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This is where the new Citroën Berlingo’s family hatchback roots should really pay off. And in many respects they do. The Berlingo certainly rides with a smoothness and maturity down a bumpy road. Long undulations are smothered with controlled damping and there’s very little float or heave over crests and dips.

The ride is pretty quiet too, at least on motorways, where the only notable disturbance comes from the wind noise around the wing mirrors and A-pillars. The Berlingo’s refinement is particularly impressive considering the boxy interior is such a potentially echoing acoustic space.

Andrew Frankel Autocar

Andrew Frankel

Senior contributing writer
Long undulations are smothered with controlled damping

Where the ride disappoints slightly, however, is over short-frequency ripples and ridges. There’s none of the loping, air-light gait that characterises hydropneumatically sprung Citroëns. Instead, while the ride is generally well controlled, it occasionally thuds and crashes over potholes or motorway expansion joints.

The news is similarly mixed when it comes to the twisty bits. You wouldn’t expect such a tall vehicle with such a utilitarian remit to actively be fun on a winding road, and so it proves. But the Berlingo is more competent here than you’d expect.

Oddly enough, however, the main reason the Berlingo is not a car to enjoy down a country road has nothing to do with the inevitable limitations of its naturally slightly unwieldy shape. Instead, the thing that lets the Berlingo down here is carried over from its hatchback cousins: the steering.

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As well as the slightly odd angle at which it sits (which, despite both reach and rake adjustment, is hard to eliminate), the electrically assisted steering is too eager to self-centre, with the result that corners, particularly around town, are taken in a series of chunks rather than in one fluid movement. On the test track this wasn’t particularly evident, but in everyday urban driving conditions it was an occasional source of irritation.

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