Citroen designs new

Berlingo to move you

Citroen Berlingo, 2018, front
Citroen Berlingo, 2018, side, action
Citroen Berlingo, 2018, side
Citroen Berlingo, 2018, side, static
Citroen Berlingo, 2018, rear
Citroen Berlingo, 2018, interior
Citroen Berlingo, 2018, loading
Citroen Berlingo, 2018, boot
Citroen Berlingo, 2018, boot, maximum

CITROEN'S Berlingo is part of France's motoring fabric, a modern day automotive icon and mover of people.

This third generation model cleverly blends new technologies and an enhanced look with the best qualities of a car that's served its fans well for over two decades.

After 1.7 million sales, Citroen's latest take on the Berlingo sticks to the tried and tested formula of space, ease of use and versatility.

First to arrive in the UK this autumn will be a five-seat model, complete with three individually folding rear seats, a vast load bay and countless cabin odment storage options.

Prices will start from £18,850 and rise to a little over £24,000. An extended seven-seat variant arrives early 2019.

Drivers can choose from a punchy 1.2-litre petrol unit or a selection of gutsy diesels. Power ranges from 75 to 130 horsepower, and selected models can even be had with a labour-saving eight-speed auto gearbox.

Looks-wise this Berlingo retains the familiar upright stance of old plus a pair of practical rear sliding doors to make access that bit easier.

Up front the Berlingo shares the new Citroen family grille and signature black windscreen pillars.

Available in two trim levels - Feel and Flare - you can add an XTR styling pack to the latter, which includes bigger alloy wheels, more exterior trim and orange accents for that rugged lifestyle look.

Those aforementioned individually folding rear seats allow you to easily combine people and awkwards loads.

The car's vast tailgate lifts to reveal a flat load bay and a minimum of 775 litres of space.

The Berlingo is famous for its clever use of cabin space, and with the combination of ‘secret' underfloor compartments, an airline-style roof mounted storage rack, odment space above the windscreen sun visors, a drop-down locker above the boot, twin gloveboxes and spacious door bins you've got access to 186 litres of space.

As a lifestyle vehicle it's easy to see the Berlingo parked up at your favourite campsite, the beach or even the office car park.

This is about as classless as an ownership experience gets.

The Berlingo doesn't pretend to be something it's not and this is most evident on the road, where ride quality and comfort is prioritised over outright performance.

Ride quality is typically French; there are no spine-jarring thumps or bumps here, just well controlled body roll and the ability to smooth out potholes and poorly surfaced roads.

The steering is accurate and offers ample feedback, while the elevated driving position gives you a commanding view of the road without having to drive a larger SUV.

It might not look inviting on paper but don't let Citroen's modest 1.2-litre petrol engine put you off loading up the Berlingo for a weekend away.

Its 110 horsepower and ample torque make light work of driving duties and it's pleasingly refined even when pushed hard. It'll reach 62mph in a respectable 11.5 seconds and top out at 109mph.

Of greater importance, combined fuel economy is a respectable 51.3mpg and CO2 emissions are 125g/km.

You'll need a diesel to better those figures, but the cost savings are small if you don't plan on racking up the miles.

Granted, the 130 horsepower diesel we also drove delivered excellent performance, but adding the slick auto gearbox and Flare trim you're at the top end of the price range.

Instead, why not pick a 1.2-litre Berlingo and put the savings towards the many available options.

As part of its ‘big car' feel' you can choose from a wide range of advanced passive and active safety kit, such as intelligent cruise control, lane keep assist, head up display and reversing camera.

On the fun side there's a full length panoramic roof, extra storage options and a touchscreen infotainment system boasting built-in navigation or the ability to connect to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto depending on your phone.

Everything about this Berlingo might be new, but after just a few miles behind the wheel everything also feels reassuringly familiar.

Citroen's knack of building people movers for the masses is well known and its latest effort is another triumph. As winning formulas go it's one of the best.

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