For a car that puts out just 99bhp and tips Mira’s scales at 1580kg, the Citroen Berlingo 1.6 HDI actually acquits itself reasonably well. It hits 60mph from rest in 14.7sec and takes 16.7sec to accelerate from 30 to 70mph through the gears.
That sounds pretty slow, but compare it to a C4 Picasso 1.6 HDi, which performs the same tests in 13.4sec and 13.7sec respectively, and it isn’t so bad. It even compares reasonably with superminis; we figured a petrol-powered 1.4-litre Vauxhall Corsa at 12.0sec and 12.2sec over the same increments. So it's not quick, but it will at least keep up with the flow of traffic, and the healthy 159lb ft of torque means it can do so without feeling too strained.
The more powerful 118bhp diesel motor is undoubtedly the better choice of powerplant, however, feeling marginally more relaxed and refined on the road. It actually posts slightly better claimed fuel consumption figures, too. So it’s a shame it’s only available in the top-of-the-range (and expensive) Flair trim level.
Unless you’re really motoring on a strict budget, the entry-level petrol and diesels are best avoided; they feel weak and lack the refinement of the more powerful diesels, reminding you a little too much of the commercial vehicle that lies within.