What’s better than the Old Berlingo? The New One, of Course!
Citroen has been rolling out the Berlingo for almost two decades and since then it’s become one of the biggest selling small vans that the French manufacturer has ever produced. The latest version, launched in 2012, is still as raved about as it was two years ago. Dressed up with a rounder, more polished body and wider wheelbase, the new Berlingo (e-HDi90 Airdream) is wide enough to accommodate a Euro pallet.
Unlike the original, the new Berlingo has a cab that seats three. The Airdream LX model has an Extenso multi-function dual passenger seat with integral storage which means that if it’s just you up front there’s plenty of room for extra load that you may be transporting.
Whether you’re using it for roadside or car park unloading, the Berlingo is equipped with both double asymmetric rear access and twin sliding side load doors. The side doors expertly open to 177 degrees so that the van can be backed up into a loading bay making it easier for you to load and unload your cargo in even the narrowest of areas.
Citroen are innovators in practical organisational extras and seem to think more about what drivers on business may need more than any of the other auto manufacturers. The Berlingo comes with a handy roof flap the width of the vehicle, perfect for those of you who need to carry ladders and long pieces of wood. It also boasts many hidey holes and customisable extras for smaller items to be kept in place.
The Citroen Berlingo is a well priced small van at around £12,500 for a new vehicle and with a payload of up to 885kg and 4.1 cubic metres of inner space is a relatively good investment if you’re a small business or fleet. Unfortunately the Berlingo has a twin – the Peugeot Partner so make sure to do your comparisons before signing.
The Peugeot Bipper: Much More than a Small Van
The Peugeot Bipper is an economic model that boasts low running costs and great drivability. The model comes with a 1.3 litre engine that provides plenty of power for city driving. While the van is rather small it is very practical and easy to drive in the city or town. The Peugeot Bipper features a tight turning circle and is easy to manoeuvre through city traffic, while it fits into tight parking spaces easily.
Performance and Driving
While the Peugeot Bipper excels in the city when accuracy and manoeuvrability are essential, the model also provides a smooth ride over long journeys. Good off-road performance is provided by the ATV Grip Control and additional traction is provided when driving over wet grass and along muddy tracks.
Reliability and Safety
The Peugeot Bipper features an electronic stability programme (ESP) as an option, while all models come with ATV Grip Control as standard. The two systems, when used together, activate individual brakes that maintain traction. ABS brakes also come as standard along with an innovative driver’s seat ladder frame protector. The model’s 1.3 litre engine is extremely durable and reliable, making this one model that you can depend on, no matter what the road ahead has in store.
Despite the compact size of this model, there is plenty of space inside the cab, even for tall drivers. The seats in both the back and front of the vehicle are firm, making the vehicle comfortable enough for all day use. Entertainment is provided by the MP3-compatible CD player and radio, while a Bluetooth kit is also available as an option. Remote control central locking is available for the front and rear, while there is also a sliding door at the back. a special feature allows the heating of the door mirrors to be adjusted electronically, while air-conditioning is also provided to make this model suitable for driving all year round. the front passenger seat folds forwards and downwards, providing extra cabin space if required.
Although the Peugeot Bipper is designed to be used as a delivery van or for other types of work, it is stylish and compacted enough to be used by the whole family. The model handles well both on and off the road and has enough features so that the entire family will be entertained and be able to sit comfortably, even on long journeys.
The Fiat Doblo Cargo:
Launched in 2010, the Fiat Doblo Cargo van has carved its reputation for having an almost TARDIS-like interior with a compact, narrow exterior. Offering more space and payload than the Ford Transit Courier or Citroen Berlingo, it can still fit in a small parking space.
Borrowing from its passenger car counterparts, the Doblo offers a comfortable, long wear cab that feels spacious and is brilliant for business owners who intend to spend a lot of time on the road. The raised seating position of the driver gives a great vision of forward and side vision.
Unlike some other small vans, the Doblo boasts extensive compartments and additional storage space making it ideal for businesses. A lockable glove box, compartment under the passenger seat and slide-out tray beneath the passenger seat enables you to keep gadgets such as Sat-Navs and laptops safely away from prying eyes and are fitted as standard on all models. Large door pockets provide additional space and a large overhead cubby helps from cluttering up the cab although access to it is not easy whilst driving.
Ideal for small and medium sized businesses, the Doblo boasts a load compartment with four luggage hooks in the floor and a payload that varies between 750kg and 1000kg. Two asymmetric rear doors open to 180 degrees which is perfect for getting large items into the cargo area. The model can also be customised with single or twin sliding side doors if required.
The lightweight independent rear suspension gives the Doblo a smooth ride and keeps cargo from getting bashed about in the back. Its enjoyable manoeuvrability makes it easy to park into narrow spaces and gives an enjoyable driving experience.
The Doblo comes as either a petrol or diesel conversion and a 105bhp manual gearbox. The petrol engine delivers a 40mpg fuel economy with 163g/km of CO2 emissions which is equal, and in some ways even better, than other same-sized commercial vehicles like the Volkswagen Caddy. The 1.4-litre petrol engine, however, although offering mediocre economy, sometimes feels sluggish during slow automatic gearbox changes.
The second-generation Fiat Doblo Cargo is a great choice for smaller businesses that will be carrying bulky cargo. Its capacity is flawless for its size and you can’t beat the price that this goes for. Although it could be seen as a less attractive version of the original, this tiny commercial van is great value for money and could be a great addition to any fleet.