Steve Banner starts to get to grips with the compact yet feature-laden new arrival on
the What Van? fleet.
Citroen’s Berlingo is the latest recruit to What Van?’s long-term test fleet. The newcomer is an Enterprise BlueHDi 75 standard-length M model powered by a 76hp, 1.5-litre diesel married to a five-speed manual transmission.
The same engine is up for grabs at 102hp, again with a five-speed box, and at 131hp with an eight-speed automated box. The Berlingo can also be ordered with a 110hp 1.2-litre petrol engine with a six-speed manual box.
The three-seater Berlingo boasts a 3.3m3 load area. Opt for the longer XL model, which is also sold as a five-seater crew van, and cargo space expands to 3.9m3. Fold the front outboard passenger seat back – a capability found on most derivatives – and available carrying space expands to 3.8m3 and 4.4m3, respectively.
Enterprise specifications sit above the entry-level X trim but below the top-of-the-range Driver. It is also important to mention the Worker specification level, which sits at somewhat of a tangent from the others. Aimed at customers in the construction and utilities industries, it includes increased ground clearance and mud and snow tyres.
Enterprise trim comes with air conditioning, cruise control with a variable speed limiter, an electronic parking brake, an alarm, electric folding mirrors and a tyre pressure monitor. The comfortable driver’s seat is height adjustable and comes with lumbar adjustment, while front fog-lights make winter driving a lot safer.
Drivers also benefit from an Extenso seat package, which includes the aforementioned folding outboard passenger seat. In addition, the back of the middle seat folds downwards to reveal a desk that swivels towards the driver.
Forming part of the deal too is a load-through facility, which is incorporated in the full-height steel bulkhead. It can be invaluable for carrying something that is slightly too long for the cargo bed.
Turning to infotainment, this package includes a DAB radio with steering-mounted remote controls, a USB port, Bluetooth compatability and an 8in colour touch-screen offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Satellite navigation is included in the Driver specification level or as an extra-cost option.
Access to our well-equipped demonstrator’s load bay is by means of twin rear doors, plus a sliding nearside door. Six load tie-down points are provided. These, along with the aforementioned bulkhead, should help ensure that the occupants of the cab do not suffer if cargo starts to shift forwards under heavy braking.
It’s good to see so much storage space in the cab, but the three-seater configuration leaves a little to be desired. Legroom for an adult passenger in the middle seat is almost non-existent, thanks to a moulding that curves outward from the dashboard and accommodates the gear stick.
Our attractive-looking and well put together Berlingo is finished in special Passion Red paint, which adds £480 to the final invoice. Just as well, then, that the body is protected by side rubbing strips. All prices quoted exclude VAT.
As Citroen is part of Stellantis (formerly PSA Group), versions of the Berlingo with different badges are marketed by fellow group brands Peugeot and Vauxhall. The former sells it as the Partner and the latter as the Combo. The Berlingo is also sold by Toyota as the Proace City under a joint venture.
On the whole, the Berlingo undoubtedly handles well. Push it hard into a corner and it hangs on in there, with no body roll or unseemly lurching at all.
The ride and gear change are both acceptable, but acceleration from rest and up through the gears is a little on the tardy side. Hopefully matters will improve as we pile on the miles.
Cab noise levels are too high – road noise is a particular issue – and the extra acoustic insulation installed in the Driver derivatives wouldn’t go amiss, either.
The absence of a sixth gear was glaringly obvious when joining any motorway or dual carriageway. Why on earth is a six-speed manual box only offered with the petrol engine?
In terms of fuel consumption, it’s early days but the Berlingo is averaging 46.3mpg running lightly laden. Let’s wait and see what happens when we put some weight in the back.
Report card: Handling = 4/5
Citroen Berlingo Enterprise BlueHDi 75
Official combined fuel economy (WLTP) 51.4mpg
Our average consumption 46.3mpg
Price range tbc
Price (ex VAT) £19,035
Service intervals 2yrs/25,000mls
Load length 1817mm
Load width (min/max) 1229mm/1550mm
Load bay height 1236mm
Load volume 3.3m3
Gross payload 680kg
Engine size/power 1499cc/76hp
CO2 (WLTP) 142g/km
On sale October 2018
Options (prices ex VAT)
Special paint £480