12 June 2022

More than an old car #193: Citroen Berlingo

Having spotted cars for quite a long time, I have seen my fair share of weird and wacky vehicles. Along this vein, passenger vans are a curious oddity since they get ignored by enthusiasts and the uninitiated alike. As such, it was a pleasant surprise to know that this 2001 Citroen Berlingo Multispace still exists somehow!

First introduced in 1996, the Berlingo replaced the aging C15 van which had been produced since 1984. Along with its sister model the Peugeot Partner, the utility (van) model was launched, followed by a passenger version known as the Multispace. Interestingly, the vehicle did not have sliding doors at first. Renault had launched the Kangoo shortly in 1997, and it came with sliding doors: sales of the Kangoo was good and PSA (the holding company of Citroen and Peugeot) had to respond. 

In 1999, the Berlingo came with a sliding door on the opposite side of the steering wheel for safety reasons. New engines were introduced in 2000 and the Berlingo underwent a facelift featuring larger headlights and a front end. The Kangoo now featured sliding doors on both sides and the Berlingo followed suit, first as an option for the van but standard for the passenger Multispace. The Multispace was also available with a canvas top that could be unrolled, much like a sunroof.

The Berlingo Multispace was powered by a 1360 cc i4 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 150 km/h with an acceleration of 17.2 seconds [0-100 km/h]: definitely not meant for hard driving. With dimensions of 4108 x 1719 x 1802 mm, it does not necessarily stand out much from the cars around it. It weighed 1125 kg and had a fuel consumption rate of 7.1 litres / 100 km.

Production of the 1st-generation Berlingo ended in 2008, although local assembly still continues today in Argentina by Stellantis of Bueno Aires: for instance, the local version of the Multispace features double rear doors (like the van version) instead of the hatch version imported from Europe. In Singapore, both van and passenger models were sold back in 1998. While Berlingos are still out and about till this day, this unit is the last 1st-generation version that still exists on the road!

Apparently, its lifespan has been extended by another 10 years so you should still be able to find this on the road. While no one may lament at its absence, the fact that the owner still holds on to it is a testament to its uniqueness in our motoring landscape and I hope you'll be able to recognise it some day!

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