Advantages Roomy, excellent visibility, quiet
Disadvantages Going out of production. Terrible website and documentation
Author's newest reviews
Excellent car spoiled by...
I bought this car new, with air conditioning. My previous car was a Renault Extra diesel. I needed a car for a tall person which was also not too long since my parking bay space is limited. I was fortunate to get this version since the new Berlingo (also the equivalent for Peugeot and Volkswagen) is a lot more expensive, and too wide/long.
What a relief to have a passenger door! Only one, but so much more convenient than the Renault. Also, it is possible to get in from the driver side since the driver seat folds forwards. The interior trim is also nicer with attention to detail such as a folding back luggage cover. This is a nice roomy car. A split seat for the passengers also allows selective folding and is useful for some luggage transporting jobs. The seatbelt arrangements and headrests for the passengers are also very easy and comfortable to use -- which is NOT the case in many cars.
The driving position takes a bit of getting used to. The seat is higher up, and even with this there is plenty of room for a tall person and the windscreen is big -- no more crouching down over the wheel to peer out. You need to experiment because at first the usual position of the seat far back gave me backache. I found I needed to pull the seat forwards and drive with legs bent at 110 degrees instead of stretched out. Unfortunately, it is not possible to finely adjust the back of the seat since it uses notches instead of being controlled with a knob.
Next, to check the mirrors. The wing mirrors are a big van type and give an excellent view. The interior mirror though is difficult to adjust and use since it does not cover all of the back windows. I will need to buy a clip-on that gives me a deeper view.
Indicators and dials I could not see the top of the dials through the steering wheel. All the warnings flash at the top of the dials panel. I find this incredible that this detail was not checked for: the warning lights should be visible for all possible driving positions for any driver..
The important Speed dial also is not clear. The numbers -- which are tiny -- are on the inside of the circle instead of the outside therefore get covered by the needle and I will need to memorise the pattern/speed to be able to use it. The direction indicator is too noisy and I wish I could turn off the beeps.
The horn. Against expectations, this is ONLY available by hitting parts of the steering wheel. You cannot gently push the direction indicators stick. In my view this is a dangerous restriction since moving my hand to hit the lower half of the steering wheel takes longer than tapping the indicator stick.
The brace and jack are conveniently stored at the back behind an easy to remove section of trim. But I am puzzled why the other side was closed off, so an ideal space for things like a spare bulb set, towrope etc was not available.
Front extras. Each front door has a nicely formed luggage tray, but, there is no obvious place for a fire-extinguisher and a first-aid box, both of which are legal requirements on the continent. We did not pay extra for a radio, but speakers come pre-fitted and I was amazed that in this modern day and age that they did not provide a socket for an MP3 player. Under the front seats each have a set of thin loose wires, which could easy tangle with any luggage or clothing hurriedly stuffed under the seats.
Front ventilation. The control dials are standard. But in the Renault Extra I could put on the heating system, and at the same time from one central point get a blast of cold air which I could direct at my chest or face. The driver often needs to work at a colder temperature in order to keep awake. In the Berlingo there is one system, with very flimsy one directional flow guides. They also make a terrible noise when 'almost' closed -- something I had to diagnose within a week of buying this car. At the very least, they could have fitted vents which are adjustable both up/down and left/right.
Rear ventilation. This does not exist! Air, cold or hot, has to pass over the front seats, or between them. The passenger windows are the type where the rear edge opens a few inches. You cannot open the window wide enough to reach in from outside.
The back seats are roomy, with plenty of headroom and foot room. The back seat is also split so that one third can be folded forwards for large items of luggage. Unfortunately the front passenger seat did NOT also fold up. The air conditioning is also only for the front with no vents at all further back. The passenger door on my car also does not have its own lock, so you have to open the front door, then loop your hand to an inside catch to unlock it.
One of the first projects will be to fit curtains, and it is not at all clear how I will do this since the interior trim covers all the metal supports. Curtain attachment points are a rather basic and essential feature of any car. There are rope points in the storage bay, but no obvious place for screws or hooks for curtain rails or wires.
The engine compartment has a clear layout, though it is impossible to see the windscreen water level so you have to guess when you need to top it up. The identification numbers are clearly shown and not hidden. It feels underpowered, but we shall see this summer when we go to the Alps.
Documentation. The car came with two booklets.
1) Owner manual. I could not work out from this how to adjust the height of the steering wheel, so I learned by experiment. Instructions for changing the bulbs are also not at all clear, yet on the continent you need to be able to do this yourself.
It is a legal requirement in many countries to carry spare bulbs and to replace bulbs promptly – even while travelling, therefore the instructions need to be ultra-clear. I needed the relevant Haynes manual (number 4281) for clear instructions. In fact, the front bulbs are relatively easy, but the back ones are tricky and the third stop light and the numberplate lights are quite difficult. There was no list with part numbers of basic consumer parts like filters and plugs. There was not even a brochure of publicity for extras like seat covers and roof racks. The manual did tell me how to reset the maintenance reminder from the computer, but for other tasks I will probably buy a Lexia 3 Citroen Peugot Diagnostics tool.
2) Maintenance schedule - incomplete and not clear. Too many cars are in the same booklet and the differences are not clearly labelled. The schedule is also incomplete. I believe in preventative advance maintenance, especially before a trip of 3000 miles. Apart from the usual brakes, oils, filters and plugs, when for instance do you expect to change the alternator band, the alternator, or the water pump? Where is the list of parts and part numbers for key consumables such as filters? Where is the list of recommended accessories such as roof-rack bars? Since I could not find this, I went to the Citroen Website.
Now, anyone who buys expensive equipment these days can expect good documentation and support. Office photocopiers for instance can easily have over 1000 pages of documentation. Even small products like cameras and computers have detailed instruction manuals, and sometimes trouble shooting help. Well, there was absolutely nothing on the Citroen site, which relies on moving images, and so called 'widgets' which I did not understand. I was looking for something standard: click on Support then Model then Documentation. The pdf of the owner booklet and maintenance schedule did not exist. Even to register for 'my citroen' required me to guess the required format for 'date of birth' so it took several attempts. Simply put, the Citroen site was difficult to understand and does not provide the needed support documents, an FAQ, a Forum etc that we have come to expect with other consumer products. I find this surprising, especially in view of the high cost of the car. Note, I have informed Citroen of these website problems, and will modify these comments as soon as they improve their site.
Fortunately, there is a Haynes Manual (number 4281) available. But, paying over 11,000 for a new car I should not expect to pay more for the documentation that products of 100 provide. The Peugeot site which has a similar vehicle also had similar problems.
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