It may be no frills but the Berlingo crew van demonstrated versatility and practicality during its time on the What Van? fleet.
Despite its Gallic heritage, if the Citroën Berlingo Enterprise Edition Crew Van XL was a dinner it would be more bangers and mash than beef bourguignon.
Having put in six months of solid graft as an honest workhorse on the What Van? fleet, I have now bid the Berlingo a fond adieu.
Overall, the crew van impressed, with its versatility enabling it to serve competently as both a load lugger and a people carrier – although the lack of windows in the back does
make it gloomy and claustrophobic for rear-seat passengers.
The Berlingo’s popularity has grown in recent years. It consistently features in the top 10 monthly sales lists for LCVs and often vies to be the most popular compact van with its Stellantis stablemates, the Peugeot Partner and Vauxhall Combo. All are similar, of course, and to that list can be added the Fiat Professional Doblo Cargo and Toyota Proace City by dint of Toyota’s product-sharing deal with Stellantis.
With the rear seats and bulkhead in place, load volume is 1.8m3 but if you make use of the fold-down rear seating and under-seat storage when not carrying passengers this increases to 3.8m3. The cabin has a functional feel, with an old school handbrake positioned between the front seats and a key that actually has to be turned in the ignition. Storage provision inside the cabin is ample and includes an overhead shelf, 1.5L bottle holders in the front door pockets, a topbox storage compartment and cupholders at either end of the dashboard plus two more by the gear stick. It is not entirely without creature comforts either, the air-conditioning efficiently keeps the cabin cool in hot weather, DAB radio is included as standard and the 8in touchscreen is clear and easy to use.
Height and reach-adjustable steering and six-way adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support make it easy to find the most suitable driving position. The 1.5L 100hp BlueHDI engine performs well both in urban and extra-urban environments, is impressively torquey even at low speeds and pulls strongly across the rev range. A turning circle of 11.4m helps to make the Enterprise XL easy to manoeuvre in tight city streets. The steering is nicely weighted and offers decent feedback on winding roads where it combines well with the notch-free six-speed manual gearbox.
On the minus side, some of the ADAS installed could irritate, particularly the over-zealous and shrill speed camera alert. Meanwhile, the dashboard-mounted indicator that tells the driver when to select a more economical gear is tiny and hard to see. My biggest gripe was with the hands-free phone pairing via Bluetooth. Receiving calls on the move was fine but the system failed to download my contacts or to recall ingoing or outgoing calls. Every time the ignition was turned, I was greeted by the message, ‘synchronisation failed’.
Load-carrying functionality was far more impressive. The transformation of the interior from five-seater to two-seater is achieved by unclasping bolts at either end of the mesh bulkhead and sliding it forward on overhead rails to secure against the front seat backs, allowing the load area to be easily accessed by the two sliding side doors as well as the twin asymmetric rear doors. It is an ingenious, well-conceived system. Space for longer items such as pipes or step ladders can be freed up by opening the hatch door in the bulkhead and folding down the front passenger seat. Commendably, Citroën has produced a crew van that, when required, can be transformed into as effective a load lugger as a single-cab van. Another positive is build quality, something for which Citroën has traditionally been less renowned than brands such as Volkswagen and Toyota, for example. The Berlingo, however, is robust, solidly put together and able to handle punishing work schedules.
Practicality = 4/5
The crew van’s versatility serves it well.
Handling/performance = 4/5
For a work-focused van both are impressive.
Driver assistance features = 2/5
Hit and miss, too much is optional rather than standard.
Load carrying = 4/5
A versatile and practical load lugger.
Cabin = 3/5
Few frills but functional and comfortable enough.
Build quality = 4/5
Well-put together and able to soak up punishment.
Overall score: 70%
Citroen Berlingo Enterprise Edition Crew Van XL BlueHDi 100
Official combined fuel economy 47.0mpg
Our average consumption 42.1mpg
Price (ex VAT) £25,130
Service intervals 2yrs/25,000mls
Load length 1,450mm
Load width (min/max) 1,229mm/1,550mm
Load bay height 1,243mm
Load volume (with seats folded) 3.8m3
Gross payload 843kg
Braked towing weight 1,250kg
Engine size/power 1,499cc/102hp
Options (prices ex VAT)
Rear parking sensors £200
Colour touchscreen with Citroen Connect Navigation £450
Spare wheel £105