A spacious and economical family MPV, the Berlingo Multispace is one of the larger cars in the Citroën range. It is based on the Berlingo van, a highly successful commercial vehicle due to its economical engines and robust build quality. These qualities make it the ideal vehicle for active families. There are three trim levels: Touch, Feel and XTR.
The Berlingo Multispace is still distinctly van-like from the outside, with a high roofline and an upright profile. Sliding doors are fitted as standard, offering easy access for rear passengers when the car is parked in a tight space. The range-topping XTR model also features 16-inch alloy wheels, along with raised suspension and body cladding for enhanced performance on rough terrain.
Inside, the Berlingo’s space and exceptional build quality make it ideal for family journeys. The cabin seats up to five people as standard and seven people as an option, and there is plenty of storage so the car never feels cramped. You can also opt to include a large Modutop aircraft-style overhead locker. There is a huge 675-litre boot, which expands to 3,000 litres when you fold the rear seats down.
The wide engine range includes one entry-level petrol unit and various diesel options. If fuel economy is your priority, opt for one of the BlueHDI engines. The BlueHDI 100 model is fitted with start/stop technology to save fuel, and returns up to 68.9mpg with 109g/km of CO2.
At the top of the range, the XTR model offers a connectivity package as standard which includes Bluetooth, satellite navigation controlled through a seven-inch touchscreen and Mirrorlink smartphone integration. All models are fitted with a comprehensive safety specification, including Hill Hold Control to stop you rolling back during hill starts.
Berlingo M (5 seat)
Berlingo XL (7 seat)
35cm longer than M, thanks to a lengthened wheelbase and its rear design. XL model feature a third row of seats that can slide backwards and forwards or can be easily removed.
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The van-based MPV is nothing new, but in a world filled with crossovers – where even traditionally budget brands are being forced to move upmarket – the latest models have a lot to do in order to compete. This is Citroen’s effort – the Berlingo Multispace.
It’s still unmistakably a van but takes its styling cues from Citroën 's passenger car range with its funky face, distinctive ‘Airbump’ side panels and rounded lines. It’s the ‘funky’ sibling of its threefold family – sitting below the premium Peugeot Rifter and inoffensively bland Vauxhall Combo Life, both of which are mechanically identical.
We’re testing the Berlingo as we suspect many people will option it – with a mid-range 99bhp 1.5-litre diesel engine, and in entry-spec ‘Feel’ trim.
The Berlingo Multispace sits atop a new platform, shared with just about every recent Peugeot and Citroën model. It underpins everything from the large Dispatch van to the compact C4 Cactus hatchback.
It brings with it new styling inspired by cars such as Citroën's C3 Aircross as well as a range of the latest PSA Group engines – exclusively 1.2-litre petrol units and 1.5-litre diesels. These offer decent performance but more importantly, impressive economy.
Inside has seen the biggest upgrade, with the van’s interior given a serious makeover while plenty of technology has been added.
Our van had the middle option of three diesels on offer. They’re all 1.5-litre four-cylinder units with either 74bhp, 99bhp or 108bhp.
Our 99bhp test car offered more than adequate performance for most daily needs along with an impressive 60mpg fuel economy. On faster roads, you’ll need to do plenty of rowing through the unsatisfying five-speed gearbox – higher-powered models get a six-speed unit – but it remains smooth even at higher revs and is impressively refined for a commercial vehicle.
Though previous Berlingos have had a petrol option, it’s always been somewhat of a poor sibling. However, the addition of the PSA Group’s excellent 1.2-litre PureTech three-cylinder should be cause for celebration. For those travelling with lighter loads or perhaps doing mainly town miles, one of the new petrols would make a great alternative.
Just one look at the Berlingo’s high roof, slab sides and modest tyres should let you know that this isn’t a car set up for dynamic handling. What the Berlingo aims to do well is comfort – and it generally succeeds on this front.
There’s a stiffness to the rear which it has inherited from its van roots, but add some weight and it settles down. Even driving solo, the Berlingo deals well with potholes and speed bumps, and doesn’t become unsettled on uneven surfaces.
The tradeoff is plenty of body lean and a propensity to understeer when pushed. It’s not a problem provided you stay within the car’s limits, but take a little extra care if you’re having a bit of fun on a B-road – the Berlingo isn’t at ease in the way a similarly-sized crossover would be.
There’s no disguising the van origins but Citroën's done a pretty good job of turning them into something funky and desirable. The brands’ trademark ‘upside-down’ corporate grille and headlight arrangement means the front is virtually indistinguishable from cars such as the C3 Aircross, while coloured surrounds to the foglights and funky plastic ‘Airbumps’ on the side panels give a fresh, modern aesthetic.
Around the rear things are a little less successful – there’s only so much you can do with a box, after all. Our test model had another strike against it in the form of steel wheels with cheap-looking plastic wheel trims, which are practical but ugly.
Step out of the equivalent crossover and into the Berlingo Multispace and it’s like stepping from a local chapel into a cathedral. This car is vast inside, and all occupants enjoy plenty of legroom and more headroom than you can shake a stick at. The boot, too, is absolutely cavernous, though you’ll need to leave plenty of room to open the huge tailgate.
While in previous Berlingos you had to take the seats out to enjoy a flat load floor, in this new model they fold flat – a brilliant move. Twin side sliding doors make access effortless whether you’re using this as a van or an MPV, and storage up front is impressive, too – with cubbies everywhere and a useful rooftop shelf.
The payoff for the commercial vehicle capacity is commercial vehicle material quality. Everything feels built to last, but it’s definitely not as plush in here as you’d find in a C3 Aircross. That being said, if you want a higher-quality interior, the mechanically identical Peugeot Rifter is a good option.
Berlingo Multi Spaces are available in Feel or Flair trim levels – ours was the former. It still gets nearly everything you’d want though, including remote central locking, air-conditioning, electric windows, cruise control and a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The lack of parking sensors or a reversing camera can be tricky to begin with, but the Berlingo’s so square that you won’t miss them. Steel wheels are a blow, though.
Opt for Flair and you’ll gain alloy wheels, climate control and sat-nav for the infotainment system.
The options list has some interesting choices. We’re particularly taken with the XTR pack, which gives the Berlingo a pseudo-off-road look with a higher ride height, bigger alloy wheels and orange accents, while the Modutop rooftop storage system also gives a glass roof and electric blind.
The Citroën Berlingo Multispace manages to mix charm with incredible practicality in the way that a similarly-sized crossover would struggle to do. It’s far from perfect, with a driving experience that’s unlikely to impress and – worse for some – a van-like aesthetic that can’t quite be hidden. But if you value practicality above everything else, there’s little that does the job quite so well as this Berlingo.