citroen berlingo - Berlingo camper review: Car camping in Citroen Berlingo or Peugeot Partner

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

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- Berlingo camper review: Car camping in Citroen Berlingo or Peugeot Partner

This is the definitive Citroen Berlingo & Peugeot Partner car camping review. Berlingo camper & Peugeot Partner information, dimensions and gallery. Plus you can apply most of what’s in here to Peugeot Rifter or Opel (Vauxhall) Combo. Continue reading if you want to know:

  • Berlingo’s / Partner’s size & measurements for car camping
  • Its comfort & driving rating
  • Can you sleep in a Citroen Berlingo / Peugeot Partner? And more importantly – how easy it is to sleep in them?
  • 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

- Berlingo camper review: Car camping in Citroen Berlingo or Peugeot Partner
Boot length 217cm (Long version)
Boot height 112cm
Storage – limited in the back, but some have good roof shelves (and a roof window!)
Comfort (interior)
Comfort (driving)
Consumption

Summary

The Berlingo is one of the most often converted cars for camping, Peugeot Partner is close behind it. Despite both not being the biggest – very likely because of their affordability and availability (and availability bias – when you Google small campers, you’ll see a lot of Berlingos, so people naturally assume those are the best, but they are not, read on…). 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 are 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
  • flat tailgate (boot) loading area
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)

How does the Berlingo compare to other everyday campers?

Berlingo is an odd one – it’s not the biggest or most comfortable out there, yet it’s the most often converted car into a camper. It scores lower in our database because of its size and lower comfort, but everyone has different priorities. See below for more on why I think it’s so popular.

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 only 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. Availability bias likely also plays a big role (when you start researching small campers, you see a lot of Berlingos – so you naturally assume that it’s probably the best car for a conversion, even if it’s not). My guess for their ubiquity in the camping world is that when the whole movement started – 10+ years ago, Berlingo was one of the best cars for the job (even the Caddy was the same size). But that’s not the case anymore, there are better cars for a camping conversion to be found nowadays.

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)

Berlingo variants


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Are the Berlingo / Partner good cars for car camping?

This section focuses on assessing how does this car perform in a 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)
  • EURO NCAP safety rating (2018 – the 2014 rating was 3/5) – 4/5
  • ADAC rating (lower = better) – 2.5/5

External 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 external rating: 3.6/5

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

So to answer your question:

Can you sleep in a Citroen Berlingo / Peugeot Partner?

I say: You’d be surprised how many people already do… It’s mainly used for DIY microcamping conversions – meaning you will take the back seats out and make a bed yourself + turn it into a 2 seater with a bed. But if you want to have a 5-7 seater with a reversible bed (fold the back seats, have a bed, lift them up and hide the bed), you should look at my Sharan or Caddy reviews.

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 - Berlingo camper review: Car camping in Citroen Berlingo or Peugeot Partner

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

Check this out – NimbleCamper rated database: Best cars for car camping

Browse a database of campers that’s very easy to filter by boot length, width, consumption and more…

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

arpenaz base m car tent
The best budget car tent you can find
+ it fits Sharan / Berlingo & similar MPVs like a glove:
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See how it fit’s my Sharan 2013 in this full review + video

Confirmed to fit: Sharan, Touran, Berlingo, Caddy, Partner, Kangoo, Combo
At around 100-120 GBP / , it’s a bargain that does the job of a 300+ GBP tent

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Small, foldable and sits 4 with plenty of space for food preparation

Works best for two people camping trip (tested it myself!) – very light, easy to fold and transport, sturdy enough at this price range.

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6 person inflatable tent
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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

Conclusion

Berlingo wouldn’t be my first choice for a car camper primarily because of its lower build quality and comfort. However, if you are looking for an occasional camper at a low price, then the Berlingo is a great choice. The low price also makes it a good option for a DIY conversion – you can spend more on the interior as you’ll save on the car itself.

Autotrader.co.uk offers a wide selection of used cars – new or older at a range of prices that will fit any buyer. Prices start as low as0 £1,300.

Read next

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



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