Berlingo camper: car camping in Citroen Berlingo or Peugeot Partner review

Car camping - car reviews | Best cars for car camping

This is the definitive Citroen Berlingo & Peugeot Partner car camping review. Berlingo camper & Peugeot Partner information, dimensions and gallery. Continue reading if you want to know:

  • Berlingo’s / Partner’s size & measurements for car camping
  • Its comfort & driving rating
  • How does the Berlingo / Partner compare to other car camping / microcamper cars – our rating & overall cars table
  • What types of Berlingos / Partners are there + when to get a van and when an MPV?
  • Pros & cons
  • Storage options
  • Berlingo microcamper conversion ideas gallery

“The Citroën Berlingo and Peugeot Partner/Rifter are almost identical panel vans and leisure activity vehicles produced by PSA Peugeot Citroën since 1996”

Wikipedia

That’s why I’m going to review them both as 1 car in this review. There are differences, but not big enough to warrant a separate review when it comes down to converting one or the other to a camper.

There are several versions of these cars:

Citroen Berlingo

  • Berlingo van (2 seat version, box at the back)
  • Berlingo Multispace – standard (shorter) – 5 or 7 seats
  • Berlingo Multispace – Long (XL) – 7 seats

Peugeot Partner

  • Peugeot Partner Van (2 seat version, box at the back)
  • Peugeot Partner (5 seats, up to 2008)
  • Peugeot Partner Teepee (5 seats, from 2008 to 2018)
  • Peugeot Rifter (5 or 7 seats, from 2018 onwards)
  • Peugeot Rifter Long (7 seats) – much more space, but not yet available as used below 10000 EUR.

The Peugeot Partner Teepee version was later succeeded by Peugeot Rifter (since 2019). The Rifter Long is quite a bit longer, and quite an upgrade – deserving a separate review that I’ll work on soon :).

When to buy a van and when to buy an MPV version?

Get a van version if

  • you only need seats for max of 2 passengers (or you have a second car for standard use)
  • you will make a proper DIY makeover – including taking some parts out, drilling holes, screwing things on etc.
  • if you’re in the UK and you don’t mind having to adhere to lower speed limits for vans (if your vehicle will be category N1 in the logbook – 50mph on single carriageways, 60mph on dual carriageways, 70mph on motorways). More info here.
  • if you’re in the UK and you don’t mind paying higher vehicle tax and insurance
  • you don’t mind higher noise levels (the insulation and upholstery is lower grade)
  • you are looking for a cheaper car
  • you don’t mind lower interior and drive comfort

Get an MPV version if

  • you need a family car (5+ seats) and a camper in one
  • you don’t plan a big DIY makeover, but want to put in (over the seats) a boot jump (camper box) or a similar reversible DIY solution
  • you want to avoid the UK van speed limit restrictions and higher tax
  • you want a bit higher interior and drive comfort (although the MPV versions are still based on the van, so don’t expect a level of comfort as you would from a Sharan)
  • you can’t afford a second car for camping but will use this one for both

Citroen Berlingo camper & Peugeot Partner review summary

Citroen Berlingo & Peugeot Partner/ car camping / microcamper review

Lukas Cech – Nimblecamper.com

Boot size (taller than a standard car, but quite short for an MPV)
Storage – limited in the van version or in the back of all versions, but some have roof shelves
Comfort (interior)
Comfort (driving)
Off-road driving
Consumption
EURO NCAP safety rating (2018 – the 2014 rating was 3/5)
ADAC rating 2.5/5 (lower = better)

Summary

The Berlingo is one of the most often converted cars for camping, Peugeot Partner in closely behind it. Despite both not being the biggest – very likely because of their affordability and availability. The Berlingo (and its similar cousins) is a good car for car camping, but not as good for general driving & comfort during long journeys. It’s not the biggest MPV out there (Sharan or Caddy are bigger) but offers very good mileage and low maintenance costs. It’s also very well priced – there’s plenty of used van or MPV versions out there. It’s best suited to fill the role of your second car that you can rebuild for camping. If you want it as your main car, it’s good if your budget is low, but otherwise, you’re better off with a more comfy and reliable Sharan or Caddy. The upgraded Peugeot Rifter (that replaces Peugeot Partner) might be a better option too – higher comfort and better features, but it’s only available since 2019 so don’t expect to find cheap used ones until a few years from now. It’s not an offroad car so don’t expect a thrilling offroad ride, yet still, you can take it down a not too steep/rough dirt track or through a meadow.
Because of it’s shorter boot length and lower interior & drive comfort, the Berlingo is lower in our 30+ cars for car camping table.

3.5
PROs
  • one of the cheapest cars with good camping capabilities on the market
  • easy to maintain, no expensive or hard to get parts
  • sliding middle doors
  • front passenger backrest can be folded down horizontally to form a table
  • roof window (some models)
  • roof shelf (some models)
  • split tailgate opening (some models – open just the window or the entire tailgate – see demonstration here)
  • front seat folds down to form a table if needed
CONs
  • boot length is only 180cm in the long model – meaning you have to push the front seats forward each time you have the bed extended, which reduces storage space.
  • lower level of interior comfort – lower-quality materials
  • not a 4×4 – ok for some off-road, but not too much (some 4×4 models are available as used too)

Berlingo: The most converted car into a camper?

The Citroen Berlingo (and Peugeot Partner on the 3rd spot) is by far the most preferred / converted car when it comes to car camping, according to a survey in the biggest car camping group on FB – Small Vehicle Campers.

This comes as a surprise as in another survey (detailed results here), the top criteria was boot length and boot height – both of which are average for the Berlingo (compared to other options like the VW Sharan or Caddy (Maxi).

My guess is that they come close enough + their low price and ubiquity make up for the difference. Especially considering that the voters in this group are DIY microcamping conversion enthusiasts, so have very likely converted the van version and/or did a thorough conversion – taking a lot of the interior materials out and replacing them with a bed, storage / shelves and insulation. It’s easier to do that to a cheaper Berlingo than to a 30% more expensive Sharan I’d guess. (using used car prices from 2011 – Berlingo around 6000 GBP, Sharan around 8000 GBP)

Are the Berlingo / Partner good cars for car camping?

This section focuses on assessing how does this car perform in car camping setting – space, storage, features useful for camping, extendability (how easy it is to add car camping gear).

Key information

  • Car type: MPV/Minivan
  • Make: Citroen / Peugeot
  • Folded seats boot length (cm): long 180 / van 217, standard 176
  • Boot height (cm): 112 / van 120
  • Boot width (cm): 144
  • avg MPG (US): 37.2(1)
  • avg l/100km consumption: 6.3(1)
Our Berlingo / Partner car camping rating 3.5/5.0

Standard rating (not focused on car camping):

Whatcar.com rating Berlingo Multispace 2008-2018: 3/5 • Autoexpress.co.uk rating: 4/5 • Carbuyer.co.uk rating: 3.7/5

Average rating: 3.6/5

ADAC rating: GOOD – 2.3 out of 5 (lower = better)

Dimensions & Storage

  • Folded seats boot length (cm): long 180 / van 217, standard 176
  • Boot height (cm): 112 / van 120
  • Boot width (cm): van 123, MPV 116120
  • Overall height (cm): 186 (XL 188)
  • Overall length (cm): 438 (XL 475)
  • Overall width (cm): 181 (XL 185)

There are several Berlingo generations, each has a slightly different size, so do check the generation you’re buying. To make the most of your camping trip, get the XL / long version for more boot length and headroom. Or if your budget allows it and you want the most space, go for a VW Caddy instead.

In terms of storage, it comes down to what version you’ll get. The van version is bare at the back – just a box with no storage compartments – you will have to create your own ones. This is a good option for DIY enthusiasts who want to build a kitchen, their own shelves or put a boot jump (camping box) in.

berlingo van boot

The Multispace (MPV) model offers more storage solutions – some pretty good ones too! I really like the overhead roof shelf (and of course some models have the awesome roof window!). There’s the usual drivers’ glovebox + a compartment above it and door compartments. Some models also have two nets on both sides of the roof for additional storage space.

At the back of the MPV version, you’ll find a small storage compartment (strangely) only on one side of the boot. Newer models might have them on both sides though. Some also have a shelf at the top of the right-hand side panel (see image with red Berlingo). The storage compartment(s) are still quite small – VW Caddy or Sharan have much more to offer at the back too.

Electric sockets – 12V outlets

There could be 1 to 5 12V outlets in a Berlingo depending on the model/year + there could be a 230V socket too. According to this forum, in 2004 and newer models you should find at least:

  • one or two in the front center panel
  • one or two at the back

Recommended video review (interior & exterior):

This series of 4 videos will show you all Berlingo features in detail. It’s in Romanian, so you probably won’t understand a word like me, but these videos show the most of the interior / storage features. Go to Youtube to play the first video and the next one should be played automatically (or show in the playlist).

Is the Berlingo a good car for driving?

This can get very subjective – you can see more detailed reviews on these websites:

Whatcar.com rating Berlingo Multispace 2008-2018: 3/5 • Autoexpress.co.uk rating: 4/5 • Carbuyer.co.uk rating: 3.7/5

Average rating: 3.6/5

Being based on proven Citroen and Peugeot mechanicals, spare parts are easy to find and fixing a Berlingo is a relatively simple job. While its overall reliability record is mixed, there are plenty of owners who attest to high-mileage cars giving little trouble.

whatcar.com

On the road, 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. The more powerful engines get along well enough, with the slightly gruff diesel producing plenty of low-down oomph.

The gearchange is a little agricultural, however, but the ride is surprisingly smooth, with an ease that mostly masks poor road imperfections, although it can get caught out by potholes and sharp ridges. In corners, the Berlingo is competent but not exactly what a keen driver would call fun. There’s a fair bit of body lean too, as you might expect of something rather tall and slab-sided, and the steering’s a little strange in its weighting, being oddly keen to self-centre.

whatcar.com

The Berlingo’s platform is a mish-mash of PSA tech. The rear half is largely unchanged from the old model, allowing for a similarly huge load area, while the front is based on the Peugeot/Citroen EMP2 platform. This section has allowed Citroen to install the latest suite of safety tech and chassis refinements.
The result is that, for the most part, the Berlingo drives more like a car than a van. The steering is light, the turning circle is tight and, while the high centre of gravity makes itself felt during hard cornering, body roll is controlled well enough. There’s decent grip and the brakes feel strong and reassuring.
The ride is smooth enough, though the harshest bumps vibrate around the cabin. There’s quite a lot of wind noise at motorway speeds – particularly around the bulky door mirrors.

autoexpress.co.uk

It seems that the Berlingo combines affordability with lots of storage and boot space well enough for owners to make a compromise on the more pronounced van-like drive. The car is cheaper to buy but also cheaper to run – avg MPG (US): 37.2 and avg l/100km consumption: 6.3(1) are pretty impressive.

Recommended car tent / awning & camping gear

VAUDE – Drive Trunk – Motorhome awning

Ready to fit your Berlingo / Partner / Combo! 🙂
Vaude tailgate awning
  • Fits most station wagons and minivans / MPVs
  • 2.2kg
  • great for tailgates – Berlingo, Sharan, Caddy, Partner…
  • doesn’t need a rail to be attached
  • integrated bug net, incl. stuff sack
£ 159.95 – BUY AT ALPINETREK.CO.UK
SEE MORE

Citroen Berlingo & Peugeot Partner microcamper conversions photo gallery

Here’s how a fully converted Berlingo + a camping box (boot jump) can look like

(Flickr – external link)

Camping-IsleOfWight

What’s your take on the Berling / Partner as a camping car? Let me know in the comments!

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