I’VE been playing a little game with our long-term test Berlingo in the last couple of weeks called ‘Can I hit 50?’
Let me explain: when we first took this little van on to our test fleet a month back, the first tankful of diesel managed to eke itself out to 49.6 miles per gallon.
Still going easy on the right foot, the second tankful managed 49.7mpg and I began thinking what a shame it would be if we couldn’t nudge this figure above 50mpg, so I’ve been doing everything I can on ensuing journeys to achieve this little goal.
I’ve been clocking up a fair few miles in the Berlingo of late but it seems that however hard I try, something gets in the way.
One day I was late for a plane at Heathrow and had to crack on a bit. The next week it was all short-haul town driving in the early mornings, so the van was running on full choke a lot of the time, thus keep me from my holy grail.
But finally, in my fourth week, the magic figure was surpassed. And I’ll tell you another thing – it’s not just my wallet that’s feeling the difference. My cooler, calmer driving style is having a beneficial effect on my body as well – I get to my destination a more relaxed and stress-free man. Magic.
The Berlingo is proving a star in other areas than fuel efficiency too.
In the last report, my colleague said the driver’s seat wasn’t the best he’d experienced but after a few trips of a couple of hundred miles I’d have to disagree – I’ve had no back twinges to report at all.
In fact, I don’t know why more car drivers don’t choose vans – they are so much more useful than cars, as long as you don’t need four seats. And look at the BIK tax bill in the fact file.
In my month so far, the Berlingo has been pressed into service in a myriad of ways. A trip to Ikea with my partner saw the van loaded up to the gills with gear which, incidentally, didn’t seem to make a speck of difference to the vehicle’s ride and handling.
Meanwhile, I very bravely offered to take a van full of detritus to the local rubbish tip on behalf of an elderly neighbour who was having difficulty, a sacrifice that didn’t exactly put me out but resulted in a couple of million brownie points for yours truly. I couldn’t have done that sort of trip with a car.
The only problem I’ve had so far with the vehicle is a cracked windscreen. I ignored the offending item when it was about 2cms long, but it soon grew to half the width of the screen and I had no option but to get it replaced.Annoying, but you can’t blame Citroën for that.
Price: £10,695 (as tested £11,920)
Company car tax bill (2007) 20% taxpayer: £9 per month
Combined mpg: n/a
Test mpg: 50.2
CAP Monitor RV: £2,675/23%
Expenditure to date: Nil