Publication date: 1 November 2021
Citroen e-Berlingo
Review

Citroen e-Berlingo

Going with the flow?

Review - The Citro├źn Berlingo has been a success for three generations. Being a passenger car based on a commercial vehicle, the Berlingo offers a lot of space at a competitive price. Now the Berlingo also comes as an electric car. Does the "e-Berlingo" also offer a lot of space for little money?
Autoparts

Space is excellent! In fact, an electric version was already planned when the Berlingo was designed. Therefore, the batteries for the electric drive could be integrated in the floor and the interior space is similar to that of the petrol- or diesel-powered variants.

Citroen e-Berlingo

From the outside too, the e-Berlingo looks normal. Like the commercial vehicle, the passenger car is available with a standard and extra-long wheelbase. The test car is the "Berlingo XL", which is additionally dressed up with a so-called "XTR" package. This consists of extra bumpers and thickly set bumpers for an adventurous look.

The e-Berlingo is also available with five or seven seats. However, the third row of seats in the standard wheelbase version only offers enough space for small children. In the extended wheelbase version, the extra length entirely benefits the space on the second rear seat, allowing adults to sit here reasonably well too. In all cases, entering the rear is easy thanks to sliding doors on both sides. Also very handy: under the standard interior mirror is an extra mirror that can be used to keep an eye on the offspring in the back seat.

Citroen e-Berlingo
Citroen e-Berlingo

The boot is accessible via an upward-hinged tailgate. This is in contrast to the pivoting doors of the commercial vehicle. Should the tailgate be too heavy, only the rear window can also be opened to load and unload small items.

Equipment

In the front, the e-Berlingo gives a feeling of space thanks to the very high roof and the generous moving space around the front seats. In addition, Citroën provides lots of pockets and compartments, even up to the roof!

For this test, the most luxurious version of the e-Berlingo was used and therefore its equipment is hardly inferior to that of the average passenger car. This includes a central display screen to operate the integrated audio, communication and sat nav system. Unfortunately, the sound quality of the standard audio system is far below average. The sound seems to come from behind a thick blanket and therefore music cannot be enjoyed. For news or podcasts, however, it is just adequate. On the contrary, a compliment goes to the "head-up display", which conveniently displays data for the driver in his/her view.

With the arrival of the electric Berlingo, it was necessary to revise the dials behind the steering wheel. To do this right, the Berlingo now features a display instead of analogue clocks. In the e-Berlingo, this clearly shows how much power is left in the battery, the current range and how much energy is being used or recovered (during braking and coasting).

Citroen e-Berlingo

Handling

The Citroën Berlingo was developed in cooperation with Opel and Peugeot, which launch a similar car under their own brands. Since they share technology, the driving characteristics are also largely similar. Still, it pays to test drive the different makes, as the differences are not limited to looks and equipment.

For instance, Citroën has adjusted the fine-tuning of the suspension and therefore its handling differs from that of the Opel Combo e-Life. These differences are especially noticeable on bad road surfaces. The Vauxhall manages to disguise its high weight (because of the batteries) better, while the e-Berlingo is clearly heavier than the combustion-engined Berlingo. However, the Opel merely cushions blows while the Citroën manages to soften them before cushioning is necessary. So Citroën's promises as a brand of comfort are also fulfilled with the e-Berlingo.

Citroen e-Berlingo

Range and performance

Charging can be done at home socket (15 hours), at a public charging point (8 hours at 7.4 kW on 1 phase or 5 hours at 11 kW on 3 phase) and a quick charger (30 minutes at 100 kW). According to an official measurement according to the WLTP standard, the e-Berlingo can then travel 280 km on a full battery, during the test it was 250 km.

That difference is caused by the extremely erratic nature in power consumption. Compared to the Berlingo diesel or petrol, the electric version performs with much more ease and so the temptation is to take advantage of it. Those not tempted by the enthusiastic response to the accelerator still run the risk of speeding because driving noise is all but absent. Then consumption is very high, up to 30 kWh / 100 km. Even a large electric-powered SUV with a multiple of the e-Berlingo's power consumes less!

Citroen e-Berlingo

However, when economic mode is chosen, the sportiness is over and consumption drops sharply. If a modest speed is also maintained, consumption drops to just under 20 kWh / 100 km. Then the promised range can be achieved or at least approached. Moreover, a calm driving style is rewarded with even more tranquillity, making the e-Berlingo ideally suited for travelling long distances.

Unlike many other electric cars, the e-Berlingo cannot be driven with one pedal. By choosing "B" mode, the e-Berlingo decellerates more strongly when releasing the accelerator, but not so strongly that the brake pedal can be left untouched. This has the disadvantage that less energy can be recovered while driving The advantage is that the e-Berlingo behaves more like a car with a petrol engine, making the threshold to electric driving lower.

Citroen e-Berlingo

Conclusion

Does the Citroën e-Berlingo offer a lot of space for little money? Unfortunately, no. That's because the price of the battery determines the price of an electric car. The e-Berlingo comes with a hefty battery (50 kWh) and also a lot of luxury. Therefore, the price difference with more conventional electric cars is small. Indeed, there are electric cars that have a significantly longer range and cost less.

However, the e-Berlingo remains at an advantage when it comes purely to space, especially if the long-wheelbase variant is chosen. Compared to the Berlingo with petrol or diesel engine, the e-Berlingo is much cheaper per kilometre and, of course, emission-free.

plus
  • Extremely spacious
  • Low-cost per kilometre
  • Smooth and comfortable
minus
  • Poor sound quality audio system
  • No more economical than a luxurious electric passenger car