THE Citroen Berlingo may be 10 years old, but it doesn’t seem to have lost any of its attraction for fleet buyers over the years. A new millennium may have started since the van was launched but thanks to a major facelift and innumerable nips and tucks, the Berlingo is still selling well and pleasing its buyers too.
You only have to look at Britain’s roads to see how successful this little van has been for its French maker – every one seems to be choc-a-bloc with Berlingos, or its twin brother the Peugeot Partner.
I’ve driven heaps of Berlingos over the years, so climbing aboard our latest test model the other week was almost like meeting an old friend again. But my old mate has altered a little since our last meeting.
For starters it has become safer. The front inner wings and roof rails have been strengthened and the engine angle and battery position have been altered, to protect the occupants in a frontal crash.
A bit of jiggery pokery with the damper settings, suspension spring ratings and rear anti-roll bar rates is said to give better road handling, although personally, I didn’t find anything wrong with the van’s on-road characteristics before.
Inside, our test model’s dash looked very smart and upmarket, with a silver-grey centre console and black plastic surround.
There is now also clearer instrumentation and new switchgear layout, including audio controls on the steering column.
The Enterprise model, as tested here, adds a load of extra kit over the standard model and weighs in at £10,495 ex-VAT.
Goodies include ABS brakes, remote central locking, heated mirrors and a CD player. There is also a natty passenger seat which folds once to reveal a handy desk and again to give extra storage space. The load length is also increased to 2,100mm.
In the back, the floor is ribbed and made of wipe-clean plastic and there is plenty of padding round the sides, together with a good smattering of load-lashing eyes.
Behind the wheel
THE Berlingo really has done an exceptional job of keeping up with the times.
On climbing aboard, you’d never think it was so long in the tooth. That new dash makes the Berlingo look more like a car than a van and for a vehicle of this size, there is an amazing number of cubby holes and handy storage spaces.
Our test van featured Citroen’s excellent HDi common rail diesel plant – the cheaper model with an old-fashioned diesel costs £9,745. In my book it’s worth coughing up the extra £750 for the smoother running, but I suppose it depends on whether or not you personally are going to drive the vehicle. The HDi unit offers 90bhp as opposed to 71bhp for the 1.9D and proves a willing and perky performer.
I was also cossetted with an air-conditioning system (a £480 option), along with heated rear windows with wash/wipe at £110.
THE true test of a good vehicle is in the answer to the following question: ‘Would I be happy to drive this van for a living?’ The answer for me is a definite yes.
Model tested: Citroen Berlingo
Gross vehicle weight (kg): 1,805
Payload (kg): 599
Load volume (cu m): 3.0
Max power (bhp/rpm): 90/4,000
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm): 151/1,900
Price (£ ex-VAT): 10,495