Citroen e-Berlingo in the test: plenty of space for people and material

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High roof combination based on EMP2 with 100 kW electric drive and a range of around 280 km

Citroen e-Berlingo in the test: plenty of space for people and material-space

In just four years, Citroen wants to offer a purely electric car in all series. That's a word, because the brand currently has eight rows of cars – from the small C3 to the new mid-range crossover C5X to the large Citroen Jumper transporter.

So far only one of them was also available electrically, namely the C4. The e-Berlingo was added in September 2021. We have now tested the car north of Paris.

The heart of Citroen: This is how emotionally the manufacturer classifies the high-roof station wagon. And not without reason, because for many years the model was the brand bestseller. The current generation three has been on the market since 2018. It is now also offered as an electric car.

Drive and driving experience

The first electric Berlingo, however, was the Berlingo II, which was built from 2013, but with 57 kW drive power and a NEDC range of just 170 kilometers, it was still pretty weak. The new e-Berlingo, on the other hand, gets the electric drive known from many Peugeot and Citroen models with 100 kW output and around 280 km range (in the more demanding WLTP cycle).

Citroen e-Berlingo in the test: plenty of space for people and material-e-berlingo

e-Berlingo XL (front) and the 25 centimeter shorter e-Berlingo M (rear) in comparison

We drove the longer of the two versions, the 4.75 meter long e-Berlingo XL. Compared to the recently driven Citroen e-Spacetourer XL with the same drive, the Berlingo XL was much more agile. No wonder, the big space tourer weighs 400 kilos more, and that with the same drive. As far as cornering is concerned, the heavy battery in the floor is good for the Berlingo – the version with a combustion engine is quite prone to wobbling.

As is known from the Peugeot e-208 & Co., the e-Berlingo initially only has 80 kW available after the system start. That is easily enough for small country roads. On the motorway, it can be useful to activate the sport mode using the rocker in the center console – then you have the full 100 kW. However, you can also get them via kickdown.

Citroen e-Berlingo in the test: plenty of space for people and material-space

Center console of the e-Berlingo: The B button is on the left, next to it on the right is the rocker for setting the driving mode

When it comes to recuperation, the e-Berlingo offers few options. In normal D mode, the e-Berlingo practically does not slow down when releasing the accelerator pedal, so, as an avowed fan of one-pedal driving, I will soon be pressing the B button. In many cases, this allows sufficient deceleration, even if only up to about 8 km / h and not until the stop. Interesting for everyone who lives on a hill: When the Berlingo is fully charged, it recuperates (like the other E- Cars with this drive) not at all.

cockpit

In the cockpit there is a configurable instrument display and a handsome touchscreen in the middle – so the car is equipped much more contemporary than the Space Tourer. In addition, there is the head-up display based on a small retractable Plexiglas panel.

However, the materials are no more noble than in the Nitro Berlingo, here hard plastic dominates. What bothers me more is the still annoying operation of the cruise control – the lever for it is cleverly hidden behind the steering wheel spoke. The search for it has been distracting me from the traffic for what feels like ten years, but PSA has no understanding here.

Citroen e-Berlingo in the test: plenty of space for people and material-e-berlingo

At least this time I find out how to take over the speed limit from a traffic sign: The moment you pass the sign, you have to press the "MEM" button twice. This is of course much more laborious than with Audi or BMW, because the takeover happens automatically if you wish. But Citroen is not a premium brand. There is also no distance cruise control for the Berlingo.

Seating system and trunk

The strength of the Berlingo is neither the interior ambience nor the electronic equipment, but the space available, especially in the XL version. This becomes clear when you lay the seats (including the front passenger seat) flat: The free and almost completely flat surface is impressive.

How big the trunk is, is not clear from the official data: Citroen gives 332 to 1,050 liters for the XL; that cannot be the maximum volume up to the roof. Better take a look at our pictures or the trunk at the dealer.

When you see the huge, free loading area, it inevitably occurs to you to use the Berlingo for an improvised overnight stay. It could also be used as a (modest) camping car. Citroen no longer offers a tent that can be hung on the open tailgate for the new Berlingo.

When I open the tailgate, I realize that I've caught a seven-seater – which at least won't exist in Germany for the time being. It's a shame, because you sit very comfortably on the two seats at the very back, and because there is space between them, you can even enter the third row of seats from the tailgate. If the furniture is not needed, it can be folded up and expanded – the time-honored tumble system that is seldom seen these days. Maybe because the seats are not really light after all and then usually stay in the garage.

Prices and Competition

The e-Berlingo is available in length M (4.25 meters) from 36,590 euros; after deduction of the funding, this will be 27,020 euros. For the tested XL version you pay 41,040 euros – we don't have a five-seater or seven-seater. With the XL you get a high level of equipment.

There are already some high-roof combos with electric drive on the market, including the identically constructed Peugeot e-Rifter and Opel Combo-e. However, the Berlingo is the cheapest solution from the group.

The electric version of the new Renault Kangoo will not start until 2022, but initially only as a delivery van; The same apparently applies to the structurally identical Nissan Townstar models and Mercedes Citan. A 75 kW engine and a range of 265 km are to be expected here, a little less in each case than with Citroen. The electric version of the VW Caddy from Abt is hardly competitive with 83 kW drive power and a range of just 159 km. Perhaps that's why VW recently got the car from its electric utility vehicle website thrown.

There are of course alternatives from the SUV sector: A Peugeot e-2008, for example (from 35,450 euros, 100 kW and 342 km range) or a VW ID.4 (from 37,415 euros, with 109 kW and 345 km range). These models are more stylish, but offer less variability and storage volume. And three child seats next to each other in the rear like the Berlingo are probably only possible with a few SUVs.

Conclusion: Currently the best high-roof combination

Which electric cars with plenty of space for children and luggage are there for less than 40,000 euros? If you don't want to drive an SUV for image reasons, then only high-roof station wagons come into consideration. And the Citroen e-Berlingo is currently the best offer. At least until next year the competition from Renault / Nissan / Mercedes starts.

More about the competition:

Citroen e-Berlingo in the test: plenty of space for people and material-e-berlingo Electric SUVs (2021/2022): All models on the market

Citroen e-Berlingo in the test: plenty of space for people and material-people Opel Combo-e Life can be ordered from 38,100 euros (update)

Citroen e-Berlingo XL

engine 1 electric motor in front (presumably PSM)

power 100 kW (30-minute power: 57 kW)

Max. Torque 260 Nm

Acceleration 0-100 km / h 11.7 sec.

Top speed 135 km / h

consumption 20.0 kWh / 100 km

battery 50 kWh gross (prismatic cells from CATL, no information on chemistry)

Electric range 277– 278 km (WLTP)

Charging port CCS2, up to 11 kW AC, up to 100 kW DC

Charging time approx. 5h05 AC, approx. 30 min. DC (0-80%)

length 4,753 mm

broad 1,848 mm

height 1,849 mm

Trunk volume 322-1050 liters (probably up to the window line)

Empty weight 1,813 – 1,962 kg (five-seater)

Payload 358-507 kg

Trailer load 750 kg (12% gradient, trailer with brakes)

Base price 41,070 euros

Market launch September 2021

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