better quality interior are the major features that stand out in the second-generation Berlingo. The driver's seat is set at just the right height for anybody on multi-drop delivery work who has to hop in and out of the vehicle umpteen times a day. That's just as well given that while the height of the steering column can be altered, the height of the seat can't be. Most people should find that the driving position is reasonably comfortable, on short journeys at least, with plenty of head and shoulder room. Deep windows give good vision ahead and to either side.

The cabin is fairly roomy and the materials used feel more expensive than on previous models. Oddments storage space includes a bin in each door with a moulding to accommodate a soft drink can, a rather small glove box with a shelf above it and a cubby-hole at the bottom of the dashboard with mouldings to hold a couple of cups. Look upwards and you'll find a shelf that runs the full width of the cab, positioned just above the windscreen.

In the rear compartment loads can be lashed to six tie-down points. A lip on the edge of the cargo bed should help stop unsecured items sliding forwards and finishing up in the cab, with a tubular steel frame mounted behind the driver's seat providing the occupant with some defence should anything heavy hurtle forwards.

All models come equipped with a trip computer, electric front windows and internally adjustable door mirrors. LX models add electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors and an external temperature display. All come with a CD stereo, while air conditioning is an option on LX models. Other items include a height-adjustable driver's seat with lumbar support and an armrest, height and reach adjustable steering, lidded glove compartment and a dashboard-mounted clipboard. Most versions also come with Smartnav navigation and Trackstar stolen vehicle tracking systems (the 1.6i X is the exception in the range as it's an entry-level van).The interior up front is workmanlike and practical, with everything where you'd expect it to be and simple and sturdy. The test vehicle came with an Enterprise pack, which adds air con, Bluetooth/USB connectivity and rear parking sensors which at £600 is a bit of a bargain. The Bluetooth telephone connection operated with the ease that few cars can manage and the seats give superb support and comfort

On the road

An eager little engine, the new 1.6-litre diesel gives lively performance both around town and on the open road; Nor will it cost you a packet at the pumps, as we averaged nearly 50mpg. A user-friendly gear-change aids progress and the Berlingo's wheel-at-each-corner stance benefits both the ride and the handling with little body roll. However, care needs to be taken not to change into reverse gear from fifth in expectation of a non-existent sixth!

On the security front, remote central locking comes as standard and when you're inside you can lock all the doors by pressing a button on the dashboard. The doors all lock automatically once you're in motion. With service intervals set at 12,500 miles, the Berlingo comes with a praiseworthy three year/100,000 mile warranty, with no mileage limit in the first two years.

Our Verdict

There’s no doubting that the Berlingo van has maintained popularity for very good reasons. It’s stylish, practical and performs well and is versatile enough for a broad range of business uses. There is a lot to like about the latest model including its efficient use of space in the cabin area, with three front seats (not available on the base model, only LX and above), two of which fold flat and extend the usable wheelbase in order to take long loads such as ladders. The silky smooth turbodiesel engines are so quiet and flexible you can easily forget you’re not in the petrol engined version, that is, until you experience the HDi units’ frugal fuel consumption. Parking sensors are a sensible addition and we particularly liked the full width overhead storage shelf, the removable dedicated sat nav which stores in the glove compartment and the useful ‘curry hook’ in the passenger foot well. On the debit side, we would have liked better shaped front seats for longer journeys and a little more leg room for the driver and passengers.

Our man with a van

Adrian Foster

Motoring journalist Adrian Foster has been commissioned to write impartial van and pick up reviews for our website, specifically to help with your decision making process. We have provided him with a van and the spec and nothing more, so you can rely on his views being real and honest.

Adrian began his career in the motor retail industry with Perry’s Group before turning his hand to motoring journalism. He launched the Drivelines motoring press agency as a means of providing high quality journalism on new cars, commercial vehicles, motorsport and the motor industry at large.

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