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    Citroen Berlingo First Van Review

    ArticlereviewsMonday 04 February 2013
    Facts At A Glance
    ENGINES:1.4i Petrol, 1.6HDi.
    DIMENSIONS:Length/Width/Height mm 4108/1719/1802

    CitroenBerlingo First Van Range- FIRST FOR VALUE?

    There’sstill life in Citroen’s first generation Berlingo van. 

    The first generation Berlingo hasproved to be Citroen’s most successful van ever. So successful in factthat the marque can’t bear to part with it following the launch of theall-new MK2 Berlingo van model. Hence the decision to continue MK1Berlingo sales alongside the new van. It makes sense after all. Thereare plenty of the older versions in the network and these LCVs, nowbadged ‘Berlingo First’, can be offered at an attractive £9,000-£10,000price that gets budget buyers onto the Citroen ownership ladder. 

    The‘First’ range consists of two competitively priced, 600kg payload vans.The 1.4i variant is powered by a Euro 4 75hp petrol engine, while the1.6HDi diesel that most will choose has a Euro 4 75hp diesel unit,which is able to run on up to 30 per cent bio diesel withoutmodification. All Berlingo Firsts come decently equipped, with adriver’s airbag, anti-submarine seats and pyrotechnic seat beltpre-tensioners, an RDS radio/CD player, with steering column mountedcontrols, variable power assisted steering, a height adjustablesteering column and adjustable door mirrors.

    Asbefore, this Berlingo can carry a full size pallet (1000 x1200mm) ortwo smaller metric pallets. It has a load deck length of 1700mm, a1600mm maximum width and has a 600kg payload capability. Standard loadcompartment equipment includes load securing eyes, interior load arealighting and a ladder frame bulkhead behind the driver. Both BerlingoFirst models have a gross vehicle weight of under 2,000kg, which allowsthem, under UK legislation, to run at 70mph on motorways and dualcarriageways and 60mph on unrestricted single carriageway roads.

    Availableoptions for the range include a Pack Plus, which provides remotecentral locking, electric front windows and heated, electricallyadjustable door mirrors. Other Berlingo First options include airconditioning, a nearside, sliding side load door, a choice of bulkheadsand a front passenger airbag.

    Otherwise,it’s the standard Berlingo recipe, a van that’s still as big, robustand accessible as ever. At the front, the deep bumper, the prominentgrille and the large lights that curve up into the bonnet and wingsgive the van a distinctive face. The designers didn’t cut loose to theextent that fashion-conscious van users might have liked but theprerequisite mainstream appeal has been succinctly achieved.

    "Onvalue for money at least, few can eclipse Citroen’s star CV performer."

    Inside,the cab is tastefully done and pleasing aesthetically. There’s adigital centre console display brimming with useful information, chunkybuttons, decent storage space and attractive circular vents dottedaround the place. You’ll find better quality plastics and a moreupmarket feel in some rivals but the Berlingo’s success has been builton keeping it simple and this interior isn’t going to offend anyone.

    Onthe road, this, like most small vans, isn’t going to set many plusesracing, unless you’ve just made the step-up from a horse and cart. Butit’s relaxed enough at motorway velocity and nimble around the urbanjungle. The turning circle is tight, the gearchange punchy and thesteering always imparts a feeling of control while remaining lightenough so as not to overwork the driver.

    Price-wisethis Berlingo remains on a par with or slightly cheaper than the restof the top contenders in the light van sector. It’s also worth pointingout that the vehicle continues to be manufactured under the PSApartnership with Peugeot, who are also continuing with this design,badged as the Partner Origin. Another thing to bear in mind is thatCitroen dealers are notorious for their special offer antics and youcould well find the odd favourable deal at your local branch that makesthe Berlingo First appear even more of a tempting package. There’s alsothe manufacturer’s innovative LCV warranty arrangement where you canselect either two year’s unlimited mileage cover or a three-year dealthat’s limited to 100,000 miles – just go for the one that suits youbest.

    Ifyou simply need a van rather than the latest thing, the Berlingo Firstmight well make more sense than its more modern second generationstablemate – though the lack of the higher 800kg payload that waspreviously offered might well count against it with some customers. The1.6HDi engine still offers good refinement, performance and economy andyou can’t ask for much more than that. There is some stiff competitionout there in this sector but, on value for money at least, few caneclipse Citroen’s star CV performer.

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