Citroën Berlingo Van long-term test: report 4

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...

Citroen Berlingo van being loaded into

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 8357 List price £24,995 Target Price £24,995 Price as tested £28,085 Official economy 47.7mpg Test economy 48.9mpg 

12 August 2022 – Moving man, bring your van

There are many reasons why I chose a van, and specifically my Citroën Berlingo, as my company car. For starters, I needed something that's happy to spend lots of time on the road, because the life of a What Car? Photographer involves a lot of that on any given day. Second, I wanted something that was versatile, being able to transform from car to office and back again at a moment’s notice. But third and most importantly, I wanted a van for the sheer space it offers – and as luck would have it, that has been important both in and out of work recently.

Citroen Berlingo van side

You see, while I’ve already noted how useful the Berlingo’s vast space has been for taking all of my photography gear with me on shoots, it’s also been a boon to my friends, all of whom have decided to move house. You can see where this is going, because faster than you could say ‘Hi mate, I have a favour to ask,’ Max’s Movers was called into action to help.

You’d expect a van to be able to take all sorts of clutter, of course, but what has impressed me about the Berlingo is just how much we could cram in and still find space for more. If Doctor Who ever bores of his Tardis, I reckon a Berlingo van would suit him down to the ground, because even when it looks fit to bursting, there’s always space for another bag, or stool, or person.

It's also very easy to load, thanks to the fact that its rear doors swing open to a full 180 degrees, a process that involves unclipping the doors from their regular setting (which in normal life stops them bashing other cars in the car park), and allowing them to extend out fully, leaving a big, square entrance. In some rivals vans I’ve tried, there are all sorts of things introducing on the rear space, such as bulky wheel arches or side panels, but in the Berlingo I was pleased to find none of that and loading up was a breeze.

Citroen Berlingo van load-through bulkhead

But what about the sliding side doors, you might be asking? Well, these proved to be incredibly useful, because they allowed me to see where every last square inch of space might be located. For example, with two sofas on board – a feat we initially thought impossible – my friends were groaning at the prospect of a return journey to finish the moving job, but a quick peek inside the side doors revealed just enough space for a couple of soft bags, and with that, the move was done.

Citroen Berlingo van with carpet

It wasn’t all roses, though. You may remember that I’d chosen 9mm coated wood flooring for the back of my van, primarily because it looks good and would help protect the actual floor from scratches. The trouble is, it’s also rather slippery, so some of the items we moved, such as tables and chairs with wooden legs, slid around in transit if they weren’t properly lashed down. To counter this, I had to lay blankets on the Berlingo’s floor to help provide some friction for our furniture, which stopped anything getting damaged in transit. If I was speccing up my van again, I’d probably swap the wood for a stickier rubber matting.

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