Citroen’s Berlingo Multispace has been part of the furniture for some time, but it serves a useful purpose if you need a spacious no fills cabin and don’t want to break the bank. The gentle evolution of the ‘van with windows’ concept has also led us to a car that also fits right into the current trend for active lifestyle motoring.
The concept is a simple one; a spacious, lofty cabin is matched by comfort-spec suspension and a choice of modest engines. And in the case of this refreshed XTR model, throw in a tweaked exterior, more kit plus child-friendly cabin materials and the option of an abundance of oddment storage options and you’ve got a car fit for anything an active lifestyle weekend could throw at it.
In XTR guise the Berlingo presents a more rugged face to the world. The concept is a little like Audi’s Allroad sub brand, what with the bash-proof plastic exterior trim and hint of rough terrain abilities. Only being Citroen the experience comes at a significantly more affordable asking price. The result is a car boasting a trick traction control system in lieu of proper all-wheel drive to help when in moderately slippery conditions - something that’s likely to appeal to the SUV-hating crowd.
There’s no shortage of space in a Berlingo - it shares its underpinnings with a van after all. The car’s sliding rear doors are a welcome solution to loading and unloading in tight spaces, while its massive tailgate easily doubles as a shelter when it’s raining. The cabin’s five-seat layout offers ample space for an active family, and there’s no shortage of oddment storage either. Additional roof-mounted storage apes airline-style overhead lockers and the durable nature of the cabin materials won’t force you to become overprotective in the face of a little mud or rain.
Don’t buy a Berlingo to be bowled over by its handling prowess as you will be disappointed. Citroen’s take on low cost, lifestyle motoring is not a car for keen drivers. Its strengths lie elsewhere, namely carrying people and their clobber in comfort for not a lot of money. And in that respect the Berlingo does a fine job while attempting to make the ownership experience an enjoyable one.
The rugged XTR variant adds a welcome extra layer of ‘lifestyle’ to the mix if you’re an active type and like to venture off the Tarmac once in a while. The car’s raised ride height, chunky looks and trick ‘Grip Control’ traction control system add genuine value and make the car a serious alternative to a budget compact SUV. Factor in a gutsy diesel engine and you’re all set for that camping holiday with the family.
In broad terms the Berlingo Multispace easily qualifies for ‘budget’ status, although this more upmarket XTR version will cost you a little more money. The trade-off is a SUV-like rugged exterior and the prospect of improved all-weather traction from its clever stability control system - remember, this is still a front-wheel drive car. Opting for a diesel variant if you plan on racking up the miles will be a smart move, especially if you also plan on towing. Kit levels might be modest but with the money saved over a regular SUV you’ve got a some leeway when it comes to selecting some choice options.
Active types not keen on flashing the cash would do well to put the Berlingo Multispace on their shopping list. A practical, spacious and durable family car, in XTR guise it’s also happy to trundle across wet grass to your car boot pitch or campsite without getting stuck. Thanks to a simple cabin design and the use of tough materials there’s no need to be overprotective if your children are less than respectful of their surroundings either.