The interior layout, fit and finish
Durability is the name of the game here, and the Berlingo's hard-wearing interior bears witness to the fact that this car's DNA is plucked from a van. Yet it's brighter inside that the mechanically similar Vauxhall Combo Life, because Citroën has given the Berlingo more interesting, textured plastics across the top of the dashboard and stylish seat materials to lift the look. Still, you'll find many cheaper plastics, too, while on the whole, it feels enduring and easy to clean. So those used to plusher interiors may find the more car-like Volkswagen Touran more appealing.
Berlingo occupants sit much higher than they would in a Touran, though, and on par with many SUVs. That's a good thing, as are the clear instrument dials (top Flair XTR has a head-up display, too), but the Touran and S-Max are more comfortable to sit in. That's because the Berlingo's gearlever isn't necessarily easy to reach (depending on your build) and the flat seats offer little in the way of side support to hold you in place through corners. At least the driver's seat is height adjustable, 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 functions, 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 many layers before you find what you want, and the system isn't responsive enough to your commands. It does come as standard with an 8.0in touchscreen, a DAB radio, Bluetooth and a USB port. Flair trim adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, voice activation, Tom Tom sat-nav and an eCall emergency response button.
Seeing out is easy, thanks to the big windows and door mirrors. It's has a big footprint, though, so the rear parking sensors fitted to the Flair trim make life easier, and it's worth fitting the optional Park Assist Plus Pack – you gain front sensors and a rear-view camera, which is particularly helpful with the longer XL model.