The Citroen e-Berlingo is a multi-purpose electric vehicle that’s available with five or seven seats, and both models offer lots of boxy space and practicality.
We’ve had increasing numbers of EVs coming to market but so far there haven’t been many ‘multi-purpose electric vehicles’. That has now changed with the Citroen e-Berlingo, and the Berlingo isn’t even available any longer with a petrol or diesel engine – it’s electric or nothing.
It may have windows, but it probably won’t escape your notice that the Citroen e-Berlingo looks a bit like a van. Yes, you’ve guessed it, this is because it’s based on a van, and so a key feature of the e-Berlingo is that it has a very large, boxy boot, therefore it’s very practical.
We should probably talk about dimensions then: the ‘M’ model, as tested, has five seats and a 775-litre boot, or 3,500 litres with the rear seats folded. If you opt for the longer ‘XL’ version, with seven seats, you get a (van-like) 4,000 litres of luggage space if you fold all the seats down. The third row of seats are also removable, as well as being able to slide backwards and forwards.
There’s lots of storage everywhere, even in the ceiling (26 different compartments add an extra 167-litres of useable space in the cabin). The optional ‘Modutop’ is a large glass roof with a storage console underneath it running down the centre of the length of the vehicle, also featuring a long light unit. There are two storage compartments in the ceiling above the boot, and there’s even a ‘Top Box’ refrigerated storage area in the top part of the dashboard. Rear seat passengers get foldable trays.
However despite all the storage areas, there’s just a big gap of nothing between the two front seats. This area would be useful to instead house drinks and phone holders, as the only drinks holder is a very small receptacle on top of the dashboard.
The Citroen e-Berlingo has a 50 kWh battery (with a useable capacity of 45 kWh), a 100 kW (134 hp) electric motor, and it’s front-wheel drive.
The Citroen e-Berlingo may be based on a van, but because it’s all-electric, it’s so much better to drive than a petrol or diesel van-based vehicle. All the lack of refinement of a diesel van powertrain has gone, and you’re left with the smooth and quiet response from the torque of an electric motor. With the battery in the floor, there’s less body roll around corners, and it has a comfortable ride.
The driving position is still evidently van-like, but overall the e-Berlingo is fine to drive – and there’s even a bit of fun thrown in. The steering lock is excellent, even if the movement of the steering wheel isn’t that smooth.
You get three drive modes – Power, Comfort or Eco. There’s the standard-issue Stellantis gear selector, which is a bit small and fiddly, especially for a van, but it does offer you a ‘B’ setting for increased brake regeneration.
The e-Berlingo is front-wheel drive. Most front-wheel drive EVs are prone to wheelspin in the wet due to all the torque going through the front wheels. Thanks to its van origins, the e-Berlingo has even less grip from the front tyres than a car, especially in cold and wet winter conditions.
There’s a central touchscreen, and the good news is that there are separate heating and ventilation controls, and six shortcut buttons around the screen. The bad news is that the shortcut buttons feature thin symbols in grey that are very hard to see in poor light conditions.
The e-Berlingo has a head-up display, which features a plastic screen rather than having information projected directly onto the windscreen.
There’s one USB socket on the dashboard, which is in a slightly unusual position at the bottom right-hand corner of the touchscreen.
The heating of the e-Berlingo didn’t feel effective, which meant that the lack of heated seats and heated steering wheel was even worse when testing the vehicle in winter, and the lack of these features would certainly have impacted the driving range as the vehicle was on test in winter.
The e-Berlingo has a (braked) towing rating of 750 kg.
The official WLTP electric driving range of the Citroen e-Berlingo is 174 miles. As mentioned above, no doubt due in part to there being no heated seats or heated steering wheel, the real-world range in winter was averaging 144 miles.
The e-Berlingo has an onboard 7.4 kW AC charger, which should provide a full charge in around 7 hours 15 minutes. An optional 11kW on-board charger is also available, reducing the charging time to 4 hours 45 minutes from a workplace charger served by a three-phase electricity supply.
It can also rapid charge at up to 100 kW DC, when a 10%-80% charge should take around 30 minutes.
One thing to avoid doing is opening the sliding rear passenger door when the vehicle is plugged in as you would smash the door into the charging port.
The Citroen e-Berlingo M costs from £29,495. There’s the ‘M’ model, as tested, with five seats, and also the longer ‘XL’ version, with seven seats.
There are two trim levels: ‘Feel’ (offered in ‘M‘ and ‘XL’ lengths, and ‘Flair XTR’ (offered only in the ‘M’ length).
Benefit in Kind (BIK) company car tax liability (2021/22) is 1%, and the electric version will be cheaper to run than an equivalent petrol or diesel vehicle.
The e-Berlingo is exempt from London Congestion and Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) charges.
The Citroen e-Berlingo is to be welcomed because it offers another choice for people wanting an electric vehicle, and it’s one of the more affordable EVs. It can seat five or seven, and it offers lots of luggage space, so it’s practical. Because it’s electric, it’s much better to drive than an equivalent petrol or diesel vehicle. The Citroen e-Berlingo is awarded a Green Car Guide rating of 8 out of 10.