The interior layout, fit and finish
Durability is the name of the game here. The Citroën Berlingo's hard-wearing interior bears witness to the fact that this car has van DNA, yet it's brighter inside than the mechanically similar Vauxhall Combo Life. That's because Citroën has given the Berlingo some textured plastics across the top of the dashboard and stylish seat materials to lift its look. You'll find many cheaper plastics, too, so if you're used to plusher interiors, you might prefer the more car-like VW Touran.
The Berlingo's driving position is much higher than the Touran's, matching those of many SUVs. That's a good thing, as is its clear instrument panel (the top Flair XTR trim also has a head-up display), but the Ford S-Max and VW Touran beat the Berlingo in other ways.
The Berlingo's gearlever is positioned a relatively long way from the driver so it's not necessarily easy to reach (depending on your size), plus the flat seats offer little in the way of side support to hold you in place through corners. The driver's seat is height-adjustable, though. Mid-spec Flair trim adds adjustable lumbar support and all versions have a reach and rake-adjustable steering wheel.
The controls on the dashboard are chunky and straightforward to use. What's more (and unlike many recent Citroëns) there are physical knobs and buttons to control the ventilation system so you don't have to dive into a sub-menu on the touchscreen simply to change the temperature.
Sadly, the infotainment system isn’t as good as the Touran's by a long chalk. Some of its menus are convoluted and take you through too many layers before you find what you want. The system isn't responsive enough to commands, either. On the bright side, it comes as standard with an 8.0in touchscreen, a DAB radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration and a USB port. Flair XTR trim adds voice activation, TomTom sat-nav and an eCall emergency response button.
Seeing out is easy thanks to the big windows and door mirrors and, while the Berlingo has a big footprint, the standard rear parking sensors make life easier. It's worth getting the optional Park Assist Pack because you gain front sensors and a rear-view camera, which are particularly helpful with the longer XL model.
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