Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0
  • Electric only from 2022
  • Range a bit stingy
  • Adequate, relaxed pace on offer

Nothing about the way the Citroen Berlingo looks screams performance, and sensibly the French marque has pegged power outputs to be sufficient rather than speedy. At launch petrol and diesel engines were available, with them joined by an electric version later. As of 2022, you can only buy an electric Berlingo.

Petrol and diesel

A 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel engine were available in a wide variety of power outputs. We’d recommend the most 130hp versions of each, although the 110hp petrol is worth considering as is the 100hp diesel if you’re a gentle driver or don’t often carry much weight.

Electric power

The e-Berlingo gets a 50kWh battery and 136hp electric motor to give performance that’s adequate on the open road, with 0-62mph taking nearly 12 seconds in the smaller, lighter M. Heavier XL models are predictably slower still.

Acceleration tails off noticeably as you approach 70mph, with the top speed limited to just 84mph to preserve battery life. It feels quite nippy around town thanks to the near immediate punch of the electric motor, though.

Although official range is around 170 miles, with well-equipped XL models dipping below this figure and sparsely specced Ms rising above, expect to see far less in mixed driving. If you spend a fair amount of time on the motorway and fast flowing A roads, expect around 120 miles, less in winter. Stick to an urban environment and you’ll get nearer the official figure.

The Berlingo can charge at up to 100kW, meaning a 10-80% top up takes just 30 minutes on a CCS rapid charger than can support it. Those with a regular wallbox will need around seven and a half hours to get from 0-100%.

We’ve yet to drive a Berlingo with the optional Advanced Grip Control, but the system has proved effective on other PSA cars fitted with the system. Essentially it’s a sophisticated traction control system that meters power and torque to the front wheels in specific ways to maximise traction on surfaces such as ice, mud and sand.

Handling

  • Grippy and secure
  • Steering on the light side
  • Won’t sate enthusiastic drivers

Unlike many manufacturers that promise a sporty drive from the most sensible of family cars, Citroen does things differently. Comfort is the priority here, with soft suspension delivering a relaxing ride. Severe potholes and lumps do cause the suspension to trip up slightly, but it’s a rare enough occurrence to not cause bother.

That’s not to say that the Berlingo handles badly – far from it. In fact, for a high-sided, van-based car, it’s neat and tidy around corners, with a lot less body lean than you might expect. Even so, the Berlingo doesn’t feel particularly agile or willing, with the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and Ford S-Max proving far more enjoyable in the bends.

The Berlingo’s light steering is precise enough but doesn’t give a great sense of connection to the road’s surface. In other words, it’s perfectly capable if not something you’ll be looking for excuses to drive.