French van makers tend to continue selling the old version of a vehicle until long after its successor has been launched. They don’t do it with every model, but it’s a policy that can make sound sense.

Because the tooling has been paid for ages ago, it allows the manufacturer to offer a budget-priced entry-level model that is unlikely to steal sales from the newcomer.

Citroen kept selling the highly regarded C15 van for many years after the original Berlingo was launched in the UK in autumn 1996, and it’s repeating the trick by continuing to market the now-old Berlingo cheek-by-jowl with its replacement, which was introduced in 2008, under the Berlingo First banner. Berlingo First’s continued availability as a brand-new vehicle, at least until next October, is good news for second-hand buyers. It means among other things that there should be no difficulties when it comes to obtaining parts.

Receiving a facelift in 2002, the classic Berlingo has been sold in large quantities. As a consequence there are plenty around to choose from, although some – the ones bought by motor parts wholesalers for instance – may have been worked quite hard.

Make sure you test-drive first before buying, paying particular attention to the quality of the gear-change and the power steering; most Berlingos were equipped with the latter. If gears are difficult to engage and the steering feels heavy – almost as though it is not getting any assistance at all – then that is an indication of problems.

Before you take to the highway, take a look at your van’s rear end. If it is fitted with a tow-bar then the suspension may have suffered; old Berlingos, especially those that have done a high mileage, are not always at their happiest towing heavy trailers. The consequences could be leaking shock absorbers and broken springs – the way in which the van sits on the road will be a give-away.

Cast a beady eye over the paint finish – not all Berlingos had the best in the world – and check out the electrics, especially the indicators. If the one you are looking at has a sliding side door, open and close it a few times to ensure it does not stick.

Aside from the above you should also scrutinise the paperwork. Among other things ensure that the vendor’s name and address is the same as the one on the V5 log-book, and that the Vehicle Identification Number and the one on the V5 match. Above all, contact HPI – – to ensure that your prospective purchase is not stolen, an insurance write-off, or subject to an outstanding finance agreement.

Used prices for old-shape Berlingos have fallen in recent months, so how much should you pay? A recent sale at auctioneer Manheim saw a 2007-vintage 1.6HDi diesel 600 in Enterprise trim and on a 57 plate sell for £3410. It had notched up 31,000 miles. Also dating back to 2007, and on a 57 plate too, a 1.6HDi 600LX with 52,000 miles recorded went for £2580. Meanwhile, a 2008 1.6HDi 600 Enterprise on a 08 plate sold for £2920. It had 42,000 miles under its belt.
At one of its sales BCA sold a 600 First 1.6HDi that had covered 44,000 miles – 2008 on a 58 plate – for £3450. A near-identical vehicle with 54,000 miles recorded was knocked down for £3125.

Those prices should be well within the reachof self-employed trades people and may appeal in particular to those who have just started working for themselves.

The Berlingo was also sold by Citroen’s sister company, Peugeot, as the Partner; the two are virtually identical aside from their badges. Peugeot has sold the previous-design Partner alongside its successor vehicle under the Partner Origin banner. You may find you have to pay slightly more for a Partner, possibly a reflection of the fact that considerably more Berlingos than Partners were sold in some years – almost twice as many in 2002 alone for instance – which can give the latter a bit of a rarity value.