Peugeot Expert review
Peugeot's medium-sized van blends impressive economy with plenty of power, delivering comfort, convenience and a touch of style
The latest Peugeot Expert van shares some of the style of the brand's car line-up, which helps it to stand out from its Ford Transit, Renault Trafic and Mercedes Vito rivals. This medium-sized van is a sister model to the Citroen Dispatch and Toyota Proace, and the fact that all three share a platform with the Peugeot 308 hatchback and Citroen C4 SpaceTourer MPV will come as good news to van drivers who want car-like responses and comfort.
You can choose the Peugeot Expert in three body lengths. Shortest is the Expert Compact, which acts as the first step up from the smaller Peugeot Partner. Despite being able to carry two standard pallets inside, the 4.6-metre Compact has a shorter wheelbase (the distance between front and rear axles) than the two bigger models in the range. The Expert Standard is 4.95 metres long, with the same 3.275-metre wheelbase as the 5.3-metre Expert Long. Each version of the Expert can be chosen as a panel van or a minibus, the latter with three rows of seats for up to nine passengers.
There are two engines available in a total of five power outputs. The 1.6-litre diesel delivers either 94 or 114bhp, the latter offering the choice of an ETG6 automatic gearbox as an alternative to the standard six-speed manual. Experts with the 1.6-litre engine have a maximum payload of 1,000kg. A 2.0-litre diesel engine is also available, with 119, 148 or 178bhp, the most powerful being exclusive to the top-spec Professional Plus model, with an automatic gearbox as standard. The 2.0-litre versions of the Expert can carry up to 1,400kg.
Every Partner is well equipped for comfort and convenience. Even the entry-level S has cruise control, DAB radio with Bluetooth, electric windows and central locking, as well as a multi-adjustable driver's seat. There are sliding doors on both sides and a fixed steel bulkhead between the passenger and load compartments.
The Expert Professional adds air-conditioning, heated mirrors and a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with MirrorLink smartphone compatibility. The more distinctive Professional Plus tops the range, standing out with its body-coloured bumpers, door handles and mirrors and LED daytime running lights. It also gains a parking camera and sensors front and rear, as well as automatic lights and wipers and power-folding mirrors.
Impressive fuel consumption is key to the Expert's appeal – the 114bhp 1.6-litre diesel can manage 55.3mpg, with modest 133g/km CO2 emissions. This model will suit those who make regular lightly laden trips at motorway speeds. Those who need more pulling power can expect decent economy, too – the 119 and 148bhp 2.0-litre diesels both return 53.2mpg, and even the range-topping 178bhp engine manages 46.3mpg.
Safety hasn't been forgotten, either – the comfortable MPV version of the Expert, the Peugeot Traveller, received a five-star rating after rigorous Euro NCAP crash-testing. The rating was helped by the impressive list of hi-tech safety features available, which include autonomous emergency braking, road-sign recognition and speed limit recommendation. Much of this technology is optional at extra cost, though.
Verdict: 4.0 /5
The Peugeot Expert matches, and occasionally beats, the Mercedes Vito for quietness, comfort and smoothness, and its fuel economy impresses, too. The 114 and 148bhp versions offer all the motorway performance most drivers are likely to need, while the load bay is commodious and well designed. Add generous equipment across the range, and the Partner is a capable commercial choice.