Citroën e-Berlingo review

Category: Van-based MPV

Electric van-based MPV is peaceful to drive and tough to beat for practicality, but lacks equipment in entry-level form

Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 front cornering
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 front cornering
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 rear cornering
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 interior dashboard
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 interior rear seats
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 interior infotainment
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 right tracking
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 front cornering
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 rear right tracking
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 headlight detail
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 alloy wheel detail
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 charging socket detail
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 front seats
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 interior steering wheel detail
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 boot open
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 front cornering
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 rear cornering
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 interior dashboard
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 interior rear seats
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 interior infotainment
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 right tracking
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 front cornering
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 rear right tracking
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 headlight detail
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 alloy wheel detail
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 charging socket detail
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 front seats
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 interior steering wheel detail
  • Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 boot open
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Introduction

What Car? says...

How do you make an MPV cool? Well, this Citroën e-Berlingo might just have answered that – by going electric.

In years to come, there will no doubt be many other multi-purpose 'volts-wagon' electric cars, but the e-Berlingo is one of a select few at the moment.

There's also the almost identical Peugeot e-Rifter and Vauxhall Combo Life Electric. All are effectively electric vans with extra seats and windows so they're more suited to family life than work duties.

Now, you might think the only reason you’ll buy an e-Berlingo over an e-Rifter or Combo Life Electric is that there's a Citroën dealership closer to you than any other brand's. However, there are a number of differences between the three models, and we'll explain them in this review.

Traditionally, we preferred the Berlingo out of the three similar models choices because it offers the best value for money. If you go by base price, the e-Berlingo is indeed the least expensive of these electric cars to buy.

Currently (not a pun, but it can be...), the e-Berlingo can be had in two body styles. There's a shorter one with five seats labelled 'M' and a longer one with seven seats called the 'XL' . 

Yes, you’ve read that correctly: you can have an all-electric seven-seater without having to fork out for a pricey Mercedes EQB or Tesla Model X. The e-Berlingo’s simple sliding rear doors work perfectly well in tight car parks (arguably better than the Model X's overly complicated gullwing doors, in fact).

Read on to find out whether the electric conversion has made the Citroën e-Berlingo even easier to live with than the original Berlingo, and how it compares with other electric van-based MPVs you might be considering. We'll cover all aspects of the car, from its performance and range to the quality of the interior and the running costs.

Remember, when you do decide to buy a new vehicle of any make and model, we can help you cut the cost by thousands if you search for the best price using our free What Car? New Car Deals service. It has a good selection of Citroën Berlingo deals.

Overview

The Citroën e-Berlingo electric van-based MPV is streets ahead of the outdated Nissan e-NV200 in terms of both range and performance. It’s peaceful to drive and few others can beat it for practicality. Just be aware that its van origins mean it won’t have as fancy an interior as some rivals, and that the Vauxhall Combo-e Life is better value overall.

  • Great practicality
  • Performance rivals the regular petrol Berlingo
  • Lots of standard safety kit
  • Fiddly infotainment system
  • Some storage solutions are optional
  • Could use some more range
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Target Price from £23,050
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Used car deals
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The Citroën e-Berlingo shares a 134bhp electric motor and battery pack with the Citroën e-C4 but is not as quick because of its extra weight. That said, the 11.5sec 0-62mph time of the five-seater version isn’t too bad considering its size. With no gears to change and the instant power you get in electric cars it gets off the line swiftly enough for most driving. 

Citroën Berlingo image
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The electric range is officially 174 miles, matching the Peugeot e-Rifter and Vauxhall Combo Life Electric (not surprising when the three share so many parts). You're unlikely to get that far in real-world driving, though.

The electric motor makes this quite a peaceful vehicle to drive because there's no thrummy engine to listen to when getting up to speed, and no vibrations when making low-speed manoeuvres. There's a little bit of electric motor whine at higher speeds, but wind and road noise are pretty low (although you'll notice less of both in the VW Touran and other traditional MPVs).

As for handling, the e-Berlingo's steering is accurate to give you confidence on faster, flowing roads, and light enough at low speeds (jolly helpful when manoeuvring the longer XL seven-seater version into a parking space).

The batteries under the e-Berlingo's floor help to keep the weight low to the ground, but you'll still notice a bit of body lean through quick corners. It's surprisingly surefooted for a van, but for the best MPV for handling, you'll need to look at the Touran (which is not available as an electric car).

By electric car standards, the e-Berlingo is supple over potholes around town, and sharper intrusions, such as expansion joints over bridges, at higher speeds. Again, if you want maximum comfort, you’ll need to look at non-electric rivals – the Dacia Jogger or the Touran, for example.

Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 rear cornering

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

The e-Berlingo's interior is a carbon-copy of the regular Citroën Berlingo so you’ll find lots of durable, hard-wearing plastics. If you go for the top-spec Flair XTR trim, you’ll be treated to brighter fabrics and finishes inside that lift it above the equivalent Vauxhall Combo Life Electric. For something more understated, look at the Peugeot e-Rifter with its calmer colour palette.

On the whole, the VW Touran feels much more car-like, with a plusher interior. You sit higher up in the e-Berlingo compared with the driving position of the Touran. It’s similar in stature to many SUVs, giving a clear view of the instrument panel. A head-up display is available as an option, but only if you choose the Flair XTR trim.

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 and comes with adjustable lumbar support. You can adjust the steering wheel for reach and rake on all version.

The controls on the dashboard are chunky and straightforward to use. What's more (and unlike many recent Citroën models), there are physical knobs and buttons to control the ventilation system. That means 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 responsive or as easy to navigate as that of the Touran. The menu layout takes some getting used to because there are too many layers you must dive through 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, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, and a USB port. Sat-nav remains an option on all trim levels.

Seeing out is easy thanks to the big windows and door mirrors, and you get rear parking sensors as standard to make life easier. It's worth getting the optional Park Assist Pack on entry-level Feel because you gain front sensors and a rear-view camera, which are particularly helpful with the longer XL model. A camera comes as standard with Flair XTR trim.

Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 interior dashboard

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

First, you need to choose whether you want five or seven seats in your Citroën e-Berlingo, because if you want seven you'll have to select the longer XL model rather than the regular-sized M version.

Our favourite is the five-seat M, which still offers a vast amount of passenger space for those with a smaller crowd to carry. There’s so much head room in the front and back that it's hard to imagine anyone struggling, while rear leg room is very generous too. The rear bench is wide enough to accommodate three adults with ease, and the two outer rear seats have Isofix child-seat mounting points.

If you opt for the seven-seat XL model, the third-row seats offer generous head room, but their leg room isn't as good as in the Ford Tourneo Connect.

The rear sliding doors make it a doddle for passengers to get in or out when you’re parked up next to a wall or another car.

You get masses of storage space, especially in the front, and the cupholder on top of the dashboard is a nice touch. It’s easy to reach and doesn’t obstruct your view of the road. The rearmost windows don’t wind down on the entry-level Feel trim – they simply pop open a few centimetres – but you get four electric windows with Flair XTR trim. 

When it comes to clever seating tricks, the e-Berlingo isn't quite as impressive. The five-seater's rear seats split in a 60/40 layout (you get three equal-sized seats with the Flair XTR trim) and can fold down flush with the floor of the boot thanks to a nifty hinged seat base. You can’t slide them back and forth or recline them as you can in many conventional MPVs such as the VW Touran

As for boot space, there’s loads of it. Even the regular five-seater has nearly 775 litres below the parcel shelf (1050 litres for the XL). That's massive – more than the Touran and, indeed, pricier large SUVs such as the Peugeot 5008 can offer.

In the XL, the rearmost two seats can be completely removed from the car to add boot space, and you get 4000 litres of cargo room with all the rear seats down. To put that in context, there'll be no need to ever hire a van.

The boot is square, with no obstructive lip at the entrance, and the opening matches the width of the boot floor. The only annoyance is how enormous the tailgate is because, being top-hinged, it can only be opened when there’s a large gap behind the car. The Flair XTR gets around that by providing a rear window that opens independently, which is more usable.

Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 interior rear seats

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

All versions of the Citroën e-Berlingo undercut the price of the Peugeot e-Rifter and Vauxhall Combo Life Electric and its predicted resale values are the best too. The VW ID Buzz will hold its value against depreciation better than all three, but it is much more expensive in the first place.

Finance costs for the e-Berlingo should be cheaper compared with electric car rivals, but petrol or diesel powered MPVs will be far more affordable. See our New Car Deals pages for the best current prices.

Fortunately, it should be inexpensive to run an e-Berlingo because at the time of writing there’s no annual VED road tax to pay, and if you drive in cities with congestion and emissions charging zones, it is likely to be exempt.

Entry-level Feel trim comes with all the basics, including air-con, automatic lights and wipers, cruise control, electric front windows and electrically operated door mirrors. It also includes the 8.0in infotainment system and rear parking sensors.

That said, we wouldn't blame you for going for the top Flair XTR trim. It gives you 17in alloy wheels, electric rear windows, dual-zone climate control, picnic tables in the back and 10in digital driver display.

You also get lots of safety features, including automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-keeping assistance and traffic sign recognition. It missed out on a five-star Euro NCAP rating, though, scoring four stars out of five because it was deemed that the AEB system wasn't especially effective.

As a brand, Citroën ranked 11th out of 32 manufacturers in the 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey – higher than Volkswagen, Vauxhall, Ford and Peugeot.

All new e-Berlingos get a good but not exceptional three-year/60,000-mile warranty, but that increases to five years and 100,000 miles if you buy it online. The battery pack is guaranteed to retain 70% of its capacity for eight years or 100,000 miles.

Charging the e-Berlingo will take a little over seven hours from a wall charger, or roughly 30 mins from 10-80% on a 100kWh rapid charger. 

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Citroën e-Berlingo 2022 interior infotainment
At a glance
New car deals
Target Price from £23,050
Swipe to see used car deals
Used car deals
From £1,495
RRP price range £23,050 - £33,650
Number of trims (see all)2
Number of engines (see all)4
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)petrol, electric, diesel
MPG range across all versions 45.5 - 54.8
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / 60000 miles
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £62 / £1,749
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £124 / £3,498
Available colours