The diesel engine range starts with a 74bhp 1.5-litre (BlueHDi 75), which doesn't have a huge amount of power for such a sizeable vehicle. 0-62mph officially takes 16.5sec and it feels very slow on the road, even before you've loaded the car up with passengers and luggage.
The 99bhp (BlueHDi 100) is a spritelier thing, but the 128bhp (BlueHDi 130) is the best of the diesels and will suit those who regularly drive with family and luggage, thanks to plenty of low-down grunt. Its standard eight-speed automatic gearbox may hesitate slightly when pulling away from the traffic lights or merging onto a roundabout, but it shifts quickly once you get going and allows you to change gear manually by using the paddles behind the steering wheel.
The 109bhp 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol (Puretech 110) is our favourite engine in the range. 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 five-seater models (you're better off with the torquier BlueHDi 130 for the seven-seater). It also fells 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.
The steering is accurate and light enough at low speeds to make parking easy. Add the optional Park Assist Plus Pack and you'll gain a reversing camera that incorporates an overhead view for additional parking help.
At speed, the ride is pleasantly relaxed over undulations and road noise is well suppressed 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.
Passengers will notice plenty of body roll but, while the Berlingo doesn't handle as tidily as the Touran, it is at least surefooted and easy to manage.