Citroën Berlingo Van long-term test: report 7

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 interior

The Car 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 15,897 List price £24,995 Target Price £24,995 Price as tested £27,205 Official economy 47.7mpg Test economy 51.3mpg 

13 October 2022 – London to Scotland

If you’re a regular reader of any of our long-term tests, you’ll know that What Car? photographers tend to cover lots of miles while hauling loads of kit – which is part of the reason why my Citroën Berlingo Van is ideal as my company car.

Still, some of my work journeys are longer than others, and when I was faced with a 400-mile trip from London to Edinburgh recently to shoot a feature, even I grimaced at the thought of eight hours behind the wheel.

On the plus side, such a long trip does mean you get to know your vehicle intimately – so how did the Berlingo Van squared up to the challenge. With the fuel tank brimmed with unfashionable diesel, the trip computer reset and my phone’s sat-nav set for the border between England and Scotland, I headed off early in the morning.

My van comes with the same Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring software as most new cars, but while some rivals offer this functionality wirelessly, to use it in the Berlingo Van you have to plug in a USB cable. Still, I'm not really bothered about that because experience has shown that it tends to give you a more reliable connection. 

Citroen Berlingo water bottle

The adaptive cruise control helped me escape London with the minimum of effort. It’s easy to control and does a good job of keeping you a set distance from the car in front. Even in those early stages, it helped take some of the stress out of what would be a very long journey.

On the motorway out of London, I stopped to grab a coffee, at which point a flaw in the Berlingo Van’s design was highlighted. You see, the cupholders at either end of the dashboard fit standard coffee cups perfectly, but don’t hold my tall refill bottle very well, leaving it waving about and in danger of toppling out of the holder. Just a few inches of extra depth would solve the problem, but as it is, I had to put the bottle on the passenger seat rather than somewhere more secure.

Citroen Berlingo lunch storage

More positively, if you’re carrying the usual assortment of cables, coins and cards that accompany a long trip, the Berlingo Van has lots of space to store such things. Even my lunch was kept secure in a space under the central seat. While I was eating that, I was able to keep working by resting my laptop on the fold-down tray table. It’s testament to just how versatile the Berlingo can be, functioning as a mobile office as well as a comfortable van with all the space I need to transport my photography gear.

The infamous Scottish weather did cause a problem for my rear-view camera, though. I’ve praised the system in the past because the screen gives me a clear view of what’s behind me (turning my head to look out of the back gives me nothing but a view of the bulkhead). Unfortunately, incessant rain and spray can cause the camera housing to become clogged with water, and after a particularly heavy downpour, I had to pull over and clean it with a cloth so I could see again.

Citroen Berlingo rear-view camera

After a full day of driving, I arrived at my destination feeling relaxed and ready to work, and that’s down to the Citroën Berlingo Van. It was comfortable, economical (I averaged 51.3mpg) and made the business of getting from A to B as easy as possible. Which is very handy – because I’ve just found out I’m doing the same trip again next week.

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