Berlingo scooter A
Lined Berlingo with Vespa securely strapped in - Picture: Grace Ratcliffe
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Van of the YearWHEN your business needs a mobility solution to transport goods large or small, you select the best, such as one of the winners in our Business Van Awards 2017 – like Free2Move Lease.

Formerly Citroen Contract Motoring, it won the Best Finance & Service Package award.

Free2Move Lease has watched what rivals are offering and created a solution with Fleet Command and Fleet Command Plus.

It can now offer a Contract Hire and Finance Lease with and without balloon payment through Citroen Contract Motoring.

However, for smaller van fleets and sole traders, they also offer Lease purchase and a flexible PCP product – with no restrictions for business type for any of their products.

Business Van of the Year Awards 2017:

Check out the winners here

They also work closely with manufacturers to offer the most market relevant/desirable schemes and carry out annual profiling of their customers, via forums and market research, to make sure that their products are best placed.

In fact this is one of Free2Move Lease’s key advantages – their business centre family and they continue to monitor mobility solutions and eco trends as an integral part of their working.

One of the key developments over the last year has been the launch of Fleet Command – a free of charge service.

This service is designed to assist their LCV customers to remain compliant in terms of their Duty of Care obligations, ensuring that LCV customers have access to professional CV experience in managing their vehicle(s) during the contract, and that the customer is given the best information to reduce any potential end-of-term charges.

Needless to say this service also greatly reduces business administration for the SME users.

In this instance my use was short-term, but a great way to discover the practicalities of running a Citroen van.

The requirement in this case was how to collect my new/old Vespa PX 125 from the North – where it had lived under cobwebs in the back of a garage for five years – and to transport it back to London where it can be cared forand provide a modern mobility solution.

I am the fourth owner of this 2001 model scooter, but having bought it the idea of a 200-mile drive on a motorised sideboard capable of 45mph was not my idea of fun.

So a small van was needed to make the collection and transportation, and the solution arrived in the form of a Citroen Berlingo L2 BlueHDi 100 1.6 Euro 6 diesel,  loadbay ply-lined and with load tether points making for an easy move.

Looks-wise the alloys were a bit flash but the paint finish was classy. Funnily enough, neighbours commented on the van and insisted on looking it over – they never ask to look at cars!

At the business end, side doors were great – how often do you get stuck in a corner behind the load wishing you had a can opener – while the two-thirds/one-third back doors combination was useful.

Designed to deliver, it was to provide comfort with economy and functionality, not to mention great drivability.I  completed 560 miles in the Berlingo over two days and I must say it is more comfortable for the driver than many cars I have had the pleasure to drive, with an excellent seat making a long drive very easy.

The overall driving was good – the 5-speed box has the right ratios with fifth for cruising and the rest for town and country.

Driving at 65mph the rev counter just broke 2000 revs – so no booming engine noise – and cruise control was a welcome aid on the motorway.

Visibility was good with large windscreen and big mirrors,  the engine fantastic – perky and happy when empty or loaded – the ride smooth and well damped, and the fuel economy was 56mpg — amazing.

The sat nav fitted to the dash is easy to use and has a safety conscious attitude – it asks if you are the driver or the passenger when you start tapping it – simply clever when in-car devices don’t have to be mobile phones to become dangerous distractions.

The information screen was functional and the Bluetooth phone connection was akin to driving a new car, simple and easy to operate…
Reversing was a dream – with the rearview camera and the green turning guides on the display allowing door space.

So would I buy or lease one?

If my business needed a compact delivery van for short and long distance, that suited the driver for drivability and the transport manager or owner for running costs – the answer is yes.

With the specification that makes the driver smile…


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