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About Citroen Berlingo First

Citroen

The Citroen Berlingo First is essentially a rebrand of the old Citroen Berlingo model, introduced to avoid making this highly popular version of the van completely defunct after the 2008 launch of the new Berlingo.

In some ways, this was a good move both for Citroen and for the particular segment of van drivers that the classic Berlingo now primarily targets - those who want a practical van while valuing affordability over the latest mod cons.

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About Citroen Berlingo First

Citroen

The Citroen Berlingo First is essentially a rebrand of the old Citroen Berlingo model, introduced to avoid making this highly popular version of the van completely defunct after the 2008 launch of the new Berlingo.

In some ways, this was a good move both for Citroen and for the particular segment of van drivers that the classic Berlingo now primarily targets - those who want a practical van while valuing affordability over the latest mod cons.

Read more

About Citroen Berlingo First

Citroen

The Specifications

The Berlingo First has a solid set of specifications for a small van of its type. For the engine, you have the choice between a 1.4 litre petrol and a 1.6 litre diesel. It has a five-speed manual transmission. This offers the capability to run on fuel which is composed of up to 30% biodiesel.

In terms of capabilities as a practical vehicle, the Berlingo First is rated for loads totalling up to 600kg, including the driver, or 750kg for the more recent Berlingo First 750 variant. Up to 100kg can be loaded on to its roof rack. It has a total load volume of 2.7 cubic metres.

In the cockpit, the van has two seats and a fairly basic selection of features. Being a rebranded older model, it lacks the bells and whistles found in vans of a more recent vintage, or indeed those offered by its successor, but it nonetheless has a solid set of basics. This includes power steering, airbags, electric windows, a radio/CD player and multi-speed, velocity-sensitive wipers.

Berlingo First

Positives and Negatives

The Berlingo First is decidedly in the small van category, and so naturally there is a strict limit on how much physical room you can expect it to offer. Compared to many other vans that occupy the same niche, however, it does offer a fairly generous amount of space and its 600kg plus (depending on model) load limit is not bad either. In terms of carrying capabilities, there are certainly worse choices to be made.

Ride quality is very good indeed. Even when the van has been fully loaded and the suspension is tested to its limits, it still manages to offer a fairly comfortable ride. Its suspension does an excellent job of absorbing the impact of bumps. In spite of this, it has better handling and leans less on tight corners than you would expect from a vehicle with such soft suspension. The job of insulating the cabin against engine noise has not been done quite so well, especially in the diesel model, but the sound is by no means deafening.

In terms of performance, this differs significantly between the petrol and diesel models. The petrol model gives solid performance but nothing spectacular. The diesel version, on the other hand, offers noticeably greater pulling power throughout the lower and middle sections of the van's usual rev range. The petrol version is perfectly good, but the diesel one is definitely the superior van for most users, with the possible exceptions being those who almost exclusively engage in urban driving. This is reflected on the used vehicle market, where petrol models suffer more depreciation.

The weakest point is the relative lack of up-to-date features. In a way, however, it is difficult to claim this really is much of a flaw. The Berlingo First is an older model that has remained in production because it is still appealing to a certain market - and that market is precisely the kind of van driver who is willing to sacrifice those extra features for a van that is more affordable and no less practical than its rivals.

Conclusion

Overall the Citroen Berlingo First is not perfect and certainly not for everyone. If you aren't looking for a basic van, you will be better off going for the new Berlingo or a different van altogether. Even if you fit precisely into this van's target market, there are still some flaws such as relatively high levels of road noise. However, it is solid if not exceptional in most key areas and is a good practical choice for an affordable van.

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