Peugeot Traveller MPV review
"Big, simple and economical, the Peugeot Traveller is a sensible choice for comfortable group travel"
- Generous equipment
- Loads of interior space
- Economical for its size
- Obviously van-based
- Rather noisy in the back
- Awkward boot when all seats are in place
Like SUVs, MPVs are offered in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Peugeot will sell you anything from the small, utilitarian, van-based Peugeot Rifter to the larger, more sophisticated Peugeot 5008, which has the look of an SUV but is a seven-seat MPV at heart. But if you have even more people or equipment to transport, there’s the Peugeot Traveller, the replacement for the ageing Peugeot Expert Teepee.
The Volkswagen Caravelle and Mercedes V-Class can both carry up to eight passengers and the Traveller might wear a less well-known badge, but it's a credible rival to both. Inside and out it’s almost identical to the Citroen SpaceTourer and Toyota Proace Verso, which isn’t surprising, as all three come from the same production line. And in common with the Volkswagen and Mercedes above, all three MPVs are based on commercial vans, too.
That may not seem very upmarket, but in fact it makes a lot of sense. A van is designed to offer as much interior space as possible, so MPVs like the Traveller provide the most generous accommodation for large groups of passengers. All occupants can stretch out in some comfort and there’s an extended wheelbase version that offers even more room. The longer model also maximises luggage space behind the third row of seats.
Most importantly, vans are expected to work for a living, while generating a profit for their commercial users, so they have to be cheap to run. The 2.0-litre 148bhp diesel engine of the Traveller is a well proven design that’s claimed to return up to 42.5mpg. A smaller 1.5-litre diesel is also offered, increasing fuel-efficiency to just over 46mpg. Alternatively, 2021 also saw the launch of the Peugeot e-Traveller, with an all-electric powertrain and a range of just over 140 miles.
Compared to its Citroen and Toyota stablemates, the Peugeot is positioned a little way upmarket – there’s no economy-priced basic model. Every Traveller is pretty well equipped, with climate control, cruise control, Bluetooth and a seven-inch infotainment screen even on the least expensive Active model. Go for Allure and you get heated and massaging leather seats, a panoramic sunroof, xenon headlamps and a heads-up display for driver convenience.
You wouldn’t expect something as long and wide as the Traveller to feel like a sports car, but it doesn’t feel as bulky or intimidating as you might expect. It’s actually surprisingly nimble, so crowded urban streets can be tackled with confidence. Also adding to driver confidence is the Traveller’s five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, with a particularly high score for protecting child occupants in an impact.
In all likelihood, the Peugeot Traveller will be too bulky for family use, unless eight seats are essential. However, a larger family will find the big Peugeot a comfortable, flexible and economical way of travelling together in safety.
MPG, running costs & CO2
One way the Peugeot Traveller betrays its commercial-vehicle origins is in its running costs – they’re low enough not to look too bad on a profit-and-loss spreadsheet. This is excellent news for those who plan to use a Traveller for private hire or executive transport, but it’s equally relevant if the car is to be a workhorse for a large family.
The engine range is shared with the Citroen SpaceTourer and Toyota Proace Verso, and its most economical member – the BlueHDi 120 with stop-start technology – can achieve up to 46.5mpg.
Those who want more power should plump for the BlueHDi 145, which can still return 42.5mpg and is available with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox. The latter is standard for the BlueHDi 180, which can also return 42mpg. Servicing can be carried out by any Peugeot dealer and is unlikely to cost significantly more than for a diesel Peugeot family car. The three-year warranty will be the same, too.
High CO2 emissions mean every version of the Traveller is in a high BiK band for business drivers, so an all-electric version could be the answer for these buyers. Launched in 2021, the e-Traveller uses a 50kWh battery to give it a range of just over 140 miles. Zero tailpipe emissions mean road tax exemption and the lowest BiK band.
The Traveller is in the standard VED (tax) bracket but bear in mind that any example costing more than £40,000 will be subject to an additional surcharge in years two to six.
Engines, drive & performance
Three power outputs are available from a choice of two diesel engines. The 1.5-litre BlueHDi 120 offers 116bhp, while the 2.0-litre BlueHDi 145 and 180 provide 142 and 175bhp respectively.
The BlueHDi 120 manages 0-62mph in 12 seconds and has a higher top speed of 99mph, so it should be able to keep up with traffic without feeling too strained.
The 142bhp 2.0-litre diesel comes close to feeling car-like, with strong pull through the gears, although its outright acceleration won’t match most modern family cars. This engine also uses the six-speed manual gearbox, which we found rather ponderous and imprecise. The 175bhp version of this engine feels most upmarket, largely thanks to its automatic gearbox. It can get from 0-62mph in a competitive 9.1 seconds.
The steering is similarly vague and you can tell it’s low-geared to reduce driver effort. The Traveller’s turning circle is tight, though, so manoeuvring in city streets isn’t as hard work as you might expect. The ride is comfortable, too. Venture onto country roads and speed up a bit and the Traveller handles surprisingly well – although you’re always aware that you’re driving a big, heavy vehicle.
Interior & comfort
Passengers in this kind of vehicle aren’t usually very concerned with such issues as running costs and performance – comfort is key to their satisfaction and it’s highly unlikely that they’ll be disappointed.
Equipment is generous on both of the two models available. Active has a dual-zone climate control system, cruise control for relaxed motorway driving, a DAB radio, Bluetooth and a seven-inch infotainment screen. The Allure adds power-adjustable heated front seats, leather trim, a panoramic glass roof, keyless entry and xenon headlights. Sat nav is also fitted as standard in Allure versions.
As a van-based vehicle, the Traveller has a simple and fairly upright driver’s environment, which the long-legged may find restrictive. The dashboard itself is smart if not the last word in cutting-edge design, while materials are solid and workmanlike.
The trim elsewhere inside – including the seats – doesn’t quite match the feeling of luxury provided by the more expensive Volkswagen Caravelle, but comfort is good and few passengers are likely to feel hard done by – although it’s a bit noisy inside and the huge interior can seem a bit echoey.
Practicality & boot space
This is the category where a jumbo MPV really sells itself, as well as laying its van-based roots well and truly bare. As you might expect, the Peugeot Traveller offers an immense amount of interior space. You can choose three lengths: standard long and compact (the latter with the least powerful 1.6-litre engine).
We haven’t sampled the compact model, but our standard-length Traveller could comfortably accommodate six-foot passengers in each of its three seating rows, while leaving space for 640 litres of luggage, even with all eight seats in use.
However, that load space is tall, wide and shallow – imagine the outline of a chequebook and you’ll get an idea of the shape of the boot. Bulky bags may need to be stored vertically. Plus, the seats are heavy and removing them isn’t easy, but if you need a truly vast carrying capacity, 3,200 litres can be unlocked by heaving them out – and that’s only measured to the window line. The long-wheelbase version promises even more space, but will be somewhat bulky to live with.
Reliability & safety
No operator of vans will want its fleet to suffer from excessive downtime and as such commercial vehicles are typically designed to have as few potential failure points as possible. With that in mind, much of the technology found under the metal of the Traveller is pretty simple and its engines have been proven with high mileages accumulated by van drivers all over Europe.
Neither of the Traveller’s sister models, the Citroen SpaceTourer and Toyota Proace Verso, has yet made an appearance in our annual Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, but we hope they will as their popularity increases. Peugeot itself presently ranks eighth overall out of 30 manufacturers surveyed, just behind sixth-placed Toyota and comfortably ahead of Citroen in 18th.
The Traveller’s safety is beyond any criticism, though. It holds a five-star rating from Euro NCAP, including an 87% score for adult passenger protection and an excellent 91% score for child protection. Thanks to autonomous emergency braking – which will apply the brakes if an oncoming hazard is detected – a 64% rating was given for pedestrian protection.
Lane-departure warning, road-sign recognition, blind-spot monitoring and a driver drowsiness monitor improve safety on long journeys – as does active cruise control, and these helped the Traveller to gain a 78% Euro NCAP rating for driver assistance.