The Berlingo has been a massive success story for Citroën since its launch in 1995.
It was the biggest-selling vehicle in the small van sector last year, overhauling the Volkswagen Caddy and Peugeot Partner.
Over the years the Berlingo has been treated to a series of relaunches and other revisions, so its styling has remained fresh and it is still among the most efficient vans in the sector with a potential 60mpg on the combined cycle.
There have also been a number of specialised models along the way.
One of these is the XTR+, which offers users enhanced traction on rough surfaces.
It features raised and toughened suspension together with underbody and engine protection, special tyres and a limited slip differential which will transfer power to different driving wheels if it feels traction is being lost.
The van doesn’t offer four-wheel drive – Citroën feels that most 4x4s are never taken near the limit of their abilities by fleets and its XTR+ technology offers a more cost- effective solution.
What’s on offer here will be plenty for most needs when the going gets rough.
Having tested this vehicle on a proper off-road surface when it was first launched, I can confirm that it will get through a surprising amount of mud and water.
The XTR+ is powered by a 1.6-litre common rail diesel engine producing 90bhp and 159lb-ft of torque at a low 1,500rpm, which translates into a good amount of grunt at low speeds.
Power is delivered via a five-speed gearbox and the van’s official combined cycle fuel economy is 56.5mpg.
Our test vehicle also had Citroën’s Enterprise pack which adds air-conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, USB port and rear parking sensors, plus cruise control, a bulkhead and electrically-heated folding mirrors, bringing the price up from £15,580 to £16,480 ex-VAT.
As with most Citroëns, this van has a free Teletrac sat-nav and stolen tracking device – and it’s a brilliant little unit too.
Also worthy of note is that the Berlingo has seating for three people, unlike most vans of this size.
The third seat is quite small and we wouldn’t like to have to transport an adult sitting on it over long distances, but for short runs it is adequate.
The driver’s seat, meanwhile, offers plenty of support. I undertook a four-hour journey in this van and there were no back twinges whatsoever.
Despite the rather cramped conditions in the cab with all those seats, the Berlingo still manages to contain two coffee cup holders and various other cubby holes.
In the back, the Berlingo has a square cargo area offering 3.3 cubic metres of space and a payload of 661kg. Our van was fitted with a handy plastic wipe clean floor.