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2009 Citroen Berlingo Arrives - (Australia)

March 18th, 2009
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Few vehicles have had such a significant impact on the market place as the Citroen Berlingo with it changing the face of the commercial vehicle market place in every market in which it has been sold.

Given that Citroen, arguably, invented the whole idea of box van with the Citroen TUB and the car derived van with the Citroen 2CV van, setting the design standard for the two most common van types, it should be no surprise that the original Berlingo was such a benchmark in commercial vehicle design. Yet it revolutionised small van design and has become one of the most copied designs of the last year.

This was achieved by blending together the best elements of the two types of van that Citroen had pioneered many years before, the box van and the car derived van, and eliminating the shortcomings of both to produce a new van type.

Thus the Citroen Berlingo looks as if it is car derived, with a bonnet and a conventional driving position. However, there is no Berlingo car to hamper Citroen’s designers from making the ideal small van – so although bonneted, the driver sits high with easy access, the van section blends into the overall vehicle shape to produce a shape that is as functional as it is homogeneous. The Berlingo eliminated the ‘bubble back’ shape of the conventional car derived van and all its handicaps. From the conventional box van, the Berlingo took a large, useful, easily accessible load space and left behind the box-like looks of the standard shape in the class.

Added to this Citroen threw into the mix a range of functional, useful features and equipment designed for the van driver on the road all day, plenty of storage space, seats that are comfortable and easy to get into and out of all day. Finally, there was one extra feature that only Citroen could offer – it was built on the platform of one of the most successful rally cars of all time, the Citroen Xsara Coupe, making the Berlingo fleet of foot and a real driver’s machine.

This mix has made the Citroen Berlingo one of the most successful commercial vehicles of all time, with more than three million Berlingos and its versions around the world working hard and delivering the goods on time, economically and with safety, as well as presenting a stylish and chic image for the companies and businesses that it represents.

Now, the new Citroen Berlingo has arrived in Australia.

With such a heritage on which to build, Citroen knew it had to have a clean sheet design that could inherit all the benefits of the original Berlingo, add new skills and abilities and bring the Citroen Berlingo well and truly into the 21st Century in all areas.

Thus the new Berlingo is a fresh clean design, with its bonneted good looks and box van carrying ability. But so much is also new. Once again the new Berlingo sits on a world-beating platform, in this case the Citroen C4 Picasso platform, which is derived from the underpinnings of the World Rally Championship dominating Citroen C4 WRC car.

By moving to the bigger platform from the C4 Picasso, the new Berlingo offers significantly more space, up from 3.0 to 3.3 cubic metres, but there is more. The original Berlingo had a optional simple folding seat that provided a table – the new Berlingo has a new seat, both a table and a load space extender, lifting the volume to 3.7 cubic metres. But that wasn’t enough for the Citroen design team – the new Berlingo has a long body version which, combined with folding seat, lifts volume to 4.7 cubic meters.

As well as two bodies, the new Berlingo has two engines from day one – a 1.6 litre 16 valve petrol engine and 1.6 litre Turbo Diesel engine, both with 66 kW. Inside there is veritable plethora of storage spaces, from the huge locker between the seats to the cunning driver’s side glove box behind the instruments and the vast roof mounted tray above the occupants heads and even a hook to hang the takeaway on to stop it spilling. In all there is a remarkable 61 litres of storage space in the cab area!

To meet business demands for greater efficiency, better performance and lower running costs, Citroën has developed the new Berlingo to deliver more.  It has greater carrying capacity, thanks to its larger load compartment and higher payload capability, it has even higher standards of driver/passenger safety and comfort and delivers optimum performance and economy with low running costs.

“The original Berlingo pioneered what’s now known as the high-cube van sector,” says Miles Williams, General Manager of Citroen Australia. “The fantastic new Berlingo retains all the successful key ingredients of its predecessor, which were valued by discerning van customers and builds upon these to redefine the benchmark in this all-important sector.  Citroën has worked closely with business operators around the world to ensure that the new Berlingo provides the optimum combination of load carrying efficiency, driver/passenger comfort and safety, performance and economy.”

Prices for the new Citroen Berlingo start at a recommended retail price of $22,990 for the petrol short body and range up to an RRP of $26,490 for the Turbo Diesel long body version. Pending the arrival of the Citroen Nemo, Citroen’s new small van, the original Berlingo – now wearing the badge of honour “Berlingo First” – will continue to be available at remarkable value for money price of $17,990 recommended retail price.

New Berlingo – bigger and better load carrying efficiency
Two versions (L1 and L2) of the new Berlingo will be available in from launch.  Both models share a common 2728mm wheelbase.  The larger L2 version of the Berlingo has a 248mm longer rear overhang.  Compared with the original Berlingo, the L1 model is 240mm longer at 4380mm overall length and 80mm wider, with a wheelbase that is 350mm longer. 

These increased overall dimensions result in the new Berlingo L1 having a load compartment volume of 3.3 cu.m, while the L2 model has a 3.7 cu.m capacity load compartment (the original Berlingo had a load compartment volume of 3.0 cu.m).  Payloads have also increased from the 800 kg of the original Berlingo.  The new Berlingo L1 is available with an 850 kg payload capacity, while the L2 version has a 750 kg payload.

Two ISO pallets can be carried in either version of the new Berlingo van, thanks to a load compartment length of 1800mm for the L1 or 2050mm for the L2.  Width between wheelarches is an impressive 1229mm while the maximum width of the load compartment at 1620mm is outstanding in this category.

As standard, new Berlingo has glazed twin hinged rear doors with a heated rear window and wiper.  The twin rear doors are an asymmetric design, split 60/40.  Both open out to 177 degrees, to enable the new Berlingo to back right up to a loading bay. 

In its two-seater format the passenger seat back folds flat onto the seat squab to provide a load carrying platform for longer lengths.  At the rear of the vehicle the load sill height of the new Berlingo ranges from 584 mm for the L1 to 612 mm for the L2. 

Internally new Berlingo’s load compartment is fully panelled to the waist rail to prevent damage and a ladder frame bulkhead protects the driver. 

New Berlingo – modern, but practical styling
The new Berlingo combines style and practicality – but the stylish exterior has not compromised its practicality in a demanding working environment.  Thus, new Berlingo’s contemporary looks include a large glass area for excellent visibility and the large cabin doors ensure ease of access. 

The overall shape of new Berlingo has also been designed to achieve good aerodynamic characteristics with resultant low noise levels at cruise speed.  Other practical features of the design include robust bumpers and generous side impact protection – with rear lights and headlights positioned to avoid minor impact damage. 

New Berlingo – designed for crew safety and comfort
New Berlingo, like its predecessor, majors on comfort, safety and convenience, with a working environment which combines both style and practicality.  Thus, new Berlingo has a light and airy cabin which makes full use of stylish but hard wearing materials, including fabric-lined door trims and in-cab carpeted flooring.  The option of a removable, washable PVC load compartment mat is also available.

Considerable effort has been made within the new Berlingo to provide the driver with a proper office on wheels.  In two seater format the passenger seat can be folded down to give a flat writing surface, complete with two cup holders. 

New Berlingos fitted with the optional Extenso® cabin option also provide a desk function, as the central seat folds flat to form a writing surface, complete with a document retaining strap.  In addition the Extenso® centre seat houses a 7.6 litre secure storage bin to conceal valuables from passers-by. 

Storage space is an area where new Berlingo’s cabin excels.  A combination of a passenger side glove box, a glove box behind the steering wheel, over-windscreen storage, large door pockets, a central console and additional driver’s seat storage provide a total in-cab storage space of up to 61 litres. 

The dashboard of the new Berlingo has been designed to provide a premium quality feel and appearance – and all controls, including the dashboard mounted gear lever, are within easy reach.  In addition all new Berlingo models incorporate an airbag as standard and the steering wheel is adjustable for height and reach. Both driver and passenger(s) are provided with comfortable, hard wearing/easy clean cloth faced seats. In addition, the driver’s seat has the benefit of height adjustment and an arm rest.

The benefits of new Berlingo’s aerodynamic design and resulting low wind noise levels are complemented by extensive internal noise reduction measures.  Low cabin noise levels are achieved with effective acoustic encapsulation of the engine and the under-floor body pan is specially coated to reduce road noise and protect the vehicle body structure from stone chipping.  In addition, the new Berlingo interior also boasts a wide range of noise-absorbent acoustic materials applied to dash, roof and other interior surfaces. 

Standard equipment on all Berlingos includes a trip computer, cruise control, AirCon, remote central locking, electric front windows, electrically adjustable door mirrors a heat reflecting windscreen and an external temperature sensor.  Standard audio equipment includes an MP3 compatible stereo radio/CD player on all models. 

A wide range of competitively priced options is available for the new Berlingo including a Bluetooth hands-free phone kit, rear parking sensors, a visibility pack which includes automatic rain sensitive wipers and automatic actuation of headlights.  Passenger, side and lateral airbags are also optionally available, as are tyre pressure sensors, ESP and ASR.

New Berlingo – the optimum combination of ride and handling
Many operational benefits of the new Berlingo stem from its state-of-the-art platform.  This includes a sophisticated suspension package to provide the new Berlingo with the highest standards of ride and handling and the associated safety and cost benefits of ultra-modern running gear. 

Front suspension is by means of MacPherson-type struts, with lower wishbones and an anti-roll bar.  At the rear new Berlingo’s rubber mounted suspension package is made up of a twisting transverse beam, with an anti-roll bar.  To maximise internal load space between wheel arches the rear shock absorbers are inclined.

All new Berlingo models have 283mm ventilated front discs and rear 269mm disc brakes with ABS fitted as standard.  Standard wheels are 15-inch units with 195/65 Michelin tyres. 

New Berlingo – efficient power choice
New Berlingo is available with a choice of two frugal engines – a new 1.6i petrol engine and a 1.6 HDi turbo diesel.  All engines have five speed gear boxes.  The 66 kW 1.6i 16V petrol engine is a new unit with good low-speed torque characteristics (132 Nm @ 2,500 rpm) and develops its peak power of 66 kW at 5,500 rpm.  The proven 1.6 HDi engine is offered in the 66 kW formats with an impressive peak torque rating of 215 Nm at 1,750 rpm. 

The 1.6 HDi engine fitted to the new Berlingo may be operated on up to 30 per cent bio diesel without any technical modification or loss of warranty.  In addition to their high levels of fuel efficiency, all power units offered in the new Berlingo have long service intervals. .  Other maintenance reducing features of new Berlingo include a new, extended life cam belt for the 1.6 HDi engine, which only requires changing every 200,000 km or 10 years.

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