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the most practical electric car for large families – but at a price

You’re probably not that interested in whether the e-Berlingo corners on rails when you’re in the market for a car like this, so suffice it to say it’s fine. Yes, the steering is too light and lacks feel, and yes, it does lean quite a bit forward in corners, but its plush suspension also means it soaks up bumps and dips mid-corner fairly well, giving you a nice touch bestowed by liquid.

And because there’s a lot of grip and the center of gravity is pretty much in the middle, the e-Berlingo feels amazingly balanced; If you hit a slippery spot, it just harmlessly drifts farther and farther off its line.

It’s not Tesla-fast, meanwhile, but at up to 80 km/h there’s enough lift for normal traffic to cut and push. In short, while you probably won’t pay attention to an e-Berlingo made of kicks, it’s comfortable to drive and you won’t have any problems with it, which is about all you can really ask of a car like this.

As expected, this softness also makes the e-Berlingo quite comfortable. OK, it’s not perfect in that regard; As you’d expect from a car so heavily based on a commercial vehicle, its underlying lack of refinement is evident in the way minor, sharper bumps result in trimming shimmies, while uneven cambers sweep your head from left to right can throw around.

But suspension and damping are well dosed, so the e-Berlingo doesn’t pitch or roll over bumps in the road even at low speeds, while it feels stable and secure on the Autobahn.

Above a certain speed it feels rather cowardly, but if you stick to the speed limit and over long distances the e-Berlingo is quite a pleasant affair – not least because wind and road noise are dampened remarkably well, considering what for a tall, square vehicle it is.

The Telegraph Judgment

It’s not cheap, this electric Berlingo, and you want this top-of-the-line version, otherwise it just feels a bit too naked. Given that rivals cost about the same but offer more range, its price seems a bit ambitious.

But what you pay for here is, above all, space. No other electric car for the money is as practical; nothing else is quite as good at lugging around kids and clutter without any exhaust emissions.

It’s also relatively quick to charge, which helps mitigate that short range. As a mainly urban runabout for a medium-sized family (or a large one if you go for the XL), the e-Berlingo makes perfect sense.

It’s quite obviously a converted van though – and while that’s never been a stumbling block for Berlingo buyers in the past, at this price point it might be.

Unless they really need the space, buyers might be more drawn to the SUV competitors’ more lavish interiors and more stylish looks. Those who aren’t will find the e-Berlingo a sensible, personable and very pragmatic choice.

The facts

  • On test: Citroen e-Berlingo M Flair XTR
  • Body style: 5-door MPV
  • Now on special offer
  • How much? £34,780 on the go (from £32,075)
  • How fast? 84mph, 0-62mph in 11.5 seconds
  • How economical? 3.9 mpkWh (WLTP combined)
  • Electric drive train: AC synchronous permanent magnet motor with 50 kWh battery, 100 kW on-board charger, CCS charging socket, front-wheel drive
  • Electric range: 174 miles (WLTP combined)
  • Maximum Power/Torque: 134 hp/192 lb ft
  • CO2 emissions: 0g/km (tailpipe)
  • VED: £0
  • Warranty: 3 years / 60,000 miles (5 years / 100,000 miles when purchased online)
  • Standard spare wheel: No (not available)

The rivals

Kia e-Niro 2 39kWh

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