BOXING CLEVER | Van Review – Peugeot Boxer

Peugeot now adds the third piece to its small to medium van collection.

Peugeot is now making significant traction in the van segment as buyers come to appreciate the often quirky, but always stylish, approach of this French manufacturer to the task of shifting goods in an urban environment.

The Boxer takes Peugeot on a new route, moving into a higher weight and larger volume segment than the mid-range Expert and the small van equivalent, the Partner.

Available in two body lengths and featuring over 11.5 m3 (13 m3 for long body) of cargo volume, and with a maximum load length of 3.1-3.7 metres, the Boxer has been designed to ensure a high level of reliability and endurance, compatible with intensive use in service.

Like its smaller stablemates, the Boxer arrives with drivers and occupants in mind and plenty of standard features that include autonomous emergency braking (AEB), reverse camera, rear parking sonar and four airbags (driver and passenger airbags, with thorax airbags for both occupants).

First launched in 2014 in Europe, Boxer has been the beneficiary of more than four-million kilometres of testing, development and improvements in what the company describes as some of the most extreme conditions, covering full load, half load and empty situations, on all types of roads, including poor surfaces and mountainous areas.

It sounds as though Peugeot engineers and designers threw everything they could find at the Boxer to prove reliability and durability including spending 1500 hours at temperatures from -20°C to +40°C to ensure resistance to ageing of components and materials used in mechanical, plastic and electronic parts. Added to that little epic was 1000 crossings through 100 mm of water, or 30 mm through saltwater spray jets, with no washing of the vehicle during the following 1000 km, to validate the sealing and resistance to corrosion.

The 500,000 door opening test cycles were carried out at temperatures of –30°C to +80°C, representing an intensive use of what it might endure in over 10 years of ownership. On top of that, the Boxer successfully completed a test of 16,000 thermal shocks (cold starting and accelerations) corresponding to 15 years of intensive use. A bit like living in Siberia.

By now you might be wondering if this is the first van to come out of Europe on steroids, but while it doesn’t show off a six pack and bulging biceps, on the basis of its heritage it’s undoubtedly a lot stronger than some of the competition.

Furthermore, the all-new 2.0-litre BlueHDi diesel engine was tested for over 10,000 hours and subjected to over 1,300,000 kilometres of driving tests to prove the drivetrain capability in the real-world.

There are two models in the Boxer world, a standard-length version and a long wheelbase model. Both feature the same turbocharged 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine producing 120 kW at 3500 rpm and with peak torque of 310 Nm rated at 1500 rpm.  Currently there’s just one transmission available which is a six-speed manual and the emissions conform to the environmentally friendlier Euro6 limits.

The width of the cargo area comes in at 1870 mm reducing to 1420 mm between the wheel arches and access is through sliding doors on each side of the body, plus the wide-opening rear door.

Dimensions here are 1755 mm high and 1250 mm wide for side sliders, and 1790 mm high and 1562 mm wide for the rear barn doors. The “does it fit in my garage?” question depends on your shed being longer than 5413 mm if you by the standard-length body, or 5998 mm if you go for the longer wheelbase. Just make sure the roller door rises to above 2522 mm and you won’t have a nasty moment.

Both vans pull up courtesy of disc brakes all round and they turn in a circle dimensionally of 12.6 metres or 14.2 metres, with both able to tow equal weights of 2500 kg for a braked trailer, with payloads being 1645 kg or 1595 kg respectively.

Diesel engines with Euro6 emissions levels bring with them better fuel economy than the outgoing Euro5 alternatives and both vans record combined consumption figures of 6.4 l/100 km, with an extra urban figure of 6.1 l/100 km or an urban figure of 6.9 l/100 km. Carbon dioxide emissions levels are running at 168 g/km for the combined cycle.

It’s great to see vans incorporating an increasing range of safety features as standard fitment and the Boxer is no exception. We’ve mentioned the inclusion of autonomous emergency braking (V-AEB) but added to that is a forward collision warning system, lane-departure warning system, ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution and emergency braking assistance and electronic stability control. The driver and passenger both get airbag protection, together with front side curtain airbags and front seat belt pre-tensioners.

Protecting the rear of the van when reversing are park sensors, backing up a rear vision camera. There’s cruise control and a speed limiter, electric windows, air conditioning and a folding driver’s armrest plus lumbar adjustment for the front seats.

Gauges and dials are all standard fair when it comes to driver expectations, with storage locations on the upper part of the dashboard. A centre console with phone storage and two cup holders is supplemented by a further cup holder, and the 5.0-inch touch-sensitive screen of the infotainment system controls the in-built navigation system, while facilitating Bluetooth handsfree phone operation and media streaming.

Australia’s thieving community is a bit slack when it comes to stealing from vans, but this is a real problem in Europe where unless something is bolted down, chained and padlocked it will probably get nicked overnight.

It’s for this reason that European vans have full steel bulkheads and rarely feature side windows in the cargo area doors, preferring the added security of steel panels.  Similarly, the reason the central locking operates automatically on vehicle start up is to prevent yet more villains from climbing in the back of the van while it waits at traffic lights, sorting out what they want to steal and then departing through the back doors at a further convenient stop with their ill-gotten gains.

Pricing varies dependent on state and location but quoted pricing for the standard wheelbase version comes in around the $51,680 drive away which at the time of checking included three years free servicing. Option up to the long wheelbase version and the cost rose to $53,225 for the same parameters of drive-away pricing and three years free servicing. Move the purchase location from QLD to NSW and the quote rose to $51,974 and $53,549 respectively.

Remember that the Boxer is a step up the ladder from the typical large medium van and with 11.5 to 13 cubic metres of cargo space it’s ranking up there with the smaller versions of the Sprinter, the larger versions of the LDV V90 and the mid-sized versions of the IVECO Daily.

Add in the drive-away pricing and three free years of servicing, plus the range of safety features, which are all included at no additional cost and the future for the Boxer is looking rather rosy. The lack of an automatic transmission means you will have to wiggle the stick on your journey, but the high level of sophistication may just be sufficient to tempt buyers to give this upmarket French van a good work out.

A full drive evaluation will appear shortly in Delivery Magazine.

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