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Get a lifestyle - drive a chamionette
Citroen Berlingo Multispace
The Citroën Berlingo Multispace
Last updated: 25 November 2004 1209 GMT
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BBC Gloucestershire's motoring guru Zog Ziegler gets his hands on the Citroën Berlingo Multispace 2.0 HDi, and takes it for a spin.
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FACT SHEET

Citroën Berlingo Multispace 2.0 Hdi Desire

Price: £11,250

Engine: 4-cyl diesel 1997cc

Max power: 92hp

Max torque: 151 lb/ft

Top speed: 99mph

0-60: 13.1

Test consumption: 46.7mpg

Insurance group: 5

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quoteCitroën do make a wacky cheeky chappie van with windows... in the shape of the Berlingo Multispace.quote
Zog Ziegler

Tricky Johnny - brother Frog. But I rather like him.

I suspect the reason so many British folk nurture such a dislike for Frere Grenouille has little to do with the unpleasant events at Creçy, Agincourt and Waterloo.

No, to be honest - it's green-eyed envy.

By and large we covet their lifestyle, to use the word in its non-cycling, surfing, Evian-quaffing sense.

Two hour lunch

They may be smoking themselves to death faster than any other nation in Europe but, hey, any country where even the humblest road sweeper takes a two hour lunch has got to have the edge.

Car interior

And as we all know, they get things done…

They even nail together some half decent cars - though, on balance, Renault seem to have grabbed the style baton from Citroën and appear to be running away with it.

We need some more of that idiosyncratic Gallic flair from Citroën, missing since the demise of the wonderful XM.

Opposition licked

That said, Citroën do make a wacky cheeky chappie van with windows - van fenêtre - in the shape of the Berlingo Multispace - which has the opposition licked, so doff your hats Renault Kangoo and design disaster - Fiat Doblo - a right dobin!

I was determined to hate the Berlingo and looked forward to rubbishing the thing with a few deft strokes of my quill and guess what… I'm rather taken back by the blasted contraption.

quoteYou may even be able to loose one of your unruly brats in the extra 100 litres of storage space the Modutop offers.quote
Zog Ziegler

It does what it says on the tin - and then some; it does it frugally and will only cost a round of drinks to buy.

There are two petrol engines - 1.4 and 1.6 - and two diesels - 1.9 and the much punchier 2.0HDi, with 90 bhp and, much more importantly, 151 lbs ft of torque to save you swapping cogs at the nearest hint of gradient.

Double cream

Prices range from £9,450 to £11,250 OTR.

The Forte spec. models come with all the fruit, whilst the, ahem, Desire spec. cars, as tested here, get a splosh of double cream as well.

On top of the basic list price our test Desire' came with a further £1900 worth of goodies such as Wicked Red Metallic paint at £300, 15 inch Estoril alloys at £350, safety pack (front seat passenger whoopie cushion, lateral whoopie cushions, ABS and EBD) at £650 and air conditioning at £600.

Paint job

Personally, I could just about live without the Desire and Estoril bits, namely paint job and wheels.

Citroen Berlingo Multispace

As the Berlingo Multispace is all about transporting people and stuff rather than out and out performance, let me highlight some of the car's interior features, if I may.

The Wicked Red Desire, teetering on its poncy little Estorils, is something of an illusionist - more airliner than Tardis.

Crumb-snatchers

Well, you get aircraft style tables on the back of the front seats and a roof mounted storage system that Citroën insist on calling Modutop.

Here 'lifestyle' sporty types and their crumb-snatchers can store their sundry accoutrements in "overhead compartments - arranged along similar lines to aircraft lockers".

You may even be able to loose one of your unruly brats in the extra 100 litres of storage space the Modutop offers.

quoteEven cleverer is the exterior bit of the Modutop option, which comes with two built-in removable pivoting roof bars. quote
Zog Ziegler

And just like an aircraft, the Modutop has interior lighting, CD/cassette holder, two 12-volt sockets, adjustable fans and - unlike the aircraft - tinted roof panels for each of the five seats.

The Modutop looks groovy, has more cubby-holes than you can shake a well licked toffee apple at, but… I'm not sure how long it would be before bits of it start biffing the car's occupants about the bonce, it all looks a nadgers on the flimsy side of frail to me.

Well thumbed

Also, go for a dark Modutop. The cream one on 'our' car was already looking well thumbed.

Just think what a good jet of Coca Cola could do.

quoteThe face-lift gives it a friendly if slightly gloopy appearance. quote
Zog Ziegler

Even cleverer is the exterior bit of the Modutop option, which comes with two built-in removable pivoting roof bars.

Surfboards

Positioned lengthways they act like a normal roof-rack. Stick 'em crosswise over the roof and serious lifestyle items such as bikes, skis or, God no, surfboards may be attached.

Lashed to one side of the cavernous boot is a plastic folding contraption with wheels that turns into a sort of shopping trolley like your gran had - only without the tartan.

Snapper Sherratt and I wondered who would ever bother with it.

Spooky

Then, 24 hours later, he actually saw one in use at an air show. How spooky is that?

And guess what… the flaming thing's called a Modubox; Ye Gods and little fishes…

Given the car's brick outhouse aerodynamics it footles along at a fair old clip, only the odd crosswind unsettling matters.

quoteThe Berlingo Multispace 2.0 HDi is vastly practical, mildly trend setting and almost amusing.quote
Zog Ziegler

The face-lift gives it a friendly if slightly gloopy appearance. Suspenders, as well as safety aspects have been much improved.

I have a few minor reservations about overall build quality, but that is to a degree reflected in the price.

Vastly practical

The Berlingo Multispace 2.0 HDi is vastly practical, mildly trend setting and almost amusing.

I like it, tho' I just know that some owners will indubitably get up my nose.

Article by Zog Ziegler

This article contains user-generated content (ie external contribution) expressing a personal opinion, not the views of BBC Gloucestershire.

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