Light delivery vans on the basis of mass passenger models have been produced in Europe for a long time. Thus, back in the fifties, a van on the chassis of “ugly duckling” Citroen 2CV became very popular in France. Other companies also built similar cars… The recipe of their creation was very simple: we take a passenger car, cut behind everything up to the middle column, attach body (thus the car turns into a pickup truck), and cover the body with a hood with doors at the back. By the way, according to this scheme was created and IZH-2715, received the nickname “heel,” which subsequently transferred to all models of this class.
However, over time, it became clear that the step on the roof, which separates the cab from the cargo compartment, is not necessary. If you combine these two volumes, the interior space increases, and functionality and aerodynamics becomes better. Simultaneously it is possible to equip the “heels” with side sliding doors, especially since technically by that time this solution was well-proven on minivans.
But it required not simply modification of ready models, but development of new cars with principally different bodies on their base. In PSA concern it caused appearance of “sweet couple” Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Partner with M49 body in 1996. Developed by PSA body designers allowed to kill two birds with one stone, that is to get cargo van (with window apertures, closed by metal panels) and passenger station wagon of high capacity, quite suitable for delivery of small loads. A wide range of power units and a large range of options predetermined the commercial success of the model: it remained in the conveyor from 1997 to 2013, the assembly was established, in addition to France, and other countries (Italy, Uruguay, Mexico, Russia), and in Argentina Berlingo I is still produced today.
By 2008, there was a change of generations of passenger cars in the PSA concern. It was time to update the LCV lineup as well. The second generation of the Berlingo/Partner (factory code B9) was developed on the basis of a new unified modular platform PSA PF2. The truck has kept the ideology of its predecessor, but all its parameters are slightly moved towards “passenger” use.
Thus, versions with payload over 600 kg disappeared from the lineup, but the possibility of cabin’s transformation and a set of “comfortable options” significantly increased. Passenger (or more precisely cargo and passenger) versions of Berlingo were sold as Berlingo Multispace.
In Europe the trucks were offered with a wide range of engines. This range included in-line 1.6-liter “B4” with an output of 90 hp, the proven TU5 engine (of the same volume, but 110 hp), and a whole bunch of diesels of the same volume, but different power, from 74 to 118 hp. Well, after the restyling, which took place in 2013, the most mass-produced is the 1.6-liter 120 hp gasoline engine EP6, developed together with BMW. All the engines were paired with the optional five-speed manual transmission. Naturally, the bulk of officially sold cars in Russia were petrol-powered versions. The suspension is without any special frills, with McPherson struts in front and a torsion beam in the back.
In 2018, PSA introduced the third generation of its Berlingo/Partner multifunctional line, but by that time, for reasons of crisis, the company had already stopped selling the second generation in Russia, so you can now find them only on the secondary market.
But is it worth it? In fact, why not? They are relatively inexpensive, from 350 to 685 thousand rubles. For a number of categories of potential buyers, this solution may well be optimal. But in order not to blame ourselves afterwards for our choice mistake, let’s get acquainted with what their owners write about Citroen Berlingo Multispace.
Hate #5: The image and the difficulty of finding it on the secondary market
There are a number of reasons why cars of such class have not become and probably never will become mass in our country, and the main of these reasons lies in the plane of their image. Yes, the cargo-passenger versions of light commercial vans on the base of segment C and B+ are quite functional, but… Young and ambitious people indignantly cross them out of the list of vehicles for purchase considering the simple reason that the courier cars do not fall under definition of a “concrete kid’s car”.
Well, more or less wealthy people are often discouraged from purchase by the fact that such cars can by no means serve as a proof of success and prosperity. At least, as the only family car… In case of Citroen Berlingo one more factor can become rather skeptical attitude of Russian automobile society to the French brands. And what of the fact, that often people who have never dealt neither with Berlingo in particular, nor with cars of French brands in general, become carriers of the sacred knowledge “all French cars are rubbish”. We have already fixed opinion, that the first sort is “Germans” and “Japanese”, the second – “Koreans”, and all the rest is the third sort, which is not defective at best.
Only those who are sure that “the image is nothing, the function is everything” will be ready to consider Berlingo (as well as its schoolmates) as an alternative to usual hatchbacks or sedans. At the same time, they can be divided into two groups: “multifamily”, burdened with a large number of children and elderly relatives, dachas and pets, and private entrepreneurs, who need the van for their business, but are not ready to keep two cars. A variant of the families involved in protracted repair or dacha construction, or some combination of these variants is possible. Thus the category “multifamily” can also include quite a single student who will write in his response: “I don’t need the executive class at my 20s and I need to take my parents, sprouts, lawnmowers to a country house”…
All others will dare to buy such “heel” only as the second, and even the third car in a family meant exclusively for work or only for departures on days off. But, you must agree that keeping two or three cars requires much bigger expenses, than one, let it be even expensive…
In any case the rationally minded potential buyers will seriously consider purchase of such car on the secondary market, of course, attentively estimating its mileage and condition.
And here they will be faced with the fact that the substantial part of the cars for sale are the cars, purchased by the leasing companies, which were used for a couple of years in cab or delivery services, which were not properly maintained and were offered for sale in the rather “shabby” condition. That’s why experienced people strongly recommend before buying to address to some respectable service and obligatory check compression in all cylinders (it must be not less than 11, and the difference of this parameter between separate cylinders must not exceed one), and also check the real mileage recorded in a control unit. Actually, you can not be afraid of high mileage – there are Berlingo with mileage about 200 thousand km in excellent technical condition, but in case of twisted mileage it is better to refuse from purchase.
It is not easy to find the necessary equipment. Undoubtedly, the XTr package, which includes daytime running lights, rain and light sensors, standard parktronic, dual-zone climate control, AUX and usb inputs and three separate passenger seats with built-in tables, is the best for the role of the only family car. But the cars on the market have a wide range of options: they were delivered to Russia with both four and five doors, the rear door could be as a single swing, and lift up, have three or five passenger seats… However, we exclude from consideration only cargo versions with single-row three-seater cab and opaque panels instead of rear glazing.
Berlingo Trek is worth to talk about. In 2012 on our market appeared Berlingo Trek, factory-remanufactured by Irito with Dangel kit (the company is engaged in off-road tuning of PSA vehicles, including their preparation for the “Dakar”). Berlingo Trek could be equipped with all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive, but in any case they received a new suspension, which seriously increases ground clearance: up to 200 mm under the front axle, 215 mm under the rear beam 215 and 275 mm under the bottom. Otherwise, this is the same Berlingo Multispace in the Tendance and XTr configurations with 120-horsepower motor EP6. But technically Berlingo Trek is a separate model and has a Russian VIN!
Alas, not so many of these cars were made and sold, so to find it in decent condition will be a big luck. Especially in case the purchaser is not only a “multifamily” private entrepreneur, but also a keen fisherman or hunter.
Love #5: Versatility
Passenger versions of light commercial vehicles, by definition, are versatile vehicles, and that is why they are valued for this versatility. Here is what the owners write in their reviews: “I took it as a second car for work, it turned out to be an irreplaceable friend”, “The car was chosen with the condition that the back row could hold three child car seats, and the trunk could hold a stroller for twins plus a pile of things. Money was limited, and the credit was not considered”, “The car was purchased as a family car, for there is a dacha, 3 cats, two children, respectively, stuff and stuff we carry a lot. “A huge luggage compartment and cargo capacity of over 500 kg makes a passenger car a full-fledged van for long trips with the family and on business.
In general, the variant Multispace successfully transformed Berlingo from a “budget heel” in a kind of elegant minivan, pleasant outside and comfortable enough inside, allowing the day to roam around town on business, and in the evening to go somewhere with the whole family or to bring furniture from the store.
The truck has remained a truck, but it is wonderfully disguised as a civilian car. Comfort, driveability, dynamics, style – as a not bad passenger car, but the family minivan becomes a working donkey, not afraid of any heavy things. Berlingo has also approved itself well in long journeys, allowing you to turn there, where there are few roads, but a lot of interesting things. We will return to this issue, as well as we will analyze in detail some aspects which provide this universality, but now we shall only note that thus the car has appeared not too capricious, simple in service and budget enough.
Hate #4: Winter problems.
In Russia, as we know, there are winters, and basically Berlingo has established itself well enough in this difficult for any motorist period. If you put a normal winter rubber, and there will be no problems, at least, so write in their reviews the owners: “We lived through a snowy winter, the car and the wheels satisfied as a boa constrictor (except for heating). If you don’t get into deep snow, you won’t get stuck”.
Nevertheless, in winter it begins to affect that Berlingo is basically designed for the European exploitation. First, in many responses one can hear complaints on very long heating of the engine, and interior, and it concerns not only diesel versions (which always differed by some cold-bloodedness), but also petrol ones. “What infuriates is a very long warming up at idle, especially in winter. And if to take into account that the interior is very big, it becomes more or less warm in it only in 20 minutes after achievement by the engine of working temperature. Hence the advice – buy only with heated seats. “In cold weather another peculiarity has revealed: at temperatures from -10 to -35 the engine takes a very long time to warm up. In December the way to work was about 10 km, with traffic jams – about 25-30 minutes. During this time the engine warmed up to 70-80 degrees. It reached 90 degrees only when it was less than -15C. We had to wait for warm air for about 15-25 min.
There are also complaints about the operation of the heater. On the one hand, the owners admit that they “never knew what window fogging is”, but on the other hand, many of them still get cold feet. It is offered to solve this problem very radically: “take wire cutters and bite out the lattice slits on the air duct, which leads to legs”.
The heating of seats itself works well, providing warmth not only for seat cushion, but for lumbar zone as well. The location of the buttons, which are responsible for its activation, is criticized. They are located on the left side of the driver, at the base of the backrest, on the right side of the passenger – and many people find it not very convenient: “You have to look down to see if the light signifying the activation is on. Plus, the light is blocked by the seatbelt if it’s buckled, and you can only see the light reflected off the door. On the other hand, the heater turns off automatically, and the button only needs to be pressed once, before you start driving.” But much more owners are annoyed by the fact that the resting area of windshield wiper blades appears below the area of windshield heated by hot air from heater, and there is no electric window heating even in parking area of “wipers”. As a result, it is necessary to beat off the ice from the brushes much more often than in case of many other models.
The owners also write that the designers haven’t invented something with the rear bumper: “Even a little snow or ice on it – and you can’t open or close the back door at once. And the complaints about the rear suspension starting to rattle in cold weather are also very traditional.
Love #4: Durability and convenience of exploitation
Citroen Berlingo, as its owners write, is an easy and unpretentious car in terms of service. According to the regulations it is serviced once in 15-20 thousand km, although many prefer to reduce this interval to 7-9 thousand km just in case. Many operations can be carried out independently: the layout of under-hood space does not create any difficulties for replacement of bulbs, pipes, filters or candles: “Bulbs in headlights are changed for a couple of seconds. The rear ones are more complicated, but no problem. By the way, I used to swear that it needed a special wrench, but then I suddenly saw it in the jack package. The commercial roots have an effect on the endurance: “The durability of the units is amazing! I don’t know if it’s due to careful operation or to the durability of the components. For example, the first replacement of the clutch disc was at 185,000 km of run, the battery – at 191,000, the front brake discs required replacement at 180,000 (and only because a little bit twisted from the contact of hot discs with water), the front pads have been changed twice, the last time along with the discs, the rear – once, and they are still half alive. In many reviews the owners note that during the ownership they have managed without major repairs and changed only consumables.
As for the use in the city, the sliding side doors come in handy, which can be opened even in a very tight parking lot. At the same time through them can go not only the passengers on the back seats, but also the driver, and his neighbor to the right: flat floor and gearbox lever, made on the front console influx, allow without any tricks to go from the first row to the second.
Despite its roominess, the Berlingo has a rather short wheelbase, which means excellent maneuverability, and it is very easy to park on it. In many reviews, the authors write about the convenience of using the cruise control (on long runs) and the speed limiter (in urban conditions): “You set yourself a limit of 77 km / h and go past the cameras without hysterics. True, there can be some problems with operation of these systems, but they are solved very simply: “About a year ago a cruise-control started glitching. It was expressed in that it could switch off in the course of movement, and could not turn on at all. Always helped to reset the car, i.e., say, you go out on the highway section where you know you will drive long and smooth, and it (cruise) does not turn on. Then you stop the car, turn it off, turn it on, drive, and that’s it – cruise is on. Recently made a diagnosis of this fault, the cause – brake pedal switch. It has two pairs of contacts: one lights the brake lights, and the second turns off the cruise. It turned out to be quite a common problem: the second group of contacts often fails. The solution of this problem is very inexpensive: 400 rubles for the limit switch + 300 rubles for replacement”.
However, Berlingo has also recommended itself well on long trips. There are lots of comments about journeys by this car and to the south, to the warm sea, to Europe and even to more wild places: “We went 1000 km away to Astrakhan for fishing. There was a trunk on the roof with rods and everything else. 140-160 all the way, 4 people in the car plus fish (on the way back) and traction has not diminished. On light off-roading never once let me down, scratched the bumper, but he does not care, he’s made of kapron.
The durability of Berlingo bumpers is mentioned in several reviews: “I especially want to mention and give a solid 5 to the front bumper. Oh, how much it has suffered! The Renault Logan that cut me off had the rear bumper fall off, and my tow hook hatch opened, and broke a few rays in the grille. Glued it back together with duct tape, and voila! – Good as new. Ran into an Accent through my fault, his bumper went inward and I had nothing. I tailgated an X-Trail at a stoplight, it had a bunch of scratches, I had nothing. Parked with my face toward the house, my phone rang, I got distracted, a big bump and… Right, and nothing. I was backing up in front of the store and didn’t notice a protruding metal pipe that used to be a fence. Hit the front bumper, the fixing clip broke off and there was a dent in the bottom, which can probably be removed by heating the bumper with a construction hairdryer. There have been many such stories, as I drive an average of 45-50 thousand miles around Moscow in a year. Super bumper!”.
Despite the small ground clearance, the tractive engines and “cargo” ratios in the gearbox and main gears allow Berlingo to get out of the fights with serious off-road obstacles with honor. Here, for example, is such a story: “I am an inveterate fisherman, and the automobile has been in such adversities that not always fall to share even with UAZis. Once, after driving down a clay field road with a 10-15% grade, we spent the night on a lake. It rained heavily during the night, and we firmly understood that we couldn’t get out without a tractor. I staked on the fact that I had winter tires in front of me, already without spikes, so after disembarking all the passengers, I went hard, trying not to slip and not to get in a rut. Slowly accelerating on wet clay (up to the lift was about 800 meters), I went uphill, and after 5-7 minutes of efforts my Behemoth, covered with mud and clay, was on the road on the asphalt. My friends were walking, lagging behind and didn’t see my “jump.” When they came out from behind a wooded area and saw me on the road, I was astonished – they had already called the tractor driver from the regional center.
Finally, Berlingo can by no means be called “a fuel eater”.
The majority of owners define the consumption as “average” or “acceptable”. For the 120 hp engine EP6, the consumption in the combined cycle is 8-9 l/100 km: “I like the consumption, because I thought it would be worse. Anyway, the biggest expense was a week in Petersburg traffic jams (it just so happened that I had to drive in the center a lot this week) in the heat with the air conditioner on all the time, the consumption on the computer was 12.2 l/100 km. Minimum consumption that I fixed (readings of the computer and calculation of the checks consumption was practically the same, the computer cheated to the lesser side by 0.1 l/100 km) came out on the above-described run from St. Petersburg to the Tver region and back 6.7 l/100 km at an average speed of 68 km/h according to the computer and 6.8 l/100 km – according to the checks. There were three adults in the car, including the driver”. Approximately the same figures are given for a 110 hp TU5JP4, and a 75 hp diesel will please the driver with the consumption within 7 liters per one hundred even in dense city traffic and heavy traffic jams.
Hate #3: Paintwork, windshield, interior materials, noise isolation
Many reviewers refer weak windshield to frank disadvantages of Berlingo: it does not hold up well to pebble strokes and gets abraded very quickly: “I almost did not force it with a scraper this winter as there was no winter and it is already pretty worn out and dotted with small scratches”, “Very weak windshield, the slightest pebble can chip it. I didn’t like it, and if I have to replace it, I’ll never buy the original one. Some blame it on the original wipers: “The wiper blades suck, kind of like the original, but in less than a year have worn out badly. You wipe them – they work fine for a day, but then again strongly “streak”. Also, the windshield wipers have a peculiarity: one of them is not fully hinged, so to clean or replace it, you need to put it into service mode by pressing the switch down immediately after turning off the ignition.
In reviews, there are a lot of mentions of weak paintwork: “Do not dare to rub the paint with your fingers – there are scratches at once, and it even comes to white ground”. Of course, this is hyperbole, but many people write that the paint on Berlingo is scratched very easily. But they have to admit, that in spite of this fact, the corrosion protection of the body is very well done; even in case of flaking paint you may see the gray primer under it and the body as a whole does not rot. There is one more delicate point with painting: a car after an accident may be properly painted only in a “native” service, where the right proprietary technology is used: “My left fender had to be changed after a Gazelle run into me. A painter I knew took a paint sample and couldn’t match it up for a month. More precisely, he did not pick it up, he only paints, and the paint is picked up at the stations. In short, it was not picked up. It turned out a little darker… It was painted well, the gauge shows that the thickness of paint is normal, but still in the sun you can see the difference.
The interior materials lose their marketable appearance very quickly: “The plastic rattles and rubs off, the steering wheel has holes in it. Everyone who sells after three years, put a braid or Chinese leatherette, so as not to embarrass the mileage. Service life – a year, then it rubs and tears, no good look, it is better to sell”. The fabric around the seats also loses its condition very quickly: “Those who have small children, I advise to buy covers at once to keep the marketable appearance”. The owners of “rich” kits XTr complain that the thresholds inside the interior are not protected with plastic linings, and a piece of carpet remains uncovered between the doorway seal and the mat. “My family is used to stepping over these places, but here are some!”
A lot of criticism is expressed by the authors of reviews about the noise insulation. Some of them hack off their shoulders saying that “there is no noise isolation”, “they probably do not know about warming of the roof and noise isolation on PSA Citroen, let alone about noise mastic”. Others write more cautiously: “Weak noise isolation, like all cars now, you can hear the engine and rear arches”, “I forgot to tell about noise isolation and insulation of the front doors. It is necessary to do”, “Noisy, but not critical”. And a rather adequate estimation, for example looks like this: “Many people write – the car is a bit noisy. Gentlemen, did you want it to be cheap and quiet? It is not so. In my opinion, Berlingo is not so noisy, and there are no plastic creaks, as well as the engine in the cabin is not especially audible. Sometimes I even have to look at the tachometer to determine whether the engine is running or not. But when starting in frost the engine is really noisy for some reason, like a diesel for the first five minutes… I think the chain is the reason of it and after warming up the engine is almost inaudible. With this engine, Berlingos goes as well as a middle-class sedan, but we should not forget about the voluminous and not aerodynamic body.
Love #3: Interior, visibility and ergonomics
We have already mentioned that the Citroen Berlingo can easily accommodate a family together with mass of different luggage. But it is also important that the car provides both the driver and all passengers with quite high level of comfort. The authors have dedicated a lot of words in the reviews to the driver’s seat: “The seat is high, you get used to it quickly and when you sit down in a usual sedan it seems that you have sat down right on the ground. It’s very comfortable to get in and out when you have a bad back. The roof is high, you can’t put your head on it”, “You can sit in the front for a basketball player in a cap – you can’t reach the ceiling!”, “Comfortable seating. None of the cars I’ve driven before have ever made me feel this comfortable behind the wheel. I realized it after I covered the way from St. Petersburg to the Tver Region to St. Petersburg in less than a day. Together with the rest (by the way, sleep and failed) road took 20 hours, traveling a distance of 1140 km. So, I want to say that physically I was not tired at all, got out of the car normally, feeling no fatigue in my legs, arms or back. The bus seating is cool!”, “It’s comfortable to sit in. Got used to bus seating and I’m glad I did!” “Almost two days on the road with breaks for sleep did not cause any negative feelings in the back, and the next day after arriving sat in the driver’s seat without shuddering. I should say at once that if you like to ride half reclining, then this is not your car. The seats dictate straight seating with an upright back, and nothing else. On the way there, it felt like there was not enough lumbar support. On the way back I realized I was wrong.
The only grievance is too short driver’s seat cushion, but not everyone complains about it. I have only one review, where the author berated the seats of the first row: “All impression of the car is spoiled by awful, uncomfortable, rigid and narrow (at least for me) seats. There are almost no complaints to seat backs, except for the fact, that they don’t breathe, but even brand cars can’t all boast of that, and this seat – yep, it is awful! My wife told me that seats are good, until she constantly drove Ikstrail for long distances. After a while, after getting in my car, she admitted she was wrong and that my seats are actually like a stool. I’ll try to buy a blanket and put a thick foam pad under it, maybe at least it will be softer, but really after 20 minutes of driving my thighs are starting to hurt.
The main thing is that the high mounted seats provide for excellent visibility both forward and backward, including through huge, no less than “Gazelle”, side mirrors where you can see the rear wheels. They have only one disadvantage: they cannot be folded forcibly, by pushing a button, which is necessary when driving in narrow spaces in the yards. The mirrors fold automatically only when the car is locked. The central mirror does not amaze with heroic sizes and even can seem too small, but it accommodates 95 % of rear window, and it is more than enough. It is clear that all this allows maneuvering with ease in tight yards and in parking lots.
Owners also like the location of the controls. You have to get used to some of Berlingo’s features, such as the gear lever in the center console or the joystick for the media system under the steering wheel, but you get used to it quite quickly: “Compared to the steering wheel controls, the joystick under the steering wheel is very convenient to operate. I realized it in comparison, when I was driving a Mercedes and needed to answer a call urgently. With a twisting steering wheel, you have to be distracted to find the button, while the joystick is static.
The abundance of shelves, drawers and storage spaces is no less admirable: “It takes as much effort to get into the car as to sit down on a chair. There are round, square, rectangular, covered and open niches and drawers everywhere. If you have a folder, bag, phone, glasses and stuff in your hands, you’ll place it around the cabin in seconds, and that’s pretty cool!” Owners especially like the drawer with a lid on the panel under the windshield, right in front of the driver. It is convenient to store documents (up to A4 sheets), you can put a small bag, and you can flip the lid, put a tablet and use it as a navigator, without additional brackets and suction cups on the window. Many mark the presence of very capacious shelf, located on the joint of the roof and the windshield – even an umbrella you can throw there, even a hat, even a bag with sandwiches on the road, even a netbook with a charger. There are additional lockable capacities in feet of front and rear passengers: “I have a compressor in one and an umbrella in the other. Under the front also recesses in the floor (the key, sign, fire extinguisher and first aid kit live there).
There are many hooks throughout the cabin, on which you can hang clothes or bags from the supermarket. In a word, everything is very cleverly thought out, although not without some disadvantages. For example, there are no cup holders and water bottles have to be placed in door pockets, folding armrests, which are equipped with front seats in some configurations, are convenient only when you do not need to switch gears often on the highway or in traffic, and in the city, they interfere… 12-volt power outlets are obviously not enough. There is only a cigarette lighter socket. Neither in the trunk, nor at the passengers additional outlets.
But in principle back passengers are not deprived of comfort, especially in case of kitting-up XTr. There is more than enough place for legs, each passenger has his seat with optimal profile, there are folding tables, you can get in without bending down, tall as a bus (and solid-aged passengers like it very much). “Three voluminous women in fur coats sit apart (tested on relatives). The knees don’t rest on the front seats, even if they (the seats) are pushed back as far as they can…”. The width of the cabin is enough to place two child seats, and one more adult can ride beside the children without feeling cramped.
The owners also like the fact that adults can safely transport children on the second row: “There is a super lock (locking only the rear doors), given that the windows are not raised, the child is completely safe. He puts his legs on the folded front seat, I give him a toy steering wheel in his hands, he drives, steers, he’s happy”. In summer the back windows ajar aside provide an excellent air circulation. The only thing that displeases the owners is poor illumination of a passenger compartment and absence of ceiling handles. The floor in back is 10 centimeters higher than in front, so even though the saloon height of 120 cm allows walking along back seats, this step creates some inconveniences for elderly people.
Hate #2: Weak suspension
Complaints about the relatively weak (mostly front) suspension of the Citroen Berlingo are found in not all, but still quite a few reviews. “By 40 thousand, replace the suspension all around – ouch, Zhiguli.” “Suspension, I suspect, sucks – it already rattles a bit, and this at only 25 thousand miles.” “Front suspension is weak, shock absorber struts were replaced at 13,000 km, they rattled again at 40,000 km”, “Front stabilizer struts are 17-18 thousand km, but they cost nothing. One replacement under warranty, the second time I changed it myself, in half an hour”.
In general, the front suspension really doesn’t look too serious for a car designed for cargo and intensive use: “Look at this flimsy front suspension! One thin lever that holds the wheel!”. Here we can take into account only that the automobile is European and intended for European road conditions. But it is necessary to admit, that not everyone agrees with such estimation. On our Russian “a hundred bends a verst” type roads, transverse stabilizers pass into the category of expendable materials at many models. And as a result, thrifty owners can write something like “All suspension at 193,000 mileage is alive, I have changed cross struts twice”.
Love #2: Decent drivability
The owners of Berlingo cannot come to a consensus in terms of evaluation of work of this suspension. Some consider it too soft and wobbly: “The passenger version’s suspension is soft, and at high speed the car rocks like a boat”. Others are sure that smoothness and softness of the ride is just an advantage, but no rocking and rolls are observed: “The car is quite quiet and soft, and if you load it, you get the full comfort. It holds the road confidently, swallows small irregularities and does not yaw at speed”.
The third, on the contrary, consider that a suspension is too rigid and one can receive sufficient smoothness only if the car is loaded: “The rear suspension is too rigid, but when you put 20-30 kg. of cargo in the trunk all rigidity disappears. Somebody agrees, that a suspension is rigid, but in moderation: “Suspensions. They are stiff as for a load but they are not oaky. That is they do not cause discomfort, do not beat in the teeth, they are just rigid. It is very well: a car makes curves with such suspensions at ease. So, there are no complaints. In general, the car is very stable. A broken rut on M4 “Don” even at the maximum speed (152 km/h according to GPS) does not cause any inconvenience. The passengers sleep peacefully”.
Well, someone considers the adjustment of Berlingo suspensions to be a real etalon: “Bravo! It is exactly the way it should be, in my opinion. The Crimean roads are not bad at all. Yes, it is not a yacht. Yes, there is a little chattering (and what did you expect from the car of such height?). But at the same time there is constant contact with the road, no swinging, deviation from the trajectory, no breakdowns. There is also rather long travel, not a hint on wheels’ separation from cloth, too in a word there is no excessive rigidity. In short, it is focused exactly on controllability on the road of low quality, let it be slightly to the detriment of comfort.
Anyway, the authors of the overwhelming majority of reviews consider that Berlingo behaves on the road not at all worse than decent cars, the power steering provides enough information value that even at 170 km/h one has no feeling that you are flying in an uncontrolled bolide – the car doesn’t yawl, doesn’t lose its trajectory, slows down adequately if necessary. Only many, very many people complain that opportunities of the running gear are distinctly ahead of opportunities of the engine.
Hate #1: engines, box, lack of dynamics.
Yes, it is possible to read in almost each review about lack of dynamics of Citroen Berlingo. Say, it is possible to speed up on a highway, and in a city it is quite possible to drive within the limits of traffic rules, but the car accelerates too lazily: “I have 1,6 liters, 110 hp. When the car is empty it is enough, you can even chase with domestic cars and budget foreign cars. But with a load of about 200 kg it does not have enough dynamics, but the car is not made for racing. On a highway over 100 km/h acceleration is very long, and the engine starts to rustle. At 100 km/h – 3,000 rpm”, “110 hp was not enough, too, when overtaking you put the lower one on for sure. With the air conditioner running the car noticeably “slows down”.
But the 120 hp EP6 causes the same complaints: “The disadvantage – terribly slow acceleration! I took 120 horses deliberately, I thought the reserve of power would be enough. But, unfortunately, on the first gear, when you push to the floor, the maximum is 40 km/hour… Acceleration begins only from the third gear. It is necessary to rev up the engine strongly, otherwise it will not have time to overtake the lorry. If not for this moment, I would drive happily. What to say about 90-horsepower variants and 75-horsepower diesel engines…
The EP6 is also considered capricious and unreliable, and also prone to oil consumption: “Do not take the EP6 – you will live in the service and work for spare parts. I recommend TU5jp4, a reliable sixteen-valve engine. You can pour any petrol, but it stalls on 92m with intensive acceleration”. As for the EP6, there are many critical articles about this engine – about “oily” and stretching chain, bent valves, broken sensors and problems with spark plugs and coils. Someone, of course, writes that the devil is not as terrible as they say: “This engine is not liked in service stations because of its uncommon decisions. But what BMW calls technologies, Citroen refers to disadvantages. What the belt tensioner guitar alone is worth…”. But, on the whole, owners consider the mechanism of timing belt as rather problematic unit, and treatment of this sore is rather expensive: “Change only the original timing belt, together with roller and tensioner. Do not save money, the valves will bend – it is tested! Garage repair will cost about 50,000. The officials have charged 120,000 rubles.
However, the owners of Berlingo with an EP6 engine are especially fond of discussing the problem of the excessive oil consumption: “The engine of this car is like a BMW, well, it has the same problem, namely the oil consumption. Up to 60,000 km mileage only once refilled 0.5 liters, but after 60,000, the problems began. At first Behemoth ate 0.5 liter per 10,000 km, now I pour so much every 4,500 km. “So. As for oil consumption. First, it is necessary to pour not 4, but 4.2 liters of oil into this engine. Secondly, oil consumption, for which it is disliked (I, actually, disliked my A6 for it), is cured by replacement of valve stem seals with new ones, and it is possible to forget about the problem for 100 thousand km. Well, thirdly, this engine does not like grandfather’s style of driving and gets corked with pleasure in traffic jams. With proper treatment it is frisky, economical and reliable, contrary to the opinion of the most part of people who don’t own this car. On replacements: I’ve changed oil, plugs (on NJK), belt (couldn’t take it at 180), camshaft sensor, and crankshaft oil seal. As you can see, there’s not complete agreement here either…
But what all reviewers agree is that the main reason for the lack of dynamics is not the weakness of the engines, per se, but the characteristics of the transmission ratios. “Obviously, the drivetrain elements are from a bicycle and the engine is from a Mini Cooper. It’s nice to have time to think about the world of the day while moving in the flow of trucks,” notes the author of one of the reviews, vulnerably. Indeed, almost everyone writes about the lack of 6th gear and too high rpm at highway speeds, regardless of the engine under the hood. For example, the owner of the automobile equipped with 110 hp TU5jp4 complains about his life: “Aw, Citroen! Where is 6th gear?! 3100 rpm at 100 km/h in 5th gear – is this even normal? The engine itself is not bad. Very wide working range, pulls from 2500 and up to 6000 rpm, at overtaking it allows making a classic “two gears down and push the button to the floor”. In comparison with the 90 hp engine there is no slump in acceleration from 110 km/h to 130 km/h, in general it accelerates quicker, especially at speeds over 100. But it does not “go” to this car. Okay, when the car is empty, I can try to play racer – to twist the engine, cheerfully clicking the short gearbox to the accompaniment of the exhaust, which sounds a little more noble than at 90 hp. But the truth of life is that when the car is loaded with the relatives and country stuff, I, trying to keep up with the flow, twist the engine to 4-5 thousand, and all this – with the sound of a Mini Cooper bitten in the ass. In short, this car needs the diesel. Diesel and sixth gear”.
Naturally, constant driving at high revolutions also leads to enough big consumption of fuel, which we have already discussed. And the “electronic hint” which appeared after restyling was not harmful at all: “There is a small arrow on the dashboard which lights up at the moment when, in computer’s opinion, it is necessary to switch to a higher gear. At first, I just laughed at it, then tried to follow its advice. Amazingly, the computer was right about 90% of the time! It adequately adjusted to the road situation and the capabilities of the engine, suggesting that you can go 40 km / h and in 5th (!) gear, thereby saving gasoline. But very many people mention, that they would prefer the most usual automatic device, which is not available for any of the versions.
Love #1: Volume and capacity
But here’s where the Berlingo fully meets its owners’ expectations: in its significantly greater capacity to carry a wide variety of luggage, compared to a standard passenger car or crossover of comparable size
“Once I carried an assembled moped (a moped, not a scooter), it fit all the way in!”, “At the end of the fall I bought two bikes (frames 19 and 17 inches). Came to the store, picked up the bikes. Sellers said: let’s take off the front wheels, fold one of the back seats, and everything will fit. I did something different: the front passenger seat moved almost all the way forward, just to be able to sit on it, a single rear seat, which is behind the front passenger, unbuckled and put in the trunk, and the two bikes went to full length absolutely no disassembly (put them one wheel forward, the other – back). This leaves room in the car for the driver, two in the back and one, albeit not very comfortable, in front, “fits a long vehicle up to 3 meters, fits a panel 2700h600h100 … Carrying all kinds of appliances like refrigerator and dishwasher – no problem at all”. “Took my mother to the country this weekend for the summer. Many of you know how much stuff women, girls and young women take with them: a cosmetic bag alone weighs about 10 kilos. Well, I had a new washing machine, gas stove, five two-liter cans of paint, paint rollers and a bunch of other things for repairs in my trunk. Plus my mother’s things, food and a bunch of other strange stuff, and my mother and father, together we carried about 200 kg of weight. There was still room for them. “I was transporting baby carriages from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod (12 to 18 pieces with rear seats folded away), transported spring water from village for drinking – 8 bottles of 19 liters and plenty of room for potatoes and other things, carried 3 meters (!) Chrome pipes – easily got into the trunk, and the trunk door closes without obstructions. “The cargo compartment easily fits a pallet/pallet euro/america along and across.” “The trunk fits two 225-liter drums.”
In this case not only the total volume is important, but also a configuration of the luggage compartment: “The space of a trunk is formed in the best way: almost vertical backs of rear seats, absence of niches. That is the trunk – practically a parallelepiped (we remember the 7th grade – a box with right angles)… Everything fits in!”. The phrase “it doesn’t fit in!” would hardly be uttered during the packing for long trips or when preparing for outings: “I was able to easily load a tent, a rubber boat with a rigid bottom, a boat motor, some jerrycans, plastic camping furniture, a smokehouse and a huge pile of all sorts of schmuddy stuff. All this in a regular car just won’t fit, you need a trailer”, “A trip to the country for a weekend with tents gives the following results: 5 people can fit in the car comfortably, and the trunk – all their stuff and food for 3 days. No one goes with backpacks on his knees and falling down on his head “foam”, “I went to a family out-of-town vacation, the trunk loaded leisurely and still not fully aware of how much will fit in there. Estimated his capacity on arrival at the place: 4-person tent, sleeping bags for 4 people, food, barbecue, 2 bags of charcoal, clothing, etc. – Everything got in. Interior cross-bars, a kind of inner trunk, that many cars have, also come in handy: “Overhead bars in the cabin are a very useful thing, especially when carrying things like fishing rods, rifles, snowboards, skis, hand-held gasoline mowers and generally all the long and flat”.
The upward-facing trunk door serves as a shelter from the rain during unloading and loading, or allows you to sit under it, like under a canopy, with a mug of coffee. The only thing the owners complain about is that it is possible to get normal sleeping place only with taken out seats. But, if to travel for two persons, it is possible to place not even a mattress, but high-grade double inflatable bed, and there will be still place for things on sides.