Citroen Berlingo Multispace II 2008 Road Test

Fri, 13 Jun 2008

Citroen doesn’t seem to be able to stop making its old models. The public won’t allow it to. Just as the Xsara Picasso lives on to sell alongside the C4 Picasso, so too will the original Berlingo Multispace enjoy an afterlife, its production lines moved from Vigo to another factory in France.

That’s fortunate because, like the C4 Picasso, the new Berlingo Multispace is an altogether more sophisticated car than its revered ancestor.

It sits on the same platform and suspension as the C4 and the Peugeot 308SW. So instead of being quite good for a van it actually is car-like to drive with a fine blend of ride and handling that belie its utilitarian looks.

It shares the same engines as the C4 and 308, available now with the 110PS 1.6 HDI that seems to power everything these days, as well as lower powered diesel and petrol engines.

They’ve made it more family orientated, with stowage spaces all over the place, and folding picnic tables on the backs of the front seats together with three separate folding, reclining and totally removable rear seats on XTR versions.

Behind them you can still carry a washing machine, fridge, motor mower, double pram, or even one of those electric buggies elderly people use to terrorise pedestrians.

You could say in terms of space utilisation they’ve gone right over the top. Because instead of the optional ‘MODUTOP’ that offers storage space over the passengers’ heads, in the XTR you find a folding ceiling rack that allows you to carry things like stepladders in the roof instead of on it.

As before you still get sliding side doors that can be very handy in DIY superstore car parks. The huge rear hatch provides max headroom for a 5’ 9” person not to scalp themselves while walking underneath. Unhooking the rear seats unleashes a vast 3,000 litres of loadspace. The passenger seatback even folds forward to allow the carriage of timber, surfboards, flatpack wardrobes, whatever. And the rear end is massively reinforced with a thick box section to make it much safer if Lewis Hamilton comes up behind.

But what really impresses is you get all this in a vehicle that’s actually decent to drive and ride in. Centre rear passengers will never be happier. The driver gets to have some fun. And on long tedious journeys at 27.5mph per 1,000 rpm in fifth, all four passengers can recline their seats slightly to grab a spot of shuteye.

Naturally along with the increased sophistication Citroen asks significantly increased prices. While you can still get an original Berlingo on a Cashback for £8,500 or so, they want £14,625 for the top XTR 110 diesel of the new car I drove.

But don’t think of it like the old Berlingo. Regard it as an alternative to an MPV or even to an SUV. I guess a Multi Activity Vehicle that’s as happy hauling garden rubbish to the dump as it is taking the whole family, the tent, the surfboards, and the camp kitchen sink down to Tarifa.

Or Newquay if you don’t know where that is.

For prices, equipment specs, dimensions, capacities and performance figures, please click the tabs.

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