Berlingo Multispace 1.6 HDi 90 VTR
a world where low running
costs and practicality are prime
considerations for buying a
sensible vehicle for active families,
or a car that doubles as a work-
horse, the Multispace fits the bill...
GIVEN THAT FUEL PRICES WILL REMAIN HIGH, road tax charges are increasing
for the majority of cars, space on our roads will get worse and parking charges
assuming you can actually find a space will get higher, then buying
a sensible fuel-efficient car for family use with the potential to carry luggage
and loads easily is becoming more increasingly important.
With cars themselves becoming more expensive, affordable and versatile 'dual-use'
vehicles that can easily switch between people and load carrying duties powered
by fuel-miser engines will be the future for mainstream models. Many of these
cars are already with us the new Citroen Berlingo Multispace, to name
but one, is a good example of people/load space packaging.
The all-new bigger and better Citroen Berlingo Multispace went on sale in the
UK from June, with attractive and competitive pricing starting from just £10,995.
The good news is that the latest Multispace is no longer just a Berlingo van
with windows. The Berlingo uses the same construction architecture and running
gear as the award-winning C4 Picasso MPV, so it not only performs and handles
like a modern passenger car (rather than a commercial vehicle) but it looks
smarter, too. It is also larger, but still not too large to be classed as a
'compact' people carrier.
Citroen are big sellers of vans and MPVs of all sizes, and as usual all these
models benefit from the choice of fuel-efficient, low CO2-emitting petrol and
diesel engines and, being Citroen, attractive competitive pricing.
In a world where low running costs and practicality are prime considerations
for buying a sensible vehicle for active families, or a car that doubles as
a workhorse, the Multispace fits the bill.
It may not be totally stylish judged against Citroen's usual passenger car flair,
but it does have a certain practical charm and will appeal to people who buy
a car with their head not their heart. Everything about the Multispace is practical.
Its longer wheelbase but compact overall 4.3-metre length combined with easy-to-use
sliding rear side doors make it family-friendly and very spacious. Add to that
the huge load area and the option to fold or even take out the rear seats and
the load space is, at worst, large and, at best, huge up to 3,000-litres.
For the record, the load capacity ranges from 675 litres with the three rear
seats in position and up to a massive 3,000 litres with the rear seats removed.
Rear side sliding passenger doors makes it easy to get in and out of and the
high and wide tailgate means it is easy to load. There is even enough headroom
to fit the optional internal roof bars for long items such as skis, thus eliminating
the risk of theft and not impacting on fuel efficiency. The Multispace can be
tailored to meet the exact needs of the wide range of customers who buy this
type of vehicle, including the less able who need space for a wheelchair.
So from a wheelchair to a bicycle, family luggage to the household pet or even
use as a taxi, the Multispace fits the bill. There are lots of internal storage
areas, including the roof section, so the practicality of the vehicle seems
endless. The maximum braked towing weight is 1,300kg.
My test car, which I happily used for a hard week's motoring up and down motorways
and some city travel, was the Berlingo Multispace 1.6HDi 90bhp VTR priced at
£12,375. This is expected to be the main selling model but as diesel fuel gets
more costly the 1.6i 90bhp petrol engine is looking a better option for private
buyers and this version costs £11,465. But to those prices most customers will
add the cost of the £620 air conditioning and they should take the Electronic
Stability Programme at £350. Even so, for £13,345 you have a really good, cost-effective
package and you just know there will still be a deal to be had with your local
OK, so it looks like a smart box on wheels but it drives much better
than that. Thanks to using a passenger car platform and running gear the new
Multispace handles pretty, the stability is fine (helped by the wide front and
rear tracks) and, above all, it is very comfortable.
Strong headwinds I suspect could take the edge off cruising performance, and
side wind gusting was felt but the vehicle cruised effortlessly at top motorway
speeds and very economically as well. My test car returned a very realistic
47.8mpg and that was generally hard driving or sat in motorway traffic.
From the driver's seat the Multispace, for me, was less pleasing. The visibility
was excellent but I just couldn't get the seat at the right height in relation
to the height-and-reach adjustable off-set steering column. I also found the
room for my left foot limited. There just wasn't enough space to get my foot
on the rest, which is too close to the clutch. I guess this is down to the left-hand
drive initial design which, for the driving position, doesn't convert so well
to right-hand drive. I have to admit I'm six feet tall, so it will not apply
to all buyers. Thankfully there was plenty of headroom.
The level of specification with the VTR model is generally good except
for not having ESP, air conditioning, side curtain airbags or alloy wheels as
standard. But owners do get anti-lock braking with electronic brakeforce distribution,
front airbags, Isofix child seat mounting points, front fog lights, a stereo
radio/CD player with MP3 compatibility, electronically-operated and heated door
mirrors, electric windows, split/folding rear seats and armrests for the front
seats plus lots of storage pockets.
Reasons to buy a Multispce include: totally practical, best use of space for
its compact size, bigger and better than before, car not van driving
performance and refinement, well priced and cheap to run. Things you may not
be happy with include the fact that the very important safety function of an
Electronic Stability Programme is a £350 extra cost option when it should be
fitted as standard; AirCon is also an extra cost option for VT and VTR models
(costing between £620 and £750); its styling will not appeal to everybody and
an optimum driving position is not easily obtained. However, credit where credit's
due: it is an old and well used saying, but the Multispace really 'does what
it says on the tin'. David Miles
Citroen Berlingo Multispace 1.6 HDi 90 VTR | £12,375
Maximum speed: 100mph | 0-62mph: 14.3 seconds
Overall test MPG: 47.8mpg | Power: 90bhp | Torque: 159lb ft
CO2 150g/km | VED Band C £120 | Insurance group 4E