As a newly blessed ‘family man’ with a small business to run, Van choice is becoming something of an issue, Without moving up to a mid size van (Vivaro, Vito, Transporter etc) I now have the need – at least occasionally – to carry more than a single passenger, hence much research into smaller vans with more than two seats.
The traditional approach to this dilemma is a ‘crew van’ with a folding bench seat in the cargo compartment – two issues with this:
Firstly, the Van becomes less of a van and more of an estate car, defeating the purpose of having a van in the first place..
Secondly, having people and tools & equipment rolling around in the same compartment isn’t particularly safe.
The solution for us was the new-generation Citroen Berlingo/Peuget Partner Van, which (on most models) features a 3 seat front cab.
Admitted there’s a few limitations, you’d struggle to call the middle seat ‘full sized’ and it can be a challenge loading people into the middle seat with a car seat installed on the passenger side seat.
But.. If you can live with the downsides, you now have the ability to retain a proper small van, permanently racked out with tools etc, and the ability to occasionally pick the kids up from school, nip to the shops etc.
The updated 2016 model even has cruise control, and a touch screen radio setup! I’m told by our local citroen dealer that the berlingo should soon be available with the 1.2 Turbo petrol engine, which would be my engine of choice, even though the 1.6 Turbo diesel isn’t bad.
Definitely worth a look!