Once particularly popular family cars, MPVs have drastically fallen out of favour with buyers in recent years, largely due to the appeal of SUVs.
But van-based people movers have remained a steadily popular option, particularly for those prioritising space over style. One such car that’s remained quietly successful over the years has been the Citroen Berlingo, though the French firm prefers to call it a leisure activity vehicle.
Though traditionally found with a diesel engine under the bonnet, Citroen – along with sibling brands Peugeot and Vauxhall – has taken the bold decision to remove all engine options from the Berlingo, and now sell it purely as an EV. Powertrain aside, though, not a lot has changed, with only some subtle blue branding and badging and some slightly redesigned screens. But is it still worth considering?
Though this powertrain might be new to the Berlingo, it’s one that’s widely found on various other Citroen, Peugeot and Vauxhall models.
Combining an electric motor with 134bhp and 260Nm of torque, in the sportiest of driving modes, the e-Berlingo is able to accelerate from 0-60mph in 11.3 seconds, and can reach a top speed of 84mph.
Its boxy shape means its range isn’t quite as long as other cars with this powertrain, but Citroen is still claiming 174 miles of range, while 100kW rapid charging capability means the e-Berlingo’s battery can be charged to 80 per cent in just 30 minutes.
Ride and handling
Thanks to the e-Berlingo’s tall and boxy shape, the visibility is superb, almost like behind the wheel of a greenhouse in terms of the ability to see outside. The electric motor also offers a very smooth delivery, and it’s ideal for nipping about town in, while a ‘Power’ driving mode can make it quite speedy off the line, particularly for a vehicle of this kind.
The suspension setup is relatively well judged too, and it’s decently settled in most driving scenarios, though larger road imperfections can send a jolt through the car. It’s certainly not as comfortable as Citroen’s excellent e-C4.
There’s one area of the e-Berlingo that stands out above the rest and that’s just how spacious it is and where its van-based underpinnings come to the fore. Available in two sizes – Medium or XL – and with a choice of up to seven seats, you’ll struggle to find another new EV that offers more space at this price point. The cabin is brimmed with useful cubby holes too, which only adds to the usability factor of it.
It’s not what you call premium in here, but with hard-wearing materials used, it’s definitely designed with function over form, which is most certainly no bad thing.
Citroen has rejigged the trim line-up of the e-Berlingo, with just two trim levels now on offer – Feel and Flair XTR.
Standard equipment is pretty generous too, with automatic lights and wipers included, along with an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and an impressive suite of safety features too, including lane keep assist and high beam assist.
The Flair XTR does add plenty of extra features though, such as a 10-inch digital instrument cluster, reversing camera, climate control and more stylish 17-inch alloy wheels.
With no petrol or diesel Berlingo now available to buy, if you’re looking for a new version of this Citroen, electric is the only way to go.
Prices are comparatively higher than the old combustion-engine models, however, with the Feel costing from £30,995 and the Flair XTR coming in at £31,995. You’ll pay another £1,000 on top of this for the XL model.
While the e-Berlingo might not offer the same level of style or quality as an electric SUV, when it comes to value for money and spaciousness, it’s safe to say nothing can get close to it.
The addition of the electric powertrain makes this MPV drive better than ever, while it would generally be an exceptionally easily family car to live with, just as long as the average electric range isn’t a deal-breaker