Some cars aren't too precious about the lives they lead. Take Citroen's classic post-war 2CV. You could drive it across a ploughed field, hose it clean, subject it to a fearful leathering, then pass it on like a family heirloom. It was uniquely French, uniquely Citroen and its modernday successor was the first generation of this car, Citroen's Berlingo Multispace.
The MK2 model Berlingo Multispace was designed to be quite smart and sophisticated, but back at this model's original launch in 1996, the 2CV spirit was very much in evidence in a car that offered everything budget-minded families needed - and nothing they didn't. A windowed, seated version of the Berlingo van, it could be hosed out, fixed with a rusty spanner and bounced around farm tracks if need be. If the dog scratched the panel work, the kids coloured on the seats and you bashed the doors getting out, well it really didn't matter. This was a workhorse, plain and simple. Signs of wear and tear became signs of family endearment and sales just kept growing.
By the time of the launch of this second generation version in 2008 though, the market had moved on a bit. People still wanted more affordable compact van-based people carriers, but they needed them to be more than merely commercial vehicles with seats and windows. Hence the emergence of this MK2 model as a more sophisticated thing. Yes, it was still based on a van, but the underpinnings of that LCV had now been derived from a car, the French brand's first generation C4 Picasso MPV. That partly justified the second generation Berlingo Multispace model's higher pricing, as did a better quality interior, up-to-the-minute safety and plenty of people carrying cleverness. This was still though, a very different proposition from the original version's 2CV simplicity and initially, the market struggled to adjust.
Citroen responded by continually improving the product, smartening the look and updating the engine technology, first in 2012 and then again in the summer of 2015, by which point Euro6 BlueHDi diesel powerplants were featuring in the range. It's that later Euro6 generation version we're going to look at here as a potential used buy, with its lower running costs, sleeker front end and extra equipment, attributes shared by its near-identical PSA Group stablemate from this era, Peugeot's Partner Tepee. Back in 2015, both these models were relying on a package of facelift improvements to move them clear of direct van-based rivals like Fiat's Doblo, Ford's Tourneo Connect and the Volkswagen Caddy Life. As with all contenders of this kind, this Berlingo's van-based roots mean greater practicality and significantly lower prices than more car-like and conventional compact MPVs like Citroen's own C4 Picasso. This facelifted post-2015-era Multispace model sold until the launch of the MK3 Berlingo MPV in mid-2018.