The Citroen Berlingo Van is the spiritual successor to small vans such as the 2CV Van and Visa-based C15. The Berlingo is a big player in the small van sector, too, leading the way for sales in the UK and Europe alike. The latest model in showrooms is a significant upgrade over the outgoing version, as it incorporates technology from the Citroen passenger car range to boost safety and user friendliness for drivers.

The square body maximises load space inside, while the Berlingo shares its basic bodyshell and running gear with the Peugeot Partner and Vauxhall Combo. However, the front end design takes its influence from the larger Citroen Dispatch van, as well as passenger models such as the C3 and C3 Aircross, to give it a distinct look over its sister models. As well as the van version, Citroen offers the Berlingo van-based MPV which has now dropped the Multispace tag forcing this commercial model to be known as the ‘Berlingo Van’. 

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A low floor helps with loading, and the increased width between the rear wheelarches means two Europallets can fit in the back of the Berlingo Van with ease. As well as a larger floor area, payloads have increased, too. The lowest payload rating for the Berlingo is 667kg, and this rises to just over a tonne for some models. And if you’re not sure how much your payload weighs, if you fit the optional overload indicator in the back of the van, then it can tell you when your payload is nearing the van’s maximum carrying capacity.

There are two lengths of Berlingo, which are a little confusingly called M and XL (there’s no small or large variants to slot between these two) and a single roof height is offered. These vans offer cargo space of 3.3 and 3.8 cubic metres respectively, although all models bar the entry level van feature the Extenso pack, which adds a through-loading bulkhead and an extra half a cubic metre of load space where the front passenger seats are located.

Citroen will also offer a Berlingo Crew Van, based on the XL body, in 2019. If you need a five-seat variant now, the only option is to choose the Vauxhall Combo Crew Van, which has been announced.

Four trim levels are offered. There’s the basic Berlingo X for fleets, and the building site-friendly Worker model, while the Enterprise and Driver versions offer extra kit for small business users. M vans get a single sliding side door, while XL versions get double sliding doors, and both models get asymmetric double doors at the rear. All are steel as standard, but glazing can be added as an option. Inside, there are six lashing eyes set into the floor.

All vans come with a full steel bulkhead, while the X has a single passenger seat and the rest of the range features the Extenso pack, which adds two passenger seats, with the middle one featuring a folding backrest and the outer seat able to flip up or fold down if you’re using the through-loading function to carry longer items.

Worker vans feature Citroen’s Grip Control system which adds hill descent control and switchable traction control for different surfaces, as well as mud and snow tyres. The Worker model also adds an electric handbrake, underbody protection and 30mm raised ground clearance.

In Europe, a 1.2 PureTech three-cylinder turbo petrol engine is available, but in the UK there are just 1.5 or 1.6 BlueHDi diesels. While the 1.5 BlueHDi is smaller, it’s more powerful, with 130 badging signifying its output, compared to 75 and 100 variants of the 1.6 BlueHDi. The 1.5 will be offered in lower outputs and replace the 1.6 during 2019. At the moment it’s only available in Enterprise and Driver vans, although it can also be had with Citroen’s latest EAT8 automatic gearbox.

The Berlingo range is divided up further with different payload variants. There are 650, 950 and 1000 models, and these have payloads in the region of their model designation numbers – it does mean you can pay a bit less for a 950 model over a 1000, but you don’t get quite as big a payload.

Prices for the Berlingo start from around £16,000 and rise to almost £23,000, excluding VAT, which is competitive for the sector.

There are a lot of rivals for the Berlingo in the small van class. Chief among these are the directly related Peugeot Partner and Vauxhall Combo. These three are so similar that your final decision on which one to pick could be swayed simply by which firm has the nearest dealer and what kind of deal they are willing to offer. Elsewhere, the Ford Transit Connect is a popular choice, as is the Volkswagen Caddy, while models like the Renault Kangoo, Mercedes Citan and Fiat Doblo look somewhat dated in comparison to the Citroen.

In summary, the new Citroen Berlingo Van is a step change over its predecessor. While the old van was a simple workhorse that offered space and not much else, the latest version is a match for Citroen’s passenger cars in terms of kit and comfort. There’s plenty of safety kit as standard, while some of the options that are available only help to boost the van’s user-friendliness even further, both in terms of safety and versatility.

The engine range is good, although the 1.5 BlueHDi is the one to go for, and we’d recommend holding out for the lower powered versions of this engine rather than opting for the older 1.6 diesel that’s on offer at launch. Thanks to the car-derived tech under the skin, the Berlingo Van drives well, too, while the load area offers up to one tonne of payload capacity, making it a solid choice for mid-sized van buyers looking to downsize.

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