Citroen Berlingo review

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

Breakdown cover from just £7.95 a month*. Plus up to £150 of driving savings!

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

Citroën's Berlingo still comes in combustion form. Jonathan Crouch checks out the third generation version and wonders if families really need to pay more for pricier mid-sized five-seat MPVs.

Ten Second Review

Try and picture a van-based compact people carrier. Bet you weren't imagining anything quite as nice as this. The MK3 model version of Citroën's remarkably civilised third generation Berlingo people carrier was further distanced from its predecessors' basic commercial roots in third generation form and is now back on sale in combustion form. With smart styling, plenty of equipment and efficient PureTech petrol and BlueHDi diesel engines, this value-for-money five-seater is still a vehicle that demands to be taken very seriously indeed. If you're after a budget family carry-all, it's well worth a look.


Some cars aren't too precious about the lives they need. Take Citroen's classic post-war 2CV. You could drive it across a ploughed field, hose it clean, subject it to a fearful leathering, then pass it on like a family heirloom. It was uniquely French, uniquely Citroen and its modernday successor was the first generation of this car, Citroen's Berlingo. The Belingo has been on sale as both a van and a van-based MPV for over two decades now, the MPV version previously badged 'Berlingo Multispace'. This third generation model, first launched back in 2018, is known simply as 'Berlingo'.

Whatever you want to call it, this model line has been a successful one for Citroen (and for Peugeot whose previous Partner Tepee models and current Rifter MPV have been and are effectively a re-badged versions of the same design). So much so that there had only been two iterations of people-carrying Berlingo in 22 years until this MK3 model arrived. It left the UK market in 2021 in combustion form, only the full-EV e-Berlingo model remaining. But now the petrol and diesel Berlingos are back.

Driving Experience

If you've yet to sample one of these third generation models, you'll probably be very pleasantly surprised by how the combustion Berlingo drives. The old bump, thump and reverberations that characterised previous versions have well and truly gone. I know it's a bit of a cliche when discussing this sort of MPV but there is a lot of truth in describing this boxy Citroen as 'car-like'. For what is quite a tall, high vehicle, there's none of the tippy feeling that characterised the pre-2018-era generation version of this design, helped in no small part by beefier anti roll bars.

And a much improved suspension set-up. Which in turn has made possible the kind of ride quality you'd like to expect from a Citroën: in other words absorbent and very well tuned for our terrible roads. It's an important thing to consider, for I reckon that aside from safety and practicality, ride quality needs to be one of your key criteria when making a decision on an MPV-style vehicle. Too firm and you'll never manage to get the kids off to sleep on a long journey at night: too soft and they'll get car sick. The Berlingo strikes a good balance because it's a little softer than you might expect in compression and rebound - in other words, over the bumps - but a little firmer than you'd think in roll - in other words, around the corners. Engine-wise, you get to choose between a 1.2-litre three cylinder Puretech petrol unit with 110hp and 6-speed manual transmission; a 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesel with 100hp and 6-speed manual transmission; or a 1.5 BlueHDi diesel with 130hp and EAT8 8-speed auto transmission.

Design and Build

This third generation Berlingo sits on the Stellantis Group's current EMP2 platform and gets the same kind of two-tier light signature frontal treatment we've seen on the company's recent models. There's a forward-set windscreen and a high and short front end, plus even 'Airbump' plastic panels protecting the flanks from supermarket scrapes. There are two wide sliding side doors and they feature electric windows. For combustion customers, there's only the five-seat two-row 'M' body shape: if you want the three-row 7-seat 'XL' body shape, you'll need the all-electric e-Berlingo model.

Citroen claims exemplary interior versatility, with tray tables on the back of the front seats; and three individual seats in the rear that can be folded down with a simple movement using the 'Magic Flat' controls in the boot. Combined with a folding front passenger seat, this feature provides a perfectly flat floor and a load length of up to 2.70m for the 'M' version. There's a class-leading 775-litre boot volume. With top trim, the boot can be accessible thanks to the opening rear window in the tailgate; and there are two different height positions for the luggage cover. The 'Top Box' glove box is unique to the segment thanks to the 'Airbag in Roof' system.

Market and Model

Let's face it, cash-strapped families don't want to spend too much on the car that'll move them about. The good news with this Berlingo is that they don't have to. Prices start from just over £25,500 for either engine - about £7,000 less than the e-Berlingo. Berlingo petrol and diesel variants are available across 'Feel' and 'Flair XTR' trims. As standard, both 'Feel' and 'Flair XTR' trim feature Citroën's signature Airbump exterior styling, an 8-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, a DAB radio, plus Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone-mirroring. All petrol and diesel variants will come as standard with a metal mesh bulkhead behind the second row of seats. The 'Flair XTR' trim level gets mildly SUV-style looks. Here, you get bigger wheels, skid plates, roof rails and some exterior orange design details.

Both variants also come with a range of safety and driver assistance systems as part of Citroën's Safety Pack. This includes Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Safety Brake, Cruise Control and Speed Limiter, Speed Limit Recognition and Recommendation, and Driver Attention Alert. Both trims also feature the Citroën Connect Box Emergency & Assistance system which places the driver in touch with a trained advisor in the event of an accident or breakdown.

Cost of Ownership

Day-to-day running costs are kept well in check. The 110hp 1.2-litre PureTech petrol variant most will want manages 51.3mpg on the combined cycle and 125g/km of CO2. For the 100hp BlueHDi diesel, you're looking at up to 68mpg on the combined cycle and up to 109g/km of CO2. For the top 130hp BlueHDi auto variant, you're looking at 65.7mpg and 113g/km. Of course, you'll have to do your bit as a driver in order to get anywhere near the published fuel figures. To help you, the centre dash infotainment screen's 'Trip Computer' section gives you read-outs for current fuel consumption and remaining range. Plus it will tell you how long the Stop & Start system has been functional for on any given trip - though I'm not really sure why you'd ever want to know that....

Enough on engine efficiency. What about other financial considerations? Well, regular service intervals come round every 16,000 miles or 12 months, depending on which comes sooner. If you engage in what Citroen calls 'Arduous' conditions of use, then you'll seed a servicing visit every 10,000 miles or every year. The bottom line is that most owners will need to budget around an annual dealership appointment; there are plenty of Citroen outlets to choose from, so you should never be too far from one. So you can budget ahead, the French maker offers its 'Citroen Maintenance' scheme that lets you pay either a one-off fee or monthly instalments to cover the cost of the routine upkeep of your car for as long as three years and 35,000 miles.


Older Citroën Berlingo models tended to be enormously endearing. Like a faithful family hound, your people-carrying Berlingo wouldn't be flashy and could be a little agricultural in its manners but would never let you down. This third generation design though, sets out to add a little pedigree to the breed and in doing so, changes the rules quite significantly, positioning this model as a more desirable family accoutrement. Spend enough on this MK3 version and it can be as stylish, safe and high-tech as you could possibly want.

We're actually rather attracted by the way that in this MK3 form, this Berlingo has become more visually appealing without in any way bothering to hide its commercial vehicle ancestry. On the contrary, in many ways, this model celebrates that - as you will the first time you realise that awkward items like bikes, kayaks and chunky pieces of furniture that you'd huff and puff to get into an ordinary mid-sized SUV will slide into this Citroen without the need to break sweat. True, some models like those will drive better than a converted LCV like this - and of course look a bit sleeker - but for committed Berlingo buyers, that really won't matter. Nor should it.

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