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The 2001 Citroën Berlingo: An Even Better World For Van-Kind

22 November, 2000

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The 2001 Citroën Berlingo combines the best features from traditional one-box vans and car-derived vans, plus a dash of Citroën technology and style to produce a uniquely versatile commercial vehicle that is an asset in every way to the companies it serves.

The new model year Berlingo gains a driver's airbag, pretensioned seat belts, revised instrumentation that now includes a rev counter and an engine immobiliser is added to its armoury of security features.

But, at $16,399, the Berlingo retains the same price, ensuring continued success for the French van.

"The Citroën Berlingo represents a whole new concept for van and commercial vehicle users across Australia," says Miles Williams, General Manager for Citroën Australia. "For van-kind, the hundreds of thousands of people whose livelihoods depend on their vans, the Berlingo represents a completely new way of looking at this type of vehicle and is, as such, uniquely better than its competitors.

"This fact has been widely recognized in Australia and our only problem since its launch has been keeping up with the demand which has, at times, seen it account for 50 per cent all Citroëns sold in Australia, says Mr Williams."

From the traditional one-box van Berlingo has the advantages of a large, square and easily loaded 'cube' of three cubic metres. This is combined with all the features of a vehicle designed as, and not converted to, commercial vehicle use, from a curtain to keep cool air in the front compartment to wide opening rear doors and a long, low load floor.

The Berlingo's heritage from a car-derived van adds to the mix a driving experience that is better than the 'car-like' claim of its competitors. The drivetrain and suspension from the acclaimed Citroën Xsara, give superb ride, roadholding and handling, as well as a spacious and well appointed driver's compartment.

Unlike most car-derived vans, though, which look like a car with a crudely added box grafted onto the rear half of the vehicle, the Berlingo's styling is fully integrated. Its stylish nose and smooth lines lead to its accommodating rear doors. As well as ensuring that it is versatile and easy to load and good looking, the smooth sides make signwriting easy and economical.

Citroën's sophisticated drivetrain means more than just fine on-road performance, it delivers a payload - at 800 kg - that is as impressive as the three cubic metre load volume.

The Australian version of the Berlingo will have power steering as standard and be powered by a 1.4 litre engine that has been tailored to commercial vehicle needs, with plenty of low down toque for pulling loads and, at the same time, providing economical, low emission performance.

With Citroën's global safety system built into the Berlingo, there is clear recognition that van users should have at least the same, if not better, road safety protection compared to normal cars because of the long hours they spend behind the wheel in the busiest road conditions.

Standard equipment for the Australian specification Berlingo includes power steering, pretensioning seat belts, driver's air bag, engine immobiliser, height adjustable steering wheel, rear barn doors, digital radio cassette, multi-function front passenger seat with integrated desk and, when AirCon is fitted, a pollen filter. Factory fitted options include, central locking, electric windows and a rear roof flap above the rear doors that allow long objects to be safely carried.

The Berlingo is equipped with a clever and innovative multi-function passenger seat. In just a few seconds, the comfortable seat with its adjustable headrest becomes a functional work surface. A thick, generously dimensioned table appears when the seat back is fold down onto the seat. The table is fitted with a strap to hold documents in place, a pencil case and two recesses for holding beakers.

The seat can be tipped over completely to reveal a vast 100 cm³ chest, whose contents are protected from prying eyes. In this position, the seat makes an additional loading space available, for storing objects of up to 2.10 m in length across a width of 500 mm.

"Although Citroën is little know for its commercial vehicle range in Australia, the marque has set as many benchmarks in Europe for its commercial range as for its passenger vehicles," says Miles Williams.

Citroën's first commercial vehicle was launched in 1919, creating the whole concept of a light van. The Type H introduced the idea of a forward control van in 1948, with its innovations of all-steel monococque construction, low load floor - made possible by front wheel drive - and side sliding doors.

The 2CV Van was arguably the first car derived van and today the Berlingo is one of a range of Citroën commercial vehicles with payloads from 0.5 tonne to eight tonnes. In the year it was launched, the Berlingo was elected as the International Van of the Year and it has gone on to collect another two Van of the Year awards as well as awards around the world for its skillful mix of abilities.

"With this heritage of design excellence," says Miles Williams, "combined with modern technology and Citroën's determination to build the benchmark commercial vehicle, there can be little doubt that the Berlingo is set to continue its success in Australia."

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