Car Test   R0289
  See also R0128 
December 2002
  Citroen Berlingo Multispace
Printer Friendly Page Featured model: 2.0HDi Forte
Multispaceís success has taken even Citroen by surprise. As we write, one monthís sales have exceeded the whole first yearís figures.
   But perhaps even the image-conscious British can see Gallic good-sense when itís staring them in the face. Also, this Berlingo van-based domestic holdall has become even more versatile and better equipped since its inception, yet its price has come down significantly.
   The latest bevy of changes is easily dismissed as a minor facelift, with styling of the front end conferring a more Ďbutchí image. But beneath that taller bonnet, existing engines have been repositioned, wider, lower-profile tyres adopted on higher-powered versions and more brake and crash-safety is designed in, as well (although the model has yet to be NCAP assessed).
   Inside, fittings and furnishings remain little changed, but thereís a revised facia with a useful central information display that exploits the modelís multiplex wiring. It can tell you (in words) that a door is open, if something is amiss under bonnet, and even that the remote handset battery is getting low. Itís a pity that the main dials are hard to decipher in poor daylight, however.
   Nearside rear legroom is better for the deletion of the oddments box under the front seat. The seats have upgraded upholstery, with front hand wheel rake adjusters, but thereís still no cushion height/tilt. The stalks now include a radio satellite control with a cassette player retained; reception is good. Some size 12ís may find accelerator foot room cramped, but the under-facia trim does respond to adjustment - thereís no room for big feet beside the clutch, however.
   Having tried all the others previously, we were majoring on the latest direct-injection diesel this time. However, we drove the most recent 1.6 and 1.4 petrol versions, as well. Thereís a minor but discernible shift towards optimising steering response and cornering ability in these revisions, at slight cost to the modelís ride absorbency. The latest 1.6 definitely pulls more smoothly from low revs, however.
   This more powerful diesel provoked both delight and disappointment. For a start, its extra weight makes the best of the revised suspension, giving an added measure of grip in both cornering and braking, with little firming up over the bumps and good steering feel. Itís also better installed than most - after initial noisiness from a cold start, itís very subdued and vibe-free, with a lovely loping 2500rpm at the legal limit. Itís a ply, therefore, that both cars we drove had engine surge when trickling along below 1500rpm - especially apparent in the warm-up phase. Most disappointing, however, were our acceleration and fuel consumption test results - better than the older dieselís, but we were expecting more.
  considering size, price and rivals
Overtaking Ability
Fuel Economy
Security, theft of
theft from
  • more pleasant-to-grasp gear lever
  • clever information centre on facia top
  • displays well-nigh accurate
  • self-locking on the move (switchable)
  • satellite stalk for radio/cassette
  • clutch heavier than petrol versions'
  • displays indecipherable in poor daylight
  • fixed cushion gives too much thigh support for some
  • speed-sensitive intermittent wipe works too frequently
  • all-painted bumpers/door strips more easily scuffed
The latest revisions have made the Multispace the ideal choice for those who would like an MPV, but donít like the premium prices. Indeed, with its independent rear suspension and optional features, such as Modutop or our test carís electric full-length sunroof, this Citroenís profile is the only clue to its commercial-van origins - it certainly doesnít drive like one. Think long and hard before opting for this diesel, rather than the 1.6 16v petrol version. Itís only 5mpg more economical and slower. With a £800 price premium, only those with a high annual mileage are likely to feel the benefit.

engine 1997cc, 4-cylinder, direct-injection turbo-diesel; 90bhp at 4000rpm, 151 lb ft at 1900rpm; belt-driven single overhead camshaft, 8 valves   transmission 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive; 28.2mph/1000rpm in 5th, 22.7 in 4th
suspension front: independent damper/struts, integral coil springs
rear: independent trailing arms, torsion bars
  steering hydraulic power assistance; 3.2 turns lock-to-lock; 11.3m diameter turning circles between kerbs (18.0m for one turn of the wheel)
brakes ventilated discs front, drums rear, with ABS optional extra (rear discs on ABS versions)   wheels/tyres 5.5in steel with 185/65R15 tyres (optional alloy wheels of same size on test car); full-size (steel) spare

body 5-door budget-priced MPV-style estate car   trim levels Forte
engines 4 cylinder/1.4 litre/75bhp, 4/1.6/110
diesel: 4/1.9idi/70, 4/2.0di/90
  drive front-wheel drive, 5-speed manual (no automatic available)

HOW THE MULTISPACE 2.0HDI COMPARES engine (cyl/cc/bhp) revs at 70mph (rpm) 30-70 through gears (sec) 30-70mph in 4th/5th gears (sec) fuel (mpg/CO2) brakes from 50mph (kg/m) maximum legroom - front (cm) typical leg/kneeroom - rear (cm) steering turns/circle (m) overall length (cm)
Citroen Multispace 2.0HDi 4/1997/90 2480 16.4 22.3/32.1 42.5/152 20/28 107 102/77 3.2/11.3 414
Fiat Doblo 1.9 JTD 4/1910/100 2700 13.5 19.0/25.9 43/168 18/28.5 107 112/76 2.2/10.8 416
Hyundai Matrix 1.6 4/1599/102 3500 13.1 21.5/32.5 33/191 13/27.5 107 105/80 3.2/10.6 403
Peugeot 307SW 2.0HDi 4/1997/110 2370 12.8 18.1/25.6 45/143 20/26 106 94/69 2.9/11.0 442
Toyota Corolla 2.0TD4 Verso 4/1796/89 2700 14.4 16.9/25.2 46/164 14/26 107 100/75 3.2/10.6 424
Citroen Xsara 2.0HDi Est 4/1997/110 2450 10.7 13.7/19.0 51/141 17/26 109 97/72 3.3/10.8 437
  petrol version

Few adjustments, but very good driving seat with excellent vision and easily judged extremities. Dials accurate, but hard to read by day. Better gearshift, but heavier clutch than 1.6. Some unpleasant engine surging at low, steady speed spoils town manners.
Revised (speed-sensitive) steering and 65-Series radials enhance grip and handling - though it was pleasing before. Being the only van-based MPV with independent rear suspension really pays off - in ride comfort, too. Indifferent turning circle.
A shade more abrupt on these lower-profile tyres, but really nothing to complain about. Good heat distribution, but engine's thermal efficiency means it takes time to warm up. Very quiet after warm-up completed and no low-speed vibes, either - just that surging.

Although acceleration (and mpg) is improved over older 1.9D, both are disappointingly short of that in a Picasso or Xsara 2.0HDi. Improved gearchange feel is welcome and engine pulls from low speed with better refinement than in other Peugeot/Citroens.
  acceleration in seconds through gears* 4th gear 5th gear
  20-40mph 4.5 11.6 19.3
  30-50mph 5.8 9.6 15.4
  40-60mph 7.9 10.2 14.1
  50-70mph 10.6 12.7 16.7
  30-70mph 16.4 22.3 32.1
  max speed in each gear (* using 4300rpm for best acceleration)
     gear      1st*      2nd*      3rd*      4th      5th
     speed (mph)      23      43      70      93.5      94 (3325rpm)

Never accept 'official' mpg figures without question! Our well run-in test car got nowhere near brochure claims and makes the 1.6 petrol version a viable alternative for private buyers.
  type of use (air conditioning off) AA test (mpg) 
    urban (17mph average/heavy traffic) 27.5
    suburban (27mph average/6.4 miles from cold start) 36
    motorway (70mph cruising) 38.5
    cross-country (brisk driving/20 miles from cold start) 43
    rural (gentle driving/20 miles from cold start) 52.5
    overall mpg 42.5
    realistic tank capacity/range 51/475
    official mpg (urban/extra urban/combined) 39.2/57.6/49.6
    CO2 emissions 152g/km
    car tax band C

No NCAP test yet, but clearly, the revised frontal treatment and engine mounts, plus side airbag availability, will have been configured to enhance impact performance. Improved brakes are well judged for servo-assistance, but there's some fade.
  from 50mph (without ABS option)
This model has not yet been
tested by EURO NCAP
pedal load     stopping distance
unhurried 10kg     39m
sudden 20kg     28m best stop
+ 4kg 24kg     30.5m wheels skidding
fade resistance/consistency    
Euro NCAP = European New Car Assessment Programme: independent crash safety tests evaluating protection for occupants and pedestrians in an offset frontal collision, side impacts and pedestrian strike conditions
click here for more NCAP details/test results etc.

Modutop or an enormous electric sunroof - the choice is yours for £450 extra. Massive headroom, really comfortable non-removable back seats for three and sliding rear doors for tight exits. Good oddments spots and a vast load platform behind. Equally large tailgate acts as a perfect rain-cover.
  in centimetres (5-door high-roof estate)
  length 414
  width - including mirrors 197
    - mirrors folded 178
  height (no roof bars) 184
  load sill height (inside/outside) 0/58
  turns lock-to-lock 3.2
  turning circle (metres) 11.3
  easy to park/garage?
  front - legroom 89-107
    - headroom 110~
  rear - typical legroom 102
    - typical kneeroom 78
    - headroom 108~
    - hiproom 147
  load area(all seats in use)
  load space
(litres/cu ft)
  load length 77-132+
  load length to facia no
  load width 119-145
  load height (to shelf/top of aperture) 53 113
+ rear seat folded  ~ with sunroof option

Automatic self-locking and remote central locking now come as standard, but no deadlocks or alarm on offer. It's a very convenient set of security features, nevertheless. Big van mirrors with electric adjuster for the nearside is a neat touch.
central locking  
remote control  
remote window closing  
alarm (perimeter + interior)   
self-locking (static + drive-off)   
two-stage unlocking   
attack-resistant glass   
AA load area security rating
=standard    =option    =not available
NCSR - "theft of"
NCSR - "theft from"
NCSR = New Car Security Ratings: a 1 to 5 star system which rates anti-theft protection, both of the car itself and the theft of valuables from within the car
Visit for more details
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