The Citroen Berlingo’s Come a Long Way Since Modern Top Gear’s First Episode


Two decades ago, a fat and balding middle-aged Englishman man in ill-fitting trousers reviewed a Citroën Berlingo Multispace van, for the very first segment in his pilot episode of BBCs most iconic motoring program. In 2022, that man in the universal patron-saint of petrolheads and the Berlingo is the UK’s number one selling compact van. The news came in on January 6th that the figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders declared the Berlingo topped all others in its segment last year, accounting for over 12,000 examples registered on British roads over the last 12 months. It provides one heck of a send-off for the moniker as it also released the all-electric e-Berlingo. A peppy EV with a range of 171 petroleum-free miles (275 km) out of a single charge of its lithium-ion batteries. With recharge times as low as 30 minutes from 0 to 80%, it’s no F1 pit-stop time. The last 20% of a battery charge always takes longer than the first 20%. That’s how electric cars are. But it is a framework that European small business owners could easily adapt to. With fuel prices rising past $4.00 a gallon in the states and the equivalent of $5.79 in parts of the UK, it’s a sacrifice worth making. Another quirk that’s made the Berlingo a success is its many layouts, trim, and carrying capacity choices. Both the electric and petrol Berlingo’s are offered in sizes in sizes’ M’ and ‘XL,’ with crew and cargo configurations for each to help cater to the needs of businesses of any size. Catering to load volumes of varying shapes and sizes is the key to success in the van market. It’s what made classics like the Ford Transit Connect in Europe and Chevy Astro in the States long-staying competitors in the market. So too is the Berlingo blessed with these up-sides. An agile turning circle of 10.8m (35.4 ft) in most models is also pretty nice to boot. Anyone who’s driven a cargo van for any length of time will know that’s a godsend. A max load capacity of 1,000 kilos (2,204 lbs) is also sure to put a smile on a business owner’s face. Twenty years after Jeremy Clarkson showcased the Citroën Berlingo line of vans on Top Gear’s most iconic format’s first episode, the two sit side by side at the top of their class.