Review: Citroen Berlingo MPV (2018)
Exceptional legroom and loadspace. High level of standard equipment. Affordable running costs. Available as a seven-seater.
Van-like cabin will not be to everyone's taste. Lots of body roll in the corners.
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Citroen Berlingo MPV (2018): At A Glance
The Citroen Berlingo MPV is a great family car that delivers space, comfort and a well-thought-out interior at a price that most people can afford. Car snobs will undoubtedly sneer at its curious design and van-origins, but their loss will be your gain.
Like its Multispace-badged predecessors, the Berlingo MPV (as it's now called) is based on Citroen's popular van, which means it's designed to cover huge distances at the lowest possible cost. However, unlike the noisy and low-thrills Multispace window vans, the Berlingo MPV gets more car-like tech and better soundproofing.
Running costs are van-like and affordable, with the 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesels advertised with 64 to 69mpg, while the 1.2-litre PureTech petrols promise more than 50mpg. You also get the option of a six-speed manual or eight-speed torque converter auto.
Being a van, the Berlingo gets two side sliding doors as standard, which makes it easy to get people, pets and large objects in and out. Usefully, each seat can be independently folded to provide a flat floor. Unfortunately the rear tailgate is heavy and awkward to use in small spaces, like multi-storey car parks, but the optional tailgate window goes some way to solving this problem.
Available as a five or seven-seater, the Berlingo leaves its car-based rivals in its wake when it comes to comfort and practicality, with the largest versions offering 4000 litres of load space. The high roof and wide body provides lots of head and shoulder room for five adults across two rows. A third row of seats gives the Berlingo school bus practicality, while the second row gets three Isofix child seat mounts as standard. An unobstructed floor in the front means driver and passenger can get out either side.
On the road, the Berlingo MPV drives surprisingly well, given its plump dimensions. The steering is light and nicely weighted, while the mid-range diesels strike a nice balance between performance and economy. The standard fitment of cruise control, active lane assist and speed sign recognition also make the Berlingo easy to use on long motorway runs.
It might not win any admiring glances at the local golf club, but the Citroen Berlingo MPV delivers where it matters with its high levels of standard equipment and comfortable cabin making it a hassle-free daily driver. Add in its low fuel costs and affordable list price and the Berlingo MPV shines as a bit of a bargain.
What does a Citroen Berlingo MPV (2018) cost?
Citroen Berlingo MPV (2018): What's It Like Inside?
One of the criticisms levelled at the old Berlingo Multispace was Citroen’s lack of effort when it came to hiding the vehicle’s crude van-origins. On this part, the Berlingo MPV looks and feels more car-like than ever before, with brightly coloured seats, upmarket cloth trims and the option of a smart panoramic glass roof with ambient night lighting. That said, the Berlingo still has a lot of tough, scratchy plastics that will be hard wearing and easy to clean.
Standard equipment levels are impressive, with all vans getting DAB radio, touchscreen infotainment and heated electric door mirrors. Top spec models add folding tray tables for the rear seats, electric rear windows and touchscreen navigation.
The Berlingo MPV is available as a five or seven-seater - branded as M and XL respectively - with the largest being 350mm longer than the standard 4.4 metre Berlingo M. There are lots of useful storage areas in the cabin, with underfloor compartments, large door bins and a full width overhead shelf. This makes the Berlingo great for families, with spaces for toys, drinks and jackets. You also get two generous sized glove compartments in the dashboard. An unobstructed floor in the front means driver and passenger can get out either side.
The Berlingo XL gets seven seats as standard and the third row can slide forwards, backwards or be removed. The second row folds completely flat and, with the front passenger seat down, the Berlingo provides 4000 litres of space and a load length of over three metres. However, with all the seats in place, boot space drops to just 332 litres, which means an optional roof box will be needed if you want to carry enough luggage to accommodate all seven of your passengers.
Owing to its high roof and wide body, the Berlingo provides lots of head, leg and elbow room for passengers. Entry level models get a height adjustable seat for the driver, but you have to pay more if you want lumbar support and an arm rest. The firm fabric seats generally provide good back support, but a lack of side bolsters will result in passengers sliding from side to side when the Berlingo navigates a series of tight bends in the road.
The five-seater version will be sufficient for most family car buyers, with 775 litres of boot space and a two position parcel shelf that can be raised to conceal valuables or lowered to increase boot capacity. All Berlingos get two side sliding doors as standard and this makes it easy to get children and adults in and out, without bashing door ends.
Unfortunately the large and heavy tailgate is rather cumbersome to open and close. Citroen doesn’t offer a powered tailgate option, although a tailgate window is available as an optional extra.
What's the Citroen Berlingo MPV (2018) like to drive?
Few family cars are as comfortable or as relaxing to drive as the Berlingo MPV. The stress-free experience is aided, in no small part, by the van's raised driving position, wide doors and high levels of equipment. Indeed, all Berlingo MPVs get automatic lights, front fog lights, touchscreen phone connectivity and cruise control as standard, along with an auto dimming rear view mirror, DAB audio and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay.
Ride quality is an area where Citroen traditionally shines,and nothing changes here with the Berlingo's soft suspension providing a satisfying, supressed thud over potholes. Passengers do experience a little turbulence on twisty B roads, with the high roof and soft suspension resulting in a fair amount of body lean in the corners. The large door mirrors also generate a fair amount of wind noise, although the Berlingo is a lot quieter than many of its van-based MPV rivals.
On the road the Berlingo feels laid back, with its light steering and compact turning circle of 10.8 metres making it surprisingly easy to guide the van around town. The wide windscreen, huge door mirrors and optional parking sensors do a great job of covering the vehicle's blind spots, while a rear view camera and semi-autonomous parking system are available as optional extras.
The engine line-up is split between the four-cylinder 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesels and three-cylinder 1.2-litre PureTech petrols. The most efficient - on paper - is the entry-level 75PS 1.5 BlueHDi, with an advertised 68.9mpg.
Due to the bulk of the Berlingo, it's recommended to choose one of the more powerful 110PS or 130PS engines. The 75PS diesel, for example, takes 17 seconds to reach 62mph.
When it comes to diesel, the 130PS is our pick of the bunch, with its swift progress covering the 0-62mph dash in a respectable 10 seconds. The 130 BlueHDi also gets the choice of a six-speed manual or eight-speed torque converter auto.
The 1.2 PureTech is available with 110PS or 130PS, with the latter being limited to the eight-speed auto only. Claimed economy for the 130PS unit is still to be confirmed, but the 110PS is advertised with around 50mpg.
Most of the diesels and petrol engines are available with Citroen's Grip Control system, which optimises the front-wheel drive set-up to cope with wintry road conditions. Controlled by a dial on the dashboard, Grip control will allow the Berlingo on all-season tyres to cope with snow, ice or muddy roads.