It will carry you over great distances comfortably and swallow huge amounts of cargo. It’s just that it’s not very attractive and that’s why it’s an “ugly car”

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

An irreverent look at a certain car.

The Citroen Berlingo Multispace

The 1998 – 2013 model was a step in the right direction when the Berlingo came out as a van. It raised the game in the CDV (car derived van) market. Instead of taking a humble hatchback, this was a purpose-built van on a hatchback chassis. In this case, the Citroën ZX.

This meant it had van like space in the cabin and storage appropriate for its van moniker. And then Citroën added windows and seats to it and sold it as a cheap lifestyle vehicle and judging by their sales literature, it was aimed at the young get-up-and-goers. Truth is, it’s easy access and comfortable seats sold it to the silver surfers who bought it in their droves.

They even fitted it was an optional electric folding sunroof that went almost the entire length of the vehicle. A sunroof, in a van! an ELECTRIC folding roof IN A VAN!! That’s the French for you.

And it sold in big numbers. Nothing could match it for small road space and huge interior dimensions.  

It’s not that bad to drive either and when it was launched, even Jeremy Clarkson had a soft spot for it. In fact, it was almost universally liked by every road tester.

The Berlingo has one thing that it lacks and that is street cred. Despite being seen as a young active lifestyle persons transport for five, it was a box on wheels. It was easy for old people with arthritic hips to get in and out of and its floor pan was easily adaptable for wheelchair ramps. If ever there was a truly multipurpose vehicle, the Berlingo was it.

Buying one is easy. Oil leaks are the main culprit and some will have seen the welding torch, though rust isn’t really the killer for the Berlingo. Lack of maintenance and collapsing rear trailing arm bearings are.

About £600 to have that fixed. Also, driver seat foams collapse. It’s about £130 to replace that and this I know because I bought one for mine. I own one. And remember the old people that bought them? Safe to say they wouldn’t have thrashed them. To be fair, there is little to be gained from thrashing the 1.4 petrol or 1.9 diesel. The 1.8 petrol was far more spirited, it’s harder to find one.

It does what it does very well. It will carry you over great distances comfortably and swallow huge amounts of cargo. It’s just that it’s not very attractive and that’s why it’s an “ugly car”


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