LOOKING for a vehicle with oceans of space, plenty of practicality and excellent economy? The new Citroen Berlingo may be worthy of consideration.

The French firm’s van-based MPV is now in its third generation and has gone up a gear thanks to new styling, more equipment and lashings of safety technology.

As part of its latest upgrade, the Berlingo now sits on the PSA group’s new platform - something it shares with its Peugeot and Vauxhall equivalents.

Van-derived people carriers don;t tend to go hand in hand with stylish design, but Citroen has managed to give the Berlingo a bit of French flair.

To give the vehicle a look that’s more in line with its passenger car range, Citroen has produced a bold front end design for the Berlingo, reminiscent of the C3 Aircross SUV.

The funky-looking front, which is less vanny than before, is dominated by an attractive two-tiered headlight arrangement, while the brand’s distinctive ‘airbumps’ lend the vehicle further character.

The rear end is much more similar to the outgoing model, with its high sides and upright stance retaining it unmistakably van-like appearance.

To compensate for the fact the exterior appearance gets progressively less appealing as you work your way towards the back, there’s an overwhelming feeling of roominess to enjoy once you hop inside.

Anyone who needs lots of space to transport both people and luggage will be impressed by the array of interior cubby spaces and the vast boot. There’s even a roof storage system.

It really is a lot of space for a comparatively small amount of money.

I found one of the most useful features on this vehicle to be the huge sliding rear passenger doors.

If you have to park close to a wall or another car, these sliding doors make access to the back seats very easy, especially if you need to get someone in and out of a child seat.

The ample proportions in the vehicle mean there’s room in the back for three child seats side-by-side. Buyers have two body sizes from which to choose.

The M version, tested here, and it 35cm longer sibling, the appropriately-named XL, are both available with seven seats.

Underneath the bonnet, the 1.5-litre diesel unit is a nicely-powered engine, offering a nice balance between performance and economy.

The acceleration might not set the world on fire, but the official average fuel consumption figure of more than 65mpg puts the smile back on the face of a motorist, especially if you need to watch the pennies.

When you need to get a move on, the engine is quite responsive when worked hard through the relatively slick five-speed gearbox.

The handling and steering are trustworthy, with body roll fairly well contained for a larger vehicle and the ‘turn-in’ on corners being pretty quick.

The interior, which feels light and airy, has been completely revised, with many of the best bits borrowed from Citroen’s latest models.

The eight-inch touchscreen sits on top of the dashboard and tilts slightly towards the driver, making it easier to reach and read.

It includes 3D connected navigation, with decent graphics, while there’s also voice recognition, live traffic info, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

In terms of safety, there are no fewer than 19 driver assistance features to be had, including autonomous braking, blind spot monitoring and park assist.

All in all, it’s a spacious, practical and thrifty people-shifter with bags of tech and safety equipment, all for under £20,000. It offers no thrills, limited frills but lovely low bills.

Citroen Berlingo M FEEL

PRICE: £19,625 on the road

ENGINE: 4 cylinder, 1.5-litre turbo diesel

PERFORMANCE: Max speed 112mph

TRANSMISSION: Five-speed manual

ECONOMY: 67.7mph combined and emissions 112g/km