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Citroen Berlingo 2012 Review

Its compact dimensions don't mean a compromise on useable interior space which is generous in the long body we tested.

Compared to driving a Ferrari 458, getting behind the wheel of a Citroen Berlingo van might not hold a lot of attraction but plenty of people spend a large slice of their lives in vans such as the Berlingo.

The trouble is many of these small, bonneted vans aren't nearly as good as the little froggy freighter. That's because Citroen `invented' the passenger car based small van decades ago with its pig-snouted TUB that was built on the Xsara coupe platform of the day.

The latest Berlingo is a bigger vehicle spawned from Citroen's C4 Picasso people mover platform and it's a good `un offering a passenger car drive feel, incredible fuel economy and surprisingly good dynamics and ride for a work a day commercial vehicle. Pity it only gets one airbag as standard and stability control is optional.


Two versions are available here, a short body 1.6-litre petrol for $19,990 and subject of this test, the long body turbo diesel 1.6 that goes for $22,990. A variety of options is available that will add a tad to the bottom line.


Both have a five speed manual transmission driving the front wheels and both can fit in two standard pallet loads in the back on a rubber floor mat and with waist high internal panel protection.

The rear barn doors open nearly 180 degrees and are 60/40 split fold enabling Berlingo to nuzzle up close to loading docks. There's also a side slider and all doors are centrally locked from the key fob.


Both short and long body models have the same wheelbase with the latter getting more rear overhang to accommodate the extra length. The petrol's payload is 850kg while the diesel takes 750.


Its compact dimensions don't mean a compromise on useable interior space which is generous in the long body we tested. It even had two and a half seats with three seat belts and a fold-up passenger seat squab for extra storage.

Not that it needs any extra with storage options liberally scattered throughout the cab including a parcel shelf behind the sun visors and a flip up glove box atop the instrument console. Plenty of thought obviously went into Berlingo's design to make it as practical a work vehicle as possible.

They tried to make Berlingo like an office on wheels.  That's why it has Bluetooth, a trip computer, MP3 slot, air conditioning, cruise control, heated exterior mirrors, rake and reach steering adjustment, large front doors and a protection frame behind the driver.

On the outside, the front and rear bumpers are designed to protect Berlingo from inevitable bumps and scrapes encountered on its delivery rounds.


In terms of actual driving the thing is quite impressive with plenty of pep from the single cam turbo diesel engine rated at 66kW/215Nm output. It can sip fuel at around 5.8-litres/100km from a 60 litre tank. The gearshift is high mounted in the centre console rally car style.


But they didn't fit a reversing camera or reversing park sensors, the latter being an option along with auto headlights and rain sensing wipers, the second air bag and stability control. It rides well unladen of with a load thanks to the well sorted front strut rear torsion beam suspension. It could do with a tighter turning circle.


Could we spend a working life in Berlingo? Possibly. It would be a darn sight better than a one tonne ute with a canopy or some of the other alternatives.

Citroen Berlingo

Price: from $22,990 (diesel)
Engine: 1.6L turbodiesel, 66kW/215Nm
Transmission: 5-speed manual, FWD
Thirst: 5.8L / 100Km

Pricing guides

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Range and Specs

1.6 Short 1.6L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $6,270 – 8,800 2012 Citroen Berlingo 2012 1.6 Short Pricing and Specs
1.6 HDi Long 1.6L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN $5,720 – 8,030 2012 Citroen Berlingo 2012 1.6 HDi Long Pricing and Specs
Peter Barnwell


Pricing Guide


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