Citroen Berlingo Dual Fuel Review
|Facts At A Glance|
PAYLOAD CAPACITY:[L1] 625kg
LOAD VOLUME:[L1] 3.3m3
GROSS VEHICLE WEGHT:[L1] 1,960kg
CitroenBerlingo Dual Fuel- PETROL WITHOUT THE PAIN
It’sCitroen’s Berlingo van really adds up in Dual Fuel form.
Citroen’s Berlingo van makes mostsense in the Dual Fuel form we look at here, based on the entry-level90bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine. The alterations take this variant frombeing a modest 34mpg performer when it comes to running costs to beingstand-out in this respect. Plus the basic product itself is prettypractical too. .
Othervan manufacturers would probably like to know the reasons behindCitroen’s success in this sector across Europe – so they probably oughtto be reading this. Indeed, across the continent, one in seven Citroenproducts sold is a commercial vehicle. The French brand has triumphedthrough designing, marketing and pricing its commercial products to theneeds of end-users. Other manufacturers talk about this but ultimatelyseem to expect end-users to fit in with them.
Agreat example of Citroen’s approach is their ‘Ready To Run’programme. This produces a whole series of bespoke versions of theirpopular Nemo, Berlingo, Dispatch and Relay models, tailored preciselyto the needs of the companies likely to use them. The model we’relooking at here, the Berlingo Dual Fuel, comes direct from the ‘ReadyTo Run’ programme and will precisely suit the needs of a significantnumber of operators.
Whenwe first tested the Berlingo van, we remarked that we couldn’treally see why any business would choose the entry-level 1.6-litrepetrol version over the HDi diesel unless their mileage were extremelylow (unlikely) or they were intending to have a dual fuel conversion.How do you organise such a thing? Well, you just talk to your Citroendealer.
Thetechnically advanced and apparently very reliable Nicholson McLarenEngines’ (NME) dual fuel conversion fitted to this Berlingo has alreadybeen proven in some 2,000 Nemo and Berlingo First Dual Fuel vans. Theconversion applied to the second generation Berlingo includes a59-litre LPG tank mounted in place of the spare wheel, with the LPGfiller mounted alongside the petrol filler and under the standard fuelfiller flap. Berlingo 1.6i Dual Fuel vans have the same performancecharacteristics as their petrol-engined equivalents and meet both thenew European standard R115 and the existing European standard R6701.They’re also fully European On Board Diagnosis (EOBD)-compliant. TheCitroën Ready to Run Dual Fuel vans all deliver major fuel cost savingsand meet Powershift Band 4 emissions standards and are thus exempt fromLondon Congestion Charge Zone charge, giving additional savings of upto £1,696 p.a.
""Thelikely savings in day-to-day running costs that this variant enjoyswill dwarf even those of the frugal HDi diesel variants" "
TheL1 Berlingo van bodystyle that we’re looking at here is 4,380mm inlength, that’s 243mm longer than the original Berlingo with 350mm extrain the wheelbase department. The space in the rear is accessed throughside hinged rear doors which open to nearly 180 degrees and reveal acompartment that’s 1,800mm long in the L1 version and never less than1,229mm wide. Sliding side doors are available as options as is ahinged roof flap through which long items can be poked. The loading lipat the rear is nice and low and the load bay gets excellent protectionfrom its contents courtesy of panelling that extends halfway up thesides of the vehicle. The standard bulkhead is a ladder frame behindthe driver’s seat only and an unusual touch is the load compartmentlight that can be detached and used as a torch.
Internally,the Citroen Berlingo is an impressive piece of work withgood quality materials and neat design. The storage space is abundantand clever solutions abound ready to swallow up all the paraphernaliaof your working day. There are both two and three-seater cab optionsand in the two-seater Berlingo, the single passenger seat folds down toreveal a desk and cup holders.
Thespace in the Berlingo’s cabin is immediately noticeable. It’s widewith plenty of room for driver and passenger. Problems start to arisewhen you specify the three-seat model, a highly unusual inclusion on avan of this size. The protruding dash mounted gear lever makes themiddle berth virtually uninhabitable by anyone with legs and Citroen’sclaim that this "occasional seat" is ideal for young children seems amoot point. The few remaining chimney sweeps might be interested but inthis day and age, taking your child to work on a daily basis isrightfully frowned upon. The real advantage of the Extenso cabin, asthe three-seater layout is known, is the ability to fold the outerpassenger seat down to increase the load length available. You can alsoflip the seat cushion up to make a handy storage area on the cabfloor.
Citroennow offers the widest range of petrol/LPG fuelled vansavailable from any LCV manufacturer in the UK. The Berlingo 1.6i DualFuel van sells alongside a similar version of the old Berlingo design(called ‘Berlingo First’), plus the smaller Nemo 1.4i Dual Fuel van.Citroen offers the Berlingo Dual Fuel in two trim levels, X and LX bothpriced at around the £10,000 mark. Standard equipment includes ABSbrakes, a trip computer, a CD stereo, central locking, electric frontwindows and internally adjustable door mirrors. The LX adds remotecentral locking, heated electric wing mirrors and an externaltemperature sensor. There’s also the considerable pulling power of astandard Trafficmaster Smartnav satellite navigation and vehicletracking system. An interesting option is the All-Road pack which isdesigned for Berlingos regularly faced with rough surfaces with largertyres and under body protection.
It’swould be understandable if people who maintain a close eye on thelight commercial vehicle market were mildly flummoxed by the CitroenBerlingo. The various small van contenders used to fit into convenientmarket sectors but Citroen has branched out in offering this largerBerlingo model along with the smaller Nemo which sits below. TheBerlingo is tasked with pinching sales from the smaller models in thepanel van sector as well as doing battle with direct competitors likeFord’s long wheelbase Transit Connect and the Volkswagen CaddyMaxi.
Citroen’sBerlingo van is already good enough to hold its own in atough LCV market but this Dual Fuel conversion option adds a furtherand very useful string to its bow. The likely savings in day-to-dayrunning costs that this variant enjoys will dwarf even those of thefrugal HDi diesel variants, so this alternative is one that commercialoperators shouldn’t ignore.
Andthe Berlingo van itself? Well, it’s more car-like than ever beforeand much bigger than you might expect too. To the extent in fact thatit could make more sense than that larger van you might have beenconsidering. Downsizing on costs without compromising on spacecertainly has its appeal.