Citroën Berlingo Van long-term test: report 1

The Citroën Berlingo Van promises car-like comfort and efficiency, and the practicality of, well, a van. Our photographer is living with one to see if it delivers...

LT Citroen Berlingo Van front

The Citroën Berlingo Van Panel Driver Pro XL BlueHDi 130 EAT8 Run by Max Edleston, photographer

Why it’s here To show just how far modern vans have come

Needs to Serve as both a practical working vehicle and weekend leisure transport

Mileage 117 List price £24,995 Target Price £24,995 Price as tested £28,085 Official economy 47.7mpg Test economy 45.5mpg Options fitted Safety Pack Plus (£890), Safety Pack (£760), metallic paint (£400), 9mm coated wood flooring (£280), keyless entry and start (£250), overload indicator (£240), front passenger airbag (£120), leather steering wheel (£100) and glazed window in full bulkhead (£50)

16 June 2022 – Van on the run

As a roaming photographer, I’ve come to realise that my quest for the perfect vehicle has me searching for three things: space, comfort and efficiency.

The space is for the mountains of camera kit that I take with me when heading out to a large, multi-car shoot. The comfort is because I sometimes have to do 10-hour roundtrips in a day, and want to arrive at my location or home feeling as relaxed as possible. And the efficiency is not only to keep my fuel bills down, but to ensure I don't have stop too often.

Now, I recently ran a Citroën C4, which absolutely ticked the second and third boxes on my list. However, now I've decided to try one of the vans in the French brand's commercial vehicle range, hoping it will cover off the first one as well.

Specifically, I've gone for the Citroën Berlingo Van Panel Driver Pro XL, because it's hugely spacious, yet not so large that I feel like I'm driving a lorry, or struggle to park it near my flat in London.

Having a camera helps. You obviously lose your rear-view mirror with a van. However, with the Panel Driver Pro, a screen is mounted in its position, which can show you what's directly behind the vehicle or in your blindspot. This initially felt a little unnatural, but has quickly become something I'd choose over a mirror.

LT Citroen Berlingo Van rear

When I was on nice roads in my C4, I liked using its light and effective manual gearbox, but when I was just trying to get somewhere, I missed the simplicity of an automatic, so that's what I've gone for this time. With the C4 and Berlingo having similar official fuel economy figures, it will be interesting to see whether I get better fuel economy in the real world now that the car is deciding when to change gear, than I did when it was all down to me.

A tougher decision was how to setup by Berlingo Van's rear space. Citroën offers many different arrangements, but to give myself as much cargo space as possible, I've kept the rear completely free, and just have a three-person bench upfront.

Initial impressions are that the front of the Berlingo is very well laid out, and packed with both cubbies and larger storage areas; I seem to be discovering new places to put stuff on a daily basis.

LT Citroen Berlingo Van dashboard

The question, though, is whether the Berlingo Van will prove to be an ideal vehicle for my social as well as my professional life, or if I will ultimately find it too much of a working tool. Only time will tell.

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