THE gallant little performer that joins our long-term test fleet has been faithfully plugging away on the UK’s roads since its launch in 1995 and has become so common that you can hardly travel a mile without seeing one.
Over the years, the Berlingo has been treated to several nips and tucks with the result that it still looks and performs as well as the best of the rest.
And in the next six months we’ll be subjecting the Berlingo to a variety of tasks and reporting back on how it fares. So far things are shaping up pretty well.
When it comes to Berlingos, you probably won’t find a better specified one on the roads in Britain.
Ours comes with Citroën’s excellent 2.0 HDi turbodiesel engine and, in addition to the normal goodies such as ABS brakes and a CD player, has metallic paint at £235, air-conditioning at £480, heated rear windows with rear wash/wipe at £110 and twin side sliding doors at £400, all of which have to be added to the list price of £10,695 (all prices ex-VAT).
The turbodiesel engine (you can opt for a non-turbo unit but it isn’t half as much fun) pumps out a lively 90bhp at 4,000rpm and 151lb-ft of torque at 1,900rpm, while gross vehicle weight is 1,805kg and payload is 599kg, including the driver. The Berlingo offers a load volume of three cubic metres.
We’ve had the van a couple of weeks now and so far it is settling in well with the staff. It looks very smart in its metallic covering and that extra £235 should be recovered at selling time, as it should ensure the Berlingo stands out from the rest in the auction hall.
The second side loading door is a questionable investment, but the air-conditioning is proving a real boon.
Yes, I know that most fleet operators won’t order it for their staff but I believe that in these days of concern over health and safety at work, it’s an option that should be considered.
In the heat of the summer a cool driver is a safer driver and when the windscreen gets misted up in autumn, as it is doing nowadays, it clears a lot quicker with the heater and the air-con working in tandem. Go on, give your drivers a treat.
The driver’s seat isn’t exactly the best I’ve ever experienced – it’s a bit squashy for my liking – but I am getting used to it slowly.
But by far the most impressive thing about this van so far is its frugal use of fuel. On the first tank I was getting a creditable 49.6mpg and I’m now attempting to nudge it over the 50mpg mark – that’s great real-world economy.
Price: £10,695 (as tested £11,920 ex-VAT)
CO2 emissions (g/km): n/a
Company car tax bill (2006) 22% tax-payer: £9 per month
Combined mpg: n/a
Test mpg: 49.6
CAP Monitor RV: £2,675/23%
Expenditure to date: Nil
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles