The Berlingo gives you a choice between two 1.2-litre turbocharged petrols and three 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesels.
The range starts with a 74bhp 1.5-litre diesel, which doesn't have a huge amount of power for such a sizeable vehicle. 0-62mph officially takes 16.5sec and it feels slow in practice, even before you've loaded the car up with passengers and luggage.
The 99bhp version feels rather spritelier, but the 128bhp variant is the best of the diesels. It’ll suit those who regularly drive with family and luggage (particularly if you order your Berlingo in seven seat form) thanks to having plenty of low-down grunt. The 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 you can change gear manually by using the paddles behind the steering wheel.
The 128bhp 1.2-litre petrol comes exclusively with an eight-speed auto 'box. We're yet to try it, though, and until we do, the 108bhp version will remain 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. It also fells peppy enough if you’re prepared to rev it hard. The manual ’box 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 the vast interior. There’s a little wind noise from around the big door mirrors and substantial windscreen area, which is true of many of the Berlingo’s rivals, but the engines — both diesel but particularly petrol — are generally quiet.
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.