Utilitarian van-derived MPVâ€™s roots soon show through
If youâ€™re in the market for a car with as much space as a van, you might think an MPV is the perfect machine â€“ until you clock purchase prices way above the humdrum hatchback norm. The solution? The van-derived MPV Citroen Berlingo Multispace.
It has a massive boot, loads of space for passengers and an economical range of engines. Perfect for sensible family transport â€“ provided, that is, they donâ€™t mind the thought of shuttling around in a car born out of a vanâ€¦
The cheapest engine is the 1.4-litre VTi petrol, but thatâ€™s far too sluggish, particularly if youâ€™re going to make the most of the space available. If you really must have petrol, go for the punchier PureTech 110 â€“ but for more muscle still, youâ€™re best with either the 99bhp or 118bhp diesels. Just note, neither is as refined as a petrol.
The Berlingo Multispace rides smoothly thanks to its soft suspension, which only really gets pattery on rougher roads. This does mean it leans over in corners though, while steering is pretty light and lacking in feel too. Itâ€™s not a dynamic dream.
Needless to say, thereâ€™s loads of space inside. Passengers enjoy huge windows that give great visibility, and boxy dimensions make it easy to park â€“ top-trim Flair models get rear parking sensors as standard, and a parking camera is optional.
In the back, thereâ€™s a near-flat floor and lots of accommodation for three, while two sliding doors means access is super-easy. The roof is so high, every passenger could wear a top hat or three if they so wished â€“ certainly, thereâ€™s bags of space for even the tallest drivers in the front. Itâ€™s just a pity the steering wheel lacks adjustment.
Another demerit is the commercial nature of the plastics inside. It feels scratchy and utilitarian, although it is all pretty robust. The trims might not look pretty but theyâ€™ll shrug off even the roughest of family use, weâ€™re sure.
And the boot, predictably, is humungous. The load area is gigantic, with a completely flat floor entirely free from awkward humps and bumps. You can fold the rear seats for more space, or better still, take them out entirely, and thereâ€™s no load lip that you have to lug stuff over. Itâ€™s way bigger than any normal estate, and we love the fact you can open the rear glass separately to the tailgate itself.
As itâ€™s so cheap anyway, donâ€™t go for base-spec Feel trim. Itâ€™s just too austere. Flair gives you alloys, a leather steering wheel, heated door mirrors and rear parking sensors, while the roof bars look good. In the rear, there are individual seats, and up front, thereâ€™s a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
Best not mention crash safety though. Euro NCAP only gave it three stars, which is worse than most hatchbacks, and worse than most of its direct rivals. And itâ€™s this, along with its other hindrances, that leaves us struggling to recommend the roomy Citroen. Yes, itâ€™s practical and cheap, but the latter shows through in too many areas.