Citroen's boxy, barely quirky van-based automobile returns to prime type in solely its third iteration in additional than 20 years
A little bit over 20 years and 1.7 million automobiles in the past, Citroën invented a model new class of reasonably priced van-based MPV known as Berlingo.It was compact, easy and versatile, designed to utilise plentiful small hatch elements to regulate price and complexity whereas having a lot cabin area that it outshone all different types of household automobile.Fairly quickly everybody had one thing prefer it, with two sliding rear doorways, 5 spacious seats and an enormous rectangular prism of carrying area within the rear able to swallowing a mighty stash of household baggage and a kitchen sink as effectively. It turned so profitable that there have solely been two iterations in 22 years.Now, the third-generation Berlingo is upon us in two variations: a familiarly sized Four.Four-metre, five-seat mannequin and a brand new seven-seat model that is 35cm longer. It shares a platform with two different PSA Group siblings, the Peugeot Rifter and Vauxhall Combo Life.Finest information for Berlingo lovers is that, with this completely trendy product, Citroën has intentionally moved to recapture the look and spirit of the admired authentic, admitting in personal that the second-gen automobile, whereas profitable, wasn’t its greatest design work.What Berlingo fashions are heading to the UK?Manufacturing of the brand new mannequin is already in full swing in Spain and Portugal for first deliveries in August or September. Hacks have been allowed a primary drive in the automobile predicted to be the UK’s greatest vendor: the five-seater Berlingo Aptitude, powered by a 109bhp model of PSA Group’s already-ubiquitous Puretech 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine, with a six-speed handbook gearbox.Additionally supplied within the UK will likely be a number of variations of PSA’s new and environment friendly 1.5-litre four-pot diesel, probably the most engaging of which, the 128bhp possibility, we have been additionally allowed briefly to drive, geared up with an eight-speed Aisin automated 'field.Gear is impressively dense in any new UK Berlingo — even the Really feel mannequin that opens the UK vary, beginning at round £19,000 for the lowest-spec 75bhp diesel and reaching £25,000 for the best-equipped diesel auto. (The French, who purchase poverty fashions extra readily than we do, can get a stripped-out entry-level mannequin known as Contact).The highest-end Aptitude we drove — with choices — had tools nearly worthy of a luxurious saloon; an eight.0in central display, dual-zone local weather management, a head-up instrument show, a 360deg manoeuvring digicam, top-spec interactive navigation, refined connectivity on 4 completely different ranges, full with wi-fi smartphone charging, and a so-called Modutop system consisting of panoramic glass roof panels - plus all method of cabinets, gadget compartments and a type of gentle present above occupants’ heads.Consumers are additionally supplied an XTR styling pack on prime of Aptitude spec, full with larger wheels, skid-plates, roof rails and a few orange design touches on its frontal particulars.What is the Berlingo like contained in the cabin?The usual Berlingo inside has no fewer than 28 gadget compartments totalling 186 litres of storage. The boot swallows a mighty 775 litres of 'stuff' — 100 litres greater than final time.On the roof are rails harking back to the C4 Cactus that may carry all method of vacation hundreds and there’s an unlimited, square-backed tailgate (which opens to disclose the same old ultra-low Berlingo loading lip) made simply for bike racks.Higher nonetheless, the Berlingo has an enormous people-carrying inside that's a lot larger than its new, reasonably neat exterior appears to vow. With the entrance seats set in your tall and overfed humble servant, there may be area — together with huge head room — for one more the identical measurement behind. The boot behind might swallow an armchair. The three rear seats can fold individually and the entrance passenger seat additionally jack-knifes ahead on itself, permitting an proprietor to hold timber beams round three metres lengthy.The seven-seater has 5 decently spacious seats behind the entrance pair, but nonetheless with sufficient room (however lower than within the five-door) for an honest assortment of baggage.Does the Berlingo drive extra like a automobile or a van on the highway?The Berlingo impresses immediately by being fairly completely different from the common saloon and all the higher for it. It rides quietly and softly, assuming a 'strolling' movement harking back to the unique mannequin however much better managed by its compliant dampers. It smooths ripples and copes brilliantly with high-frequency bumps.The steering is correct and the automobile is simple to manoeuvre, however there’s a light feeling of 'stiction' across the straight forward that it might do with out. There’s a particular, lighter parking setting for the steering at low pace that we might have executed with out. When pushed briskly, the automobile understeers mildly however corners with surprisingly little roll given its tall physique and smooth suspension, and grips effectively, too.The Puretech engine is good; clean even when pulling beneath 2000rpm in greater gears and surprisingly robust within the 3000-4000rpm vary, though outright efficiency is nothing particular and there’s little level in revving the meaty little turbo engine past 5500rpm. The diesel with the eight-speed auto appeared robust and clean, however respectable impressions should await an extended drive.So, must you purchase one? For positive, for those who like the marginally eccentric Berlingo method of driving issues.This new mannequin is flexible and roomy, however feels a bit unusual in the best way it combines strait-laced simplicity with luxurious automobile tools. You may even get prime fashions with a manually configured traction system known as Grip Management and a hill descent pace management system — one thing few homeowners are prone to want. It seems to have the sting over the Vauxhall Combo Life and Peugeot Rifter by way of styling, too, though that solely goes to date in a van-based MPV.Primarily, this all-new 2018 version feels and appears like a correct Berlingo, judged by the requirements of the high-achieving authentic, and that — because the automobile’s creators acknowledge — is a significant achievement.