2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 15:44
Twelve years after the segment opening of modern panel vans, Citroen brings the new Berlingo generation onto the market. The grandchild of the legendary duck had to give up independence in favor of improved technology.
By Thomas Flehmer It
all started 60 years ago. Citroen presented the first duck at the Paris Motor Show in 1948, which rose to become a cult vehicle within a few years and came up with numerous variants, including the box duck. The starting shot for the new segment was given by the C15 Familiale, which was particularly successful in Spain thanks to its favorable tax rates. Here the Citroen could be used as a commercial vehicle as well as a car for the family, a bit cumbersome, but it worked. Due to the demand, a new class developed that had its first-born in the 1996 Berlingo.
The Berlingo did not sell quite as well as the 2CV, but for four years the creator of the segment was the best-selling Citroen car in Germany. Across Europe, the Citroen is the market leader in its segment with 26.3 percent. But the competition, which found its first and more successful imitator in the Renault Kangoo shortly after the market launch, is getting stronger. Reason enough for Citroen to send a new generation into the panel van race twelve years after the market launch in June.
Although the Berlingo, which is identical in construction to the partner of PSA sister Peugeot, has retained its external box-shaped character, it is a completely new car in terms of structure. Its own platform, on which the now old Berlingo continues to form the entry-level version as Berlingo First, was also sacrificed. The new Berlingo is based on the technology of the compact van C4 Picasso with platform and wheel suspensions.
Grown by 24 centimeters
The similarity to the bigger brother has also given the new Berlingo an increase. At 4.38 meters, the forefather of the segment is a full 24 centimeters longer than its predecessor and eight centimeters wider. At 2.72 meters, it also has the largest wheelbase in the segment. This is particularly noticeable in the interior. Here, the front and rear seats offer a lot of legroom and thus approach the van segment. As an option, three individual seats can also be ordered for the rear, in order to increase the variability of the optimal load.
The seats themselves deserve a little more seating space and are quite soft overall. The materials used convey a plastic world that deviates from the van approach. The instruments are very clear and easy to use. It goes without saying that with the increase in length, the interior and the trunk volume have also increased. Thanks to a special passenger seat - called Extenso - the Berlingo offers a maximum loading length of three meters and 3000 liters. If it is used as a commercial vehicle with a loading area, two Euro pallets fit inside - 3.3 cubic meters can be filled.
Skis in the interior
Numerous storage areas also offer space for filling. The open shelf above the windshield was also retained. Skis can even be stowed under the ceiling in two easy steps. Not to be forgotten, of course, are the sliding doors. From the second equipment variant, Multispace, there are two. From the second variant, ESP is also on board as standard.
With a total of five different engines - all with 1.6 liter displacement - freight or passengers can be chauffeured. In addition to two petrol engines with 66 kW / 90 PS and 80 kW / 110 PS, there is also a choice of two diesels with identical rated outputs. A small diesel with 55 kW / 75 PS, but without a particle filter, rounds off the range of diesel engines.
Small gasoline engine for the city
The small gasoline engine we drive is fully sufficient for city traffic. With a torque of just 132 Nm at 2500 rpm, the 1472 kilogram Berlingo is truly no sprinter. The 17.5 seconds for the sprint to 100 km / h are close to the 23 seconds that a duck with 23 hp needed. In return, there are no compromises to be made with the chassis and the circuit, which unfortunately only has five gears. The Berlingo is sure to lean into the corners, but it is just as sure to come out.
The HDi 110 FAP, which we also drive in the second version, Multispace, is a step crisper. Here, 100 km / h is passed in 14 seconds, the fun ends at 173 km / h, while with the small gasoline engine the air is outside at 159 km / h. According to Citroen, the diesel only needs 5.6 liters of diesel for this, the gasoline engine swallows 8.2 liters of super. A version with natural gas will follow, the Berlingo can be retrofitted with liquid gas for around 2500 euros.
Citroen finds Nemo
If you save yourself the conversion, you can get at least 15,550 euros for the small gasoline engine. The multi-space version with 90 hp that we drive starts at 17,050 euros. The small 75 hp diesel enters the race for 16,450 euros, the HDI 110 FAP we drive costs at least 18,950 euros. Due to various comfort packages, prices around 23,000 euros are also due here. Quite a lot of money for a panel van, the commercial vehicle version of which enters the race around 11,000 euros earlier.
Around this price can be negotiated with the dealer for the first generation, which will continue to be built as the Berlingo First. Or you can grab the small edition, the Berlingo Nemo. It is only 4.38 long, however, making it the closer grandson of the box duck.