★★★★ | Citroën Berlingo Flair
What Have We Got?
Here we have Citroën’s third incarnation of the 23-year-old Berlingo. In 23 years there have been just 3 generations of Berlingo. People keep coming back for more and it doesn’t seem that its van derived origins are putting people off.
So has the Berlingo 3 (B3) got what it took Berlingo 1 (B1) to make it a success? It moved car derived vans up a notch in the UK and the Multispace people carrier became an acceptable mode of transport for us English.
B1 was a soft lolloping cruiser. Never managed to do anything wrong because its engines were never known as rapid units of propulsion. Cruise and comfort was the name of the game.
B3 has retained the echos of B1. It rides softly and it will cruise you and 4 others with plenty of space and comfort. Despite the soft ride, it is devoid of excessive body roll. The only roll you seem to get is you in the seats. They cater for all types of body and as a result, they do lack side support for most shapes and sizes.
The 110PS 1.2 3 cylinder petrol engine manages to carry the boxy body well. The gear change is easy and 3rd 4th are mostly used through town. On the open road, it will reach a comfortable cruising speed easily. Only when a level of urgency is required, does it need a few gears dropped but it will never break your neck in outright performance?
The Berlingo is known for its space. Here B3 demonstrates more luxury over B1 with little exposed paintwork and far better fitments of trim. There are some coloured smatterings around the door cards and the seats are brightly covered. Sound deadening stretches over the boot floor.
B3 doesn’t improve on the uncovered window trim on the front door. This time it gets bigger with 2 types of weatherstrip mould into one. Like the rear doors, this needs a cover. B1 suffered from this thought on a smaller scale.
As before, there is the ever useful ‘modutop’ storage facility and panoramic glass roof option. At £750, it is expensive but worth having.
Living With It
If you need to carry people, or boxes or people in boxes, there is very little that can beat the Berlingo. Space requirements will be essential if a Berlingo is to be on your shopping list. And it does this better than almost anything this price and more. It has also managed to retain the original B1 dimensions, give or take a few inches.
Low boot low lip, rear sliding doors and high driving position make getting in and out of the Berlingo easy. You are making very little compromise with a Berlingo just as long as driving dynamics are not your number one priority.
Now this might come as a surprise, it’s a well-kept secret, I really like Berlingo’s. I’ve nothing but praise for B3. There are a few things it doesn’t do well. These are however down to your driving style over functionality. And if it’s performance and on the edge handling you want, buy a sports car. Berlingo 3 has remained faithful to its original concept. It just got better at it.
Berlingo has become more competitive to those ever-popular but space compromised SUV’s. B3 can now come with a host of safety equipment like the active brake, collision alert, park assist and adaptive cruise to name a but a few. It’s everything you’d expect in a car and not a van. The spacious CDV market has evolved.
Would I have one? That’s not really a question, is it? Would I bring it indoors on a cold winters night and wrap it under a blanket? What do you think!
Comfortable seats lack side support
Uncovered front window trim
Awkward rear door internal handle
Car – Citroën Berlingo Flair 110PS
Price – £ 24,295 (as tested)
MPG – 37.5 – 42.4 mpg (WLTP low/high combined)
Power – 110PS
0-62mph – 11.5 seconds
Top Speed – 109 mph
Co2 – 119 – 132 (WLTP g/km)