First Drive: Citroen Berlingo facelift

Date: Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Earlier this year, Citroen revised its Berlingo light van, freshening up the styling and also bringing an economy improvement.

CO2 figures for the best-in-range automatic 89hp Airdream 1.6-litre diesel driven here dropped from 123g/km to 118g/km, while the official economy figure improved by 2.7mpg to 62.8mpg, although the price also went up. The e-HDi Airdream element of the name basically means the vehicle has a stop/start system and a brake energy recuperation system to maximise efficiency. It’s another £150 on the manual models, but the auto doesn’t have a non-Airdream alternative.

The EGS6 auto, described by Citroen as an automated manual transmission, can also be controlled using the gear lever or steering column-mounted paddles, and as a robotised manual rather than conventional auto it’s more economical than a manual (by 7g/km and 3.9mpg). But there’s a downside: it’s lurchy on the automatic change, which can be anticipated with a lift of the throttle, and it also doesn’t have a creep function like regular autos, so low-speed manoeuvres can be tricky. On the plus side, the gear lever is replaced by a small dial similar to those in charge of the temperature in some vehicles, which means much more legroom for a middle passenger than you’d get with the manual, where the gear lever intrudes significantly into the seating area.

The EGS6 gearbox costs £700 more than the six-speed manual, and is only available in the LX trim level across this model and the L2 750 Berlingo variant.

The rest of the cabin is perfectly usable and offers some decent storage, although it’s all tough durable plastic rather than anything particularly aesthetically pleasing. But there are no quibbles with functionality, space and the innovative Extenso cabin system where the bulkhead folds, as does the outer passenger seat, to offer an extra 1200mm of load length for narrow items.

Our vehicle was fitted with the good-value Enterprise pack. Separate to the Enterprise model trim level, the pack, offered on LX and XTR+ trim Berlingos, costs £600 plus VAT and gives rear parking sensors, aircon and the connecting box that brings Bluetooth and USB audio input.

Verdict

Efficient, cost-effective and practical van let down by jerky auto gearbox.

 



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