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In-depth reviews

Citroen e-Berlingo review

The Citroen e-Berlingo is a spacious, practical electric family car, but doesn’t do much to distinguish its cabin from the van it’s based on

Overall rating

3.5 out of 5

Pros

  • Very practical
  • Great to drive in town
  • Spacious

Cons

  • Range
  • Interior quality
  • Enormous tailgate
Car typeRangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge time
Electric177 miles7hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)30mins (0-80%, 100kW)

Citroen e-Berlingo verdict

The Citroen e-Berlingo is essentially a tarted-up electric van that’s available with up to seven seats. While that may seem like reason to disregard it, there are fewer drawbacks to the Citroen’s van-based origins than you might expect. Alongside its Peugeot and Vauxhall relatives, the Citroen is the cheapest electric seven-seater on the market by some margin, plus its boxy proportions give owners more room than they could ever know what to do with. It’s pretty smooth and easy to drive, too – although some may be put off by the e-Berlingo’s short range and plasticky cabin. Regardless, whether you’re a taxi driver or family buyer, Citroen’s ‘van with windows’ is a solid left-field alternative to the onslaught of electric SUVs.

Details, specs and alternatives

While the majority of electric family cars are either hatchbacks and SUVs, zero-emissions MPVs like the Citroen e-Berlingo are ideal for those looking for something sensible, relatively affordable and with more practicality to offer than you know what to do with. Not to mention, the van-derived e-Berlingo is one of a handful of seven-seat electric cars available today.

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The e-Berlingo is the French brand’s sister model to the Peugeot e-Rifter and Vauxhall Combo Life Electric. Those looking for an electric seven-seater may also be interested in the upcoming Volkswagen ID. Buzz LWB and Kia EV9 – although both are likely to be much more expensive than the Citroen. 

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Like some other van-based MPVs – such as the Mercedes e-Vito Tourer, and the larger Citroen e-SpaceTourer – the Citroen e-Berlingo is available in two sizes: M and XL. The 4.4-metre-long base ‘M’ model gets five seats, while the ‘XL’ gets an extra-long wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels) to allow seating for seven. 

No matter which bodystyle you go for, all Citroen e-Berlingo models get a 134bhp electric motor on the front axle, as well as a 50kWh battery pack – both taken from Citroen’s own e-C4 family car, as well as the top-selling Vauxhall Corsa Electric. According to Citroen this is just about enough to get the e-Berlingo from 0-62mph in 11.5 seconds and provide a range of up to 177 miles on a charge.

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So there’s one powertrain and two bodystyles, but also two trim levels to choose from: Feel and Flair XTR. Entry-level Feel models get 16-inch steel wheels with covers, LED daytime running lights, automatic headlights, powered door mirrors, rear parking sensors and automatic wipers. Inside there's cloth upholstery, a folding front passenger seat, a 60:30 folding second-row bench and tray tables on the back of the front seats. On the technology front there's an eight-inch touchscreen, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

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Upgrading to XTR costs roughly £1,800 and adds 17-inch alloy wheels, black roof bars and door mirrors, orange fog light surrounds and orange flourishes elsewhere. Inside, it has a 10-inch fully digital driver's display and navigation with real-time traffic updates and connected services, along with a head-up display and a 180-degree colour reversing camera. We think the latter addition makes the upgrade worth it as it makes parking much less precarious.

Range, battery size & charging

Model

Range

Wallbox charge time

Rapid charge

M

177 miles

7hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)

30mins (10-80%, 100kW)

XL

165 miles

7hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)

30mins (10-80%, 100kW)

As mentioned, the Citroen e-Berlingo gets the same 50kWh battery as the e-C4 hatchback; in that car, this provides a decent range of up to 219 miles. However, due to the e-Berlingo being much larger and having the same aerodynamic qualities of a garden shed, range is unfortunately reduced to a maximum of 177 miles – and just 168 miles on XL models.

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Thankfully, unlike some electric cars, the Citroen e-Berlingo typically manages to get very close to its claimed figure; during our long-term test of the car, we easily managed to squeeze 165 miles out of the battery of our ‘M XTR’ loaner. We were even able to get even closer to the headline 177-mile figure whilst driving round town, though, in the scheme of things, a sub-200-mile range isn’t all that impressive. Also, expect this figure to drop if you have the boot loaded with furniture, suitcases or other heavy items.

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As you can expect, this could be a deal-breaker for those looking to travel longer distances, although the e-Berlingo does offer 100kW DC rapid charging, which allows for a 10-80% top-up of the battery in just 30 minutes when you’re plugged into a suitable public chargepoint. Charging at home will take much longer, though, with a 7kW home wallbox taking roughly seven-and-a-half hours to charge the e-Berlingo’s battery to full.

Running costs & insurance

Simply put, the Citroen e-Berlingo is the ideal seven-seat electric car for anyone on a tight budget. While a starting price of over £32,000 doesn’t exactly sound like a good deal for what is essentially an electrified van with windows, the Citroen is cheaper than its Peugeot and Vauxhall counterparts, and a whopping £20k less than a Mercedes EQB.

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Not only is the e-Berlingo relatively inexpensive compared to its rivals, other running costs should be low, too; the seven-seat Citroen spans insurance groups 18-20 – reasonable for a complicated electric car – and just like other EVs, it’s exempt from road tax (VED) and the London Congestion Charge until 2025 – not also forgetting ULEZ.

The people that will most benefit from choosing the Citroen e-Berlingo, however, are company car drivers and those that qualify for the Motability scheme. All electric cars fall into the lowest Benefit-in-Kind tax bracket, which means those picking the e-Berlingo as their company car could be paying as little as £119 per year in tax. The e-Berlingo is also one of the very few seven-seater models available on the Motability scheme; it’s available with a reasonable £1,495 advance payment, rising to £2,345 for top XL models.

Performance, motor & drive

0-62mph

Top speed

Driven wheels

Power

11.5s

84mph

Front

134bhp

It’s fair to say the Citroen e-Berlingo won’t be winning any drag races; the M model will do 0-62mph in a leisurely 11.5 seconds which, to be fair, does feel slightly faster than the numbers suggest given the instant torque from the electric motor. Citroen doesn’t even quote a 0-62mph time for the longer XL model, so it’s safe to assume that’s even slower. We recommend switching into Sport mode when carrying people or luggage as this provides the full 134bhp to help get the over-two-tonne MPV moving.

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Thanks to a relatively high driving position, it’s easy to get used to the Citroen e-Berlingo’s size, however, making it a peach to drive around town. The steering is incredibly light, while the Citroen’s big windows make it easy to see where you’re going. While the e-Berlingo doesn’t get Citroen’s Advanced Comfort suspension, it’s still comfy enough and manages to take the edge off most ruts in the road. 

We wouldn’t take the e-Berlingo out for a spirited drive, though, as even in its sportiest setting, there isn’t much weight or feel to the steering, plus the Citroen’s tall shape means it tends to suffer from a lot of body lean in the corners. Still, switch the car into its B mode and this ramps up the regenerative braking, which is easy to modulate and provides almost one-pedal driving.

Interior, dashboard & infotainment

It’s easy to be reminded of the Citroen e-Berlingo’s van-based origins with the sheer amount of cheap, brittle plastics lining the interior which, during our time with the car, tended to break or fall off. The overall design is cheerful enough, though, and there’s a handful of design and tech flourishes that we really like.

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For starters, a padded leatherette strip on the dashboard provides a welcome break from the sea of poor-quality polymers. Five-seater Flair XTR models can also be specified with the optional 'Modutop' roof which incorporates a 92-litre overhead bin, plus a panoramic sunroof to make the cabin feel more bright and airy for occupants.

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All versions of the Citroen e-Berlingo come standard with an eight-inch touchscreen. This comes pre-loaded with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, with the option of built-in sat nav. We found the Citroen’s sat-nav system to be very good and clear to read, while the system overall is simple to use – if a bit lacking in features or flashy graphics. Entry-level models have a conventional set of dials, while XTR versions feature the same 10-inch digital driver’s display as the Peugeot e-Rifter – this comes as standard on that car – as well as a head-up display.

Boot space, seating & practicality

Model

Length

Width

Height

Boot space (seats up/down)

M

4,403mm

2,107mm (incl. mirrors)

1,849mm

755/3,000 litres

XL

4,753mm

2,107mm (incl. mirrors)

1,849mm

209/1,050/3,500 litres

If we haven’t stressed it enough, the Citroen e-Berlingo is essentially a van, which means it’s incredibly practical. The tall roofline ensures taller passengers will be comfortable in any position, helped by the fact the second row features three full-size seats, rather than a traditional bench.

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Open the Citroen’s rather unwieldy tailgate and you’re greeted with 775 litres of boot space in M models, which you can expand up to 3,000 litres with them folded down. XL models meanwhile have a mammoth luggage capacity of 3,500 litres with both rows of seats folded, 1,050 litres with five seats in place or 209 litres if you leave all seven seats up. You can also pop open just the glass on the bootlid to slot in smaller items, which is handy if you’re in a rush or a tight parking space.

Reliability & safety rating

The Citroen e-Berlingo is a bit of a niche product, so it’s hard to get any concrete reliability data on it. What we can say, however, is that the Peugeot e-208 – which shares its powertrain with the e-Berlingo – was the 10th-best electric car to own in our 2023 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. Owners reported the e-208 was pretty reliable and cheap to run, while Citroen just missed out on a top-10 finish in our list of the best car manufacturers according to real owners.

Euro NCAP put the Citroen Berlingo through safety testing in 2018, where the van-based MPV was awarded a four-star rating. All e-Berlingo models come with a raft of safety kit which includes autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane-keep assist, automatic high beams, traffic sign recognition with an intelligent speed limiter, adaptive cruise control and a driver fatigue monitor. Grip and hill-descent assistance and blind-spot monitoring are also offered as options.

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Hello there, I’m Tom Jervis and I have the pleasure of being the Content Editor here at DrivingElectric. Before joining the team in 2023, I spent my time reviewing cars and offering car buying tips and advice on DrivingElectric’s sister site, Carbuyer. I also continue to occasionally contribute to the AutoExpress magazine – another of DrivingElectric’s partner brands. In a past life, I worked for the BBC as a journalist and broadcast assistant for regional services in the east of England – constantly trying to find stories that related to cars!

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