Peugeot Make Great Vans - In Fact They Are Expert At It
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
I have been driving vans since the 1980s. Back then unassisted steering, a heavy clutch which gave your left leg a good work out and a basic cabin were the order of the day.
The raised driving position was a boon, but a day spent behind the wheel was wearisome.
Fast forward thirty plus years and how times have changed. Van manufacturers have spent time and effort making the latest offerings more car-like to drive. It makes sense as many commercial vehicles cover vast mileages every year. The cab is the driver's workplace and he or she needs to be comfortable.
Ably demonstrating the strides that have been made in van development is the Peugeot Expert that I have been driving.
Let's start with the cab. A comfortable multi-adjustable seat greets the driver, with an additional twin seat for passengers. The steering wheel can also be adjusted, so a commanding driving position is easy to find.
The power assisted steering is effortless and top models come with parking sensors and reversing camera for easy manoeuvring.
The clutch has a light action and the slick six-speed gearbox is a joy to use.
The two-litre 90bhp diesel engine endows the Expert with a decent turn of speed, with plenty of low down torque for safe overtaking and coping with heavy loads.
The engine is smooth and refined and plenty of sound deadening ensures that no unwanted engine noise disturbs the calm of the cabin.
High speed cruising is a hushed affair, with just a little wind and road noise making their presence felt.
Unladen vans often give a somewhat bouncy ride, the stiff suspension being necessary to cope with heavy loads. I'm happy to report the Expert's rides well when empty. I can't comment about its fully laden prowess, as the most it carried during my time with it was a rather small sofa.
I subjected the Peugeot van to my usual challenging local test route. With barely a straight piece of road, this 25 mile route generally exposes the handling deficiencies of the cars that I am lucky enough to test.
The Expert handled the route with aplomb, feeling safe and secure at all times. The raised driving position helps, with a panoramic view over the dry stone walls. It was fun, though I'm not sure what would have happened to any goods that might have been stashed in the load bay...
So assuming you have now decided you want an Expert to help with your business, the next question is which one.
Three trim levels are available. Base 'S' models come with central door locking, cruise control, DAB radio, stability control and a full complement of airbags.
The next grade is 'Professional' with worthy additions such as air conditioning, electric door mirrors and a 7-inch touchscreen.
Top of the tree is 'Professional Plus' (as tested) which adds body coloured bumpers and mirrors, automatic lights and wipers, alloy wheels and Park Assist (parking sensors a rear view camera).
The two-litre BlueHDi diesel engine is available with four different power outputs (95 to 150hp), so more decisions to be made here.
Last, but possibly most important, is the choice of size. The panel van can be configured in three lengths; compact, standard and long.
For those looking to add their own rear section, crew van and platform cab platforms are also available.
With such a myriad of choices, Peugeot's price list makes for complicated reading. A 'Compact' panel van with the least powerful engine and base 'S' trim can be yours for £22,923 on the road including VAT.
All the panel vans have twin side-loading doors for ease of access. 'Compact' model have space for two Euro-pallets, whilst 'Standard' and 'Long' variants will carry three.
An Expert van will be a practical and stylish addition to any business. There will be a model to suit most applications. Running costs will be low, helped by state-of-the-art frugal diesel engines, and drivers who spend long hours behind the wheel will find the comfortable and quiet cabin a pleasant place to be.
Added to that are the van's excellent driving manners, making the Expert a true jack of all trades.
Peugeot Expert Professional Plus (Standard length)
Base price £23,165 (£28,743 OTR)
2.0-litre BlueHDi diesel engine
Max Power - 90bhp @ 3,750rpm
Max Torque - 340Nm @ 1,750rpm
0-62mph in 13.3 seconds
Top speed 106mph
Interior volume 5.8 cubic metres
Load length 2,512mm
Peugeot Make Great Vans - In Fact They Are Expert At It, 24th January 2017, 14:05 PM