Peugeot’s Expert van had a lot of plastic surgery done last year. As well as better looks it also received a fresh platform and a bunch of safety equipment. Our motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, drove the Expert Professional Plus Long BlueHDi 180 recently. Here’s his review.
2016’s overhaul should now make the Peugeot Expert even more attractive to the UK’s middleweight van purchasers. The Expert has a couple of siblings that also might tempt buyers – the Toyota Proace and Citroen Dispatch. The trio use the same platform, which is employed in cars like Citroen’s C4 Picasso and Peugeot’s 308. This means the Expert drives far less van-like and more car-like. What’s more, the three vans’ safety tech is the same as the latest gadgetry used in production cars.
The Peugeot Expert has been given a steroid injection over its car kin, though, so it can handle weighty commercial cargo. It’s power steering has been revised so that it can cope with larger loads and it has heavy-duty suspension fitted. Indeed, the rear suspension arrangement now doesn’t impact load bay space, so there’s oodles of room for a couple of Euro pallets in all variants of the van.
A trio of Expert van body lengths are offered, and they are perched on a couple of wheelbases. You can have the Expert Compact, the standard van, and the Expert ‘Long’ – which is the one I tested. The ‘Long’ has a length of 5,300mm and a wheelbase of 3,275mm. All the vehicles can be bought as a traditional van, or as a minibus with three triers of seats, meaning room for nine passengers. In addition, you can have a six-seater crew set-up in standard and long body get-ups, as well as a platform cab on the standard wheelbase. The top load capacity is 1,000kg on vans with the lesser 1.6-litre engines, rising to 1,400kgs on the muscly 2.0-litre versions.
The BlueHDi diesel line-up boasts the best efficiency and CO2 emissions in the mid-sized van segment. The 2.0-litre, as reviewed here with a 180ps output, comes with an automatic transmission and steering wheel paddles, as standard. The Professional Plus trim, as fitted to the model driven for this review, is kitted out with air-con, a 7-inch touchscreen and electrically heated mirrors. The trim also gives the van a more sophisticated exterior look, which encompasses body-coloured mirrors, door handles, bumpers, front fog lights and LED daytime lights. In addition, you get parking sensors and a useful parking camera and electrically folding mirrors.
All guises of the Expert have a 1,400kg max payload, but the ‘Long’ version stands out for its excellent loading length of 4,020m. Distance between the wheel arches is 1,260m, and the van’s load volume is 6.6 cubic metres. The French vehicle manufacturer also offers extra features, such as the useful Moduwork bulkhead with three-seater bench. The passenger chair cushion next to the door can even be folded away, exposing a big hatch in the bulkhead and a level floor linked to the central load area that gives a further load length of 1,160mm. Other pragmatic features comprise the possibility of dual, powered, sliding doors for the load area.
The flagship 180ps engine boasts 46.3mpg, but it’s not all about the Expert’s economy, as van operators are also likely to be swayed by the decent load qualities of the vehicle. Service costs should be untroublesome too, with a two-year or 25,000-mile service interval.
When it comes to driving and performance, the Peugeot Expert is comfortable and refined – for a van. The cabin noise is subdued and the pliant ride is boosted by seats that offer lots of adjustment. The driving arrangement is satisfactory, but not quite as elevated as you’ll find in Renault’s Trafic van. Of the engine, the 180ps unit offers punchy performance, making for quick overtaking and robust pulling power – even when fully laden. The brakes are good, too – almost too good. They could do with having a more progressive feel, as this kind of braking action will lessen the risk of moveable items in the load area becoming airborne.
All things considered, the Expert is a fine van with an upmarket feel about it. It also profits from practical touches within the cabin, including an A4-sized compartment on the top of the dash, twin glove boxes, two cupholders, a baggage compartment underneath the bench seat, and enormous door bins. You also get USB connectors and a 12V plug, so there’s no scarcity of connectivity. If you’re interested in checking out the Peugeot Expert van for yourself, please get in touch with our Peugeot dealerships.
Pros ‘n’ Cons
- Comfortable √
- Refined √
- Voluminous √
- Kit √
- Harsh Brakes X
Fast Facts (Expert Professional Plus Long BlueHDi 180 – as tested)
- Max speed: 106 mph
- 0-62 mph: 10.0 secs
- Combined mpg: 46.3
- Engine layout: 1997cc four-cylinder diesel turbo
- Max. power (PS): 180
- CO2: 163 g/km
- Price: £33,783