First Drive: Citroen Berlingo Airdream

Date: Thursday, April 26, 2012

Citroen has bolstered the green credentials of its Euro5 Berlingo range with the addition of a series of e-HDi Airdream micro-hybrid models, which further improve fuel economy and reduce emissions to squeaky-clean levels for diesel commercial vehicle drivetrains.

We tested the 1.6 90hp Airdream with EGS six-speed automated manual transmission. The engine comes with stop/start and regenerative braking, and delivers economy of 60.1mpg coupled with CO2 of 123g/km.
The transmission works well in automatic mode, with none of the  disconcerting delays or lurches between shifts that can sometimes dog automated manual systems. We were less convinced by the paddle shift controls on the steering wheel, which would be more at home on a sports car than a frugal van.
Our model came with the shorter load base (L1) and LX trim level, which occupies the middle ground between X and Enterprise, although the van did come endowed with options such as metallic paint, aircon, Bluetooth/USB socket, rear parking sensors, cruise control and speed limiter. The inclusion of both rear parking sensors and cruise control was a nice touch, and the speed camera warning alerts came in handy too. Citroen likes to trumpet the wide availability of its “unique” Trafficmaster Smartnav system in its CV line-up but the simple-to-use navigation device is handily placed to the driver’s right on the dash and undoubtedly makes life easier.
Our time with the Berlingo coincided with the late winter cold snap, but the van took the icy conditions in its stride and the heater rapidly made the interior as warm as toast despite the occupants’ exposure to the load bay, which is accessed through hinged rear doors and a sliding nearside door. The driver is protected from unhinged cargo by a ladder frame bulkhead.
If you’re in the market for a light van than the Berlingo Airdream is certainly worthy of consideration.

 

Verdict
A well-specced and competent vehicle both around town and on motorways.



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