Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The 99bhp diesel (BlueHDi 100) is a spritely thing, but the 128bhp (BlueHDi 130) is the best of the diesels and will suit those who regularly drive with all the family and their luggage – especially the XL seven-seat models. Thanks to plenty of low-down grunt and a smooth, standard eight-speed automatic gearbox, it's no effort to make good progress in town or on motorways. The auto 'box can be a little hesitant at times, that's all.
The 109bhp 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol (Puretech 110) is our favourite engine in the range, though. Mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, it’s very flexible, pulls solidly from low revs and has enough mid-range torque to suit the more compact five-seater model. It also feels peppy enough if you’re prepared to rev it hard. The manual ’box, meanwhile, shifts fairly smoothly but it isn’t as slick as the gearboxes you’ll find in a Volkswagen Touran or Ford S-Max.
All the engines are pretty quiet on the go, but each sounds very distinctive: the petrol thrums away keenly while the diesels produce more of a rumble.
As far as handling goes, the steering is accurate and light enough at low speeds to make parking easy. You'll notice plenty of body roll but, while the Berlingo doesn't handle as tidily as the Touran, S-Max or Ford Galaxy, it is at least surefooted and easy to manage.
At speed, the ride is pleasantly relaxed over undulations and road noise is well suppressed on the motorway, considering how big and potentially echoey its interior is. There’s a little wind noise from around the big door mirrors and substantial windscreen area, which is also true of many of the Berlingo’s rivals, but the engines are generally quiet, especially the petrols.