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2016 Citroen Berlingo review | road test

Joshua Dowling road tests and reviews the updated Citroen Berlingo van, with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

Australian tradies buy at least eight times more utes than vans -- the opposite of Europe (just 20,000 versus 175,000 last year, if you’re curious).

But closed-in cargo carriers are increasing in popularity, not only because the loads are more secure but because of an increasing choice of smaller models that can fit into tight spaces when making deliveries.

Sales of small car-derived vans grew by 17.5 per cent last year alone.

The Volkswagen Caddy, Renault Kangoo and Suzuki APV lead the light brigade, followed a distant fourth by the Citroen Berlingo.

But Citroen hopes to reverse its fortunes with the recent arrival of an updated model, released in December 2015.

The changes include a new nose, and the addition of stability control, rear camera and touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The price starts at $26,990 plus on-road costs for the Berlingo “long body” powered by a 1.6-litre turbo diesel engine matched to a five-speed manual transmission.

As this article was prepared, however, Citroen had a special offer of $26,500 drive-away.

A six-speed robotised manual (which has an automated single-clutch gearbox and therefore is not as smooth as the latest twin-clutch set-ups) costs from $30,990.

However, until the end of March this model too is on special, from $30,500 drive-away.

Incredibly, the Citroen Berlingo comes standard with only one airbag

In both cases these represent savings of about $4000 off the full RRP, according to the price calculator on the Citroen website.

The reason Citroen hasn’t yet graduated to a smoother twin-clutch or torque converter automatic is because manual transmissions are still the most popular choice in Europe.

The options list is short but worth a close read.

Incredibly, the Citroen Berlingo comes standard with only one airbag (in the steering wheel).

Pay $800 extra and get a front passenger airbag and a side airbag in each front seat.

We believe at the very least side airbags should be standard, especially given side impacts are more likely in city driving than head-on hits.

Perhaps that is why Citroen is keen to clear the current stock: to make way for better equipped models.

Other options: pay $1000 for the passenger and side airbags -- and also get a middle seat to accommodate an extra passenger for short trips.

Metallic paint is unusually high at $800. Ouch. The same amount of money buys a “look pack” which adds body coloured bumpers and alloy wheels.

Standard fare carried over from the previous Berlingo model includes cruise control, Bluetooth and USB connection, twin side doors and rear barn doors that open 180 degrees and help the van swallow a 750kg payload as large as a full size Australian pallet.

We did see excellent fuel economy over 500km on mostly city driving

We tested the manual model in the city and suburbs and quickly came to enjoy the French van’s ability to absorb speed humps and generally cope with the daily grind.

The turning circle is not excellent by small-car standards (11 metres) but is at least a little better than most utes.

Visibility was ok, mostly due to the convex mirrors on both sides, and the rear view camera made parking a cinch, although the display is fairly grainy at night.

The five-speed manual doesn’t have the most precise shift action but we did see excellent fuel economy over 500km on mostly city driving and the 1.6 turbo diesel is reasonably perky, although we were unladen during the test.

Downsides? The Citroen Berlingo isn’t cheap, especially when compared to the VW and Renault rivals. Its optional safety equipment should be standard. And we’re unclear why the Berlingo only has warranty coverage for three years/100,000km when Citroen passenger cars now come with six years/unlimited km coverage.


Overall, the updated Citroen Berlingo is a sound alternative to the rest of the delivery-van crowd. Just be sure to haggle on the price and the cost of metallic paint (aim to get close to the current drive-away deal if it’s expired by the time you’re ready to buy) and find a way to get the optional safety equipment included.

Would you choose a Berlingo over a Caddy or Kangoo? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Click here to see more 2016 Citroen Berlingo pricing and spec info.

Pricing guides

Based on 4 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
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Range and Specs

1.6 HDi ETG Long 1.6L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $15,200 – 21,450 2016 Citroen Berlingo 2016 1.6 HDi ETG Long Pricing and Specs
1.6 HDi Long 1.6L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN $12,500 – 18,150 2016 Citroen Berlingo 2016 1.6 HDi Long Pricing and Specs
1.6 Short 1.6L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $9,800 – 14,740 2016 Citroen Berlingo 2016 1.6 Short Pricing and Specs
L1 1.6L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $10,500 – 15,400 2016 Citroen Berlingo 2016 L1 Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide


Lowest price, based on 4 car listings in the last 6 months

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