Citroen Berlingo

Multispace VTR HDi90

Citroen Berlingo Multispace, loading cargo
Citroen Berlingo Multispace, rear
Citroen Berlingo Multispace, side

BASIC van thinking offers much to those who require plenty of room plus the benefit of extra seating and luggage space.

It is not a new theory - Hillman did it with the Husky version of the Minx van back in the 1950s and in later years there were many extra-seat conversions of vans, especially the Vauxhall Viva based Bedford.

But it is in recent years that the concept has really taken off with a variety of often luxurious small people carriers with van DNA.

One such is the Berlingo Multispace from Citroen, restyled this year to deliver its own blend of fuel economy, lower emissions and advanced technology in a family friendly package dressed in some of the latest Citroen styling.

It comes in both five and seven-seat models and is equipped with advanced Euro 5 drivetrains with some astonishing fuel economy - up to 61.4mpg combined and CO2 emissions reduced to as little as 120g/km.

I took a drive in the VTR HDi 90 which is one of the more powerful of the range and returns 54.3mpg with emissions of 135g/km.

This is a fine mixture of practicality and comfort and is a sound proposition where ease of access to the rear seats is a priority due to this vehicle having stacks of leg and headroom and entry through wide rear sliding doors.

Citroen say that it is a car for enjoying life and its airy bright interior certainly gives credence to this claim.

Because of its rugged, no-nonsense parentage, the Multispace is ideal for city driving or long hauls on the motorway. A wisely spaced five-speed manual gearbox gives nippy traffic performance and long-legged cruising.

And for those with concerns that the Multispace may not be on par with a saloon in terms of safety and driving assistance, they can be assured that all models have ABS with emergency braking assistance, electronic brakeforce distribution. Dependent on model electronic stability control is either standard or optional as is hill start assist and traction control.

The VTR falls in the middle of the range and is available with the 90bhp high-pressure common rail diesel which suits it admirably.

Options on my test car included the Modutop with external roof bars , glass rooof sections and overhead, aircraft style storage space.

Although higher than a saloon or hatchback, the Multispace features similar handling characteristics.

All in all an object lesson in how to move a basic van design into the world of practical and comfortable people carrying.

FAST FACTS

Citroen Berlingo Multispace VTR HDi90

Price: £14,395

Mechanical: 90bhp, 1,560cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 102mph

0-62mph: 14.3 seconds

Combined MPG: 54.3

Insurance Group: 135g/km

C02 emissions: 21%

Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles

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