What's the used Citroën Berlingo Multispace estate like?
The original van-based Citroen Berlingo Multispace was a huge and unprecedented hit. It might have looked a little plain-jane and a trifle rugged in its approach, but punters loved it for its versatility, usability and cheap pricing, and it sold like the proverbial hot cakes. It remained on sale for over 10 very successful years.
So this all-new second-generation MPV, launched in 2008, had a lot to live up to. It could be, like the first one, bought as an almost identical Peugeot, the Partner Tepee, and it could, of course, be purchased still as a van. Indeed it was designed from the off to be both an MPV and a van, so think of it as more, much more, than just a tool for transporting fence panels and roofing felt - it had proper windows for people to see out of and it drove at least as well as a number of its contemporary cars.
It was noticeably larger than the old car, too, with the front proudly sporting Citroen’s latest corporate face. Under that more fancy bonnet engine choices were a 93bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine or the perky 108bhp turbocharged 1.2-litre PureTech unit. There was a choice of two diesels, both 1.6-litre in capacity, but with outputs of 99 and 118bhp.
Trim levels were limited to just Feel and Flair. The entry-level Feel model came with 15in steel wheels, lots of body colour moulded body parts and split tailgate as standard, while the inside gained air conditioning, cruise control and Bluetooth and USB connectivity.
Upgrading to the range-topping Flair trim gained you a few more luxuries, namely, a 7.0in touchscreeen infotainment system with DAB radio, parking sensors, heated and folding wing mirrors, rear picnic tables and 16in alloy wheels.
On the road, unless you’re really motoring on a strict budget the entry-level petrol and diesels are best avoided; they feel weak and lack the refinement of the more powerful diesels, reminding you a little too much of the commercial vehicle that lies within. The more powerful engines get along well enough, with the slightly gruff diesel producing plenty of low-down oomph.
The gearchange is a little agricultural, however, but the ride is surprisingly smooth, with an ease that mostly masks poor road imperfections, although it can get caught out by potholes and sharp ridges. In corners, the Berlingo is competent but not exactly what a keen driver would call fun. There’s a fair bit of body lean too, as you might expect of something rather tall and slab-sided, and the steering’s a little strange in its weighting, being oddly keen to self-centre.
Inside, if you can ignore a slightly compromised driving position, the Berlingo starts to make sense. There’s abundant space both front and rear, and the boxy proportions bring plenty of luggage space without compromising room for passengers, while if the original owner chooses to specify the removable seats the Berlingo will swallow more or less anything; otherwise there are 60/40 split/fold seats. The high roofline also means there’s space for all sorts of clever storage solutions. Ultimately, it’s not quite as versatile as a more conventional MPV, but it is spacious and comfortable.
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