Berlingo (i)

The C15, adding a van box to the front half of the Visa to finally kill off the 2cv-derived vans in 1984, was starting to show its age by the mid '90s. When the Berlingo was revealed in 1996, it broke with tradition in the small van market, in that it was designed as a van rather than a car-with-a-box. The Peugeot-badged version, the Partner, appeared around a year later. The Berlingo failed to kill off the C15, though, which remained in the range as the "C15 Champ" at a bargain price until 2005 - nearly 30 years after the Visa had been launched, and almost 20 after the Visa was discontinued.

Berlingo iThe Berlingo's launch featured a trio of concept cars based on the van. One of those, the Grand Large, appeared in 1998 as the Berlingo Multispace. However, the utility of the early Multispace was severely handicapped by not having side doors - sliding doors on each side appeared in 2000, on both car and van.

Mechanically, the Berlingo was from the same parts bin as every other Citroen & Peugeot of the era, even using the ZX's platform, and it soon found itself with a reputation for solidity and the ability to withstand a high degree of abuse - ideal for families looking for an inexpensive and robust people-carrier with plenty of boot space and less bothered about frills.

A plug-in electric version was available for general sale - and the van had been designed from the ground-up to accept modular power units. As well as conventional petrol/diesel, the electric Berlingo was also joined by a compressed natural gas (CNG) version based upon the 1.4 petrol engine.

A mid-life facelift in 2002 changed the appearance significantly, adopting a slightly "startled" look and multiplexed electronics. Clever gadgets, such as the "Modutop" roof storage, also appeared through the life.

As the C15 before it, the 2008 launch of a new, larger Berlingo (and the smaller Nemo) failed to immediately kill the original Berlingo. The Multispace might have been discontinued in the UK in 2009, but the van continues as the "Berlingo First", whilst both van and people carrier continue in other markets.

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