Fleet News

Citroen Berlingo Multispace

Citroen

Review

##citmul.jpg --Right##CITROEN has slashed the price of its van-derived car, the Multispace, improved the engine line-up, revamped the interior and exterior styling and added more specification. The changes come as the vehicle goes on sale in dealerships following a trial launch last year when just 1,000 models were available, with a 1.8i engine, fixed specification and just two colour choices. They all sold within about five months.

Now, the general launch sees the price of the 1.8i cut from last year's £11,880 to £11,180 on the road. Two new engine variants from the existing Citroen stable also join the range - the 75bhp 1.4-litre petrol and 69bhp 1.9-litre naturally-aspirated diesel. Citroen has cut the standard specification but has kept all the original features as options and added a number of others, including ABS, passenger airbag, air conditioning and split-fold rear seat - which were previously unavailable.

Other options on the car include the electrically-operated sunroof which stretches the whole length of the vehicle (£350) and the similarly priced Comfort Pack, which comprises electric front windows, remote central locking, heated twin door mirrors and electrically-operated passenger door mirror. Standard specification includes power steering, driver's airbag, front seatbelt pretensioners, engine immobiliser, metallic paint, three rear head restraints and stereo radio cassette. There are four new metallic colours - silver, gold, red and dark green.

Citroen now hopes the Multispace will repeat in the UK just some of its sales success in the rest of Europe where it last year sold more than 70,000 units. Estimates for the UK are far more conservative - between 5,000 and 10,000 - and the manufacturer says the small fleet buyer has a big part to play in this success. Citroen is targeting the user who 'would buy a second-hand car-derived van for work, and a second-hand family car for personal use'. It says the Multispace provides a low-cost new 'car' option for the smaller fleet, combining van versatility with car comfort.

I drove all three of the engine variants, with varying levels of specification and, while the vehicle does live up to its promises of a massive loading space and car-like driving and handling, I felt myself desperately searching for a pigeon hole to put the vehicle in, and quite simply there isn't one. Even the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders struggled and classes the vehicle as an estate car, but that just doesn't seem right. If anything, it's more of an MPV.

It's handling is still very much like a van and the look from the outside continues to be a 'Berlingo with windows' despite the bright colours. Inside, it has a fun feeling: the fabric trim is two-tone matching the paint colour and the console, dashboard dials and gearstick also match the bodywork colour, hiding its van origins. Then, of course, there is the sunroof which, when open, transforms everything and there are plenty of storage compartments, pockets and nets - 15 in all, in fact.

As we have already said, Citroen expects the Multispace to do well with smaller operators. A spokesman said: 'It has many of the benefits of the Berlingo, with multi-point lashing points, a large loading area with a volume of 664 litres with the seats up and parcel shelf in, 1,400 litres with the seats up and parcel shelf removed and 2,800 litres with the seats down - better than any car estate on the market.'

The Multispace joins its commercial brother, the Berlingo van, which is currently Citroen's flagship commercial model, this year clinching the Fleet News Award for best small van and which last year accounted for more than 7,000 units - well in excess of half of all Citroen's van sales.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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