What were two French delivery vans doing parked side by side at one of Australia’s premier motor racing circuits on a summer’s day with the temperature nudging 30 degrees? Good question.

The pair – new Citroen Berlingos – were at Sydney Motorsports Park (nee Eastern Creek) where the motoring media were given an early Christmas gift of a go against the clock in Long Body manual and semi-automatic variants on a wet witches-hatted circuit representing the back streets of Paris after a summer shower.

To add a touch of seasonal spice the scribes had to swap vans at the same time switching three large packages before completing the course. My time came to nothing, as in the haste to transfer cargo, I failed to close the side door of the second van and deposited one parcel on the ‘street’ in a sharp manoeuvre, resulting in disqualification.

Colleagues found humour in the mishap, to which I retorted: You know me, lads, anything for a laugh.

However, I digress. The two vehicles come from Citroen’s 2016 model range and represent the latest in light commercial vehicles style and specification. Three variants are on offer starting with the Short Body manual, followed by the Long Body manual and the Long Body semi-automatic.

The entry-level model, at $21,990, retains the price of its predecessor, while siblings follow at $26,990 and $30,990 respectively, plus on-road costs.

Upgrades include standard reverse camera and locally developed 7-inch touch-screen with Apple Carplay, MirrorLink (Android), Siri Eyes Free and Bluetooth functionality. Aux and USB inputs are in place across both short and long-body versions.


Safety and convenience have been boosted across the board with Electronic Stability Control, Hill Start Assist, traction control and sliding side doors, left and right.

Styling has been touched up with a revised bumper, while the cargo are now boasts a moulded floor protector. Citroen also has introduced a new, optional look-pack for long-wheelbase Berlingos consisting of LED daytime-running lights, fog lamps with cornering function, colour coded bumpers, wing mirrors and door handles and side strips, plus new 15-inch Airflow wheel covers.

Topping the lot is a new colour across the range, Gris Shark (metallic grey).

Even the most professional of van drivers will welcome the touch-screen and reverse camera pack adding to the rear vision, while smart phone connectivity allows users to link to navigation, phone book and text-to-voice while on the road doing business.

Drivetrains remain unchanged with a 1.6-litre petrol motor powering the short body variants, while long body variants gain a turbo-diesel manual or semi-automatic, the latter adding stop-start engine technology.

Transmissions are either five-speed manual or six-speed semi-automatic, while stopping is sure-footed thanks to disc brakes all round (ventilated up front) with anti-locking technology.


Fuel economy is put by the maker at 8.2 (short body manual), 5.7 (long body manual) and 4.7 (long body semi-automatic) litres per 100 kilometres (combined cycle). Emissions rate at Euro 4 (manual) and Euro 5 (semi-automatic).

It’s unusual for a manufacturer to give performance figures for commercial vehicles but Citroen is the exception with Berlingo acceleration from zero to 100 km/h claimed to be 13.1 and 13.4 seconds for the manuals and 15.7 seconds for the semi-automatic.

The driver is kept well informed of vehicle systems with warnings and a multi-function trip computer clocks mileage and fuel usage. Stereo radio and CD player help to stave off workday boredom. Cruise control has speed limiter.

As well as sliding doors on either flank, access to the van is further enhanced by rear barn doors with 180 degree opening. Space inside is enough to take a full-size Australian pallet.

Payload is set at 850 kg for the short body and 750 kg the long body. Anchor points can be found on the floor and in the roof. Turning circle is a neat 11 metres, very respectable for light commercials of between four and five metres in length.

Standard seating in the carpeted cabin consists of a single front driver / passenger position, while as an option, there’s a modular folding bench seat with a 7.5-litre storage space under the middle seat can be fitted.

The cabin is replete with storage spots including an overhead shelf, drawer under driver’s seat, removable compartment between seats and 4.1-litre glove box behind the steering wheel. Door pockets incorporate bottle holders.

The Berlingo is covered by Citroen’s three-year, 100,000 kilometre warranty and roadside assistance package.


Citroen Berlingo Short Body 1.6-litre turbo-petrol : $21,990 (manual)
Citroen Berlingo Long Body 1.6-litre turbo-petrol : $26,990 (manual)
Citroen Berlingo Long Body 1.6-litre turbo-diesel: $30,990 (semi-automatic)
Note: These prices do not include dealer or government charges. Contact your local Citroen dealer for drive-away prices.

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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