Expert Advice | Van Review

Peugeot strengthens its focus on the Australian LCV market

European mid-size vans have taken the fight to the established Asian brands in recent years and the reasons are easy to understand. European vans have long enjoyed a reputation for incorporating higher levels of safety, improved standards of ride and handling and for offering more comfort to minimise driver fatigue. They’re also easier to get in and out of and they are very fuel-efficient.

All of these characteristics come together in the newly-launched Peugeot Expert mid-size van.

A European favourite, the Expert is sold in several guises in Europe – even wearing a Toyota badge – underlining its fundamental dynamic, load-carrying and reliability strengths.

For Australia, Peugeot has specified the Expert with a high level of standard equipment, particularly in the areas of safety and cabin amenities.

Cabin entry and exit is a breeze, a very important consideration for couriers and other drivers who are in-and-out of their vehicle many times each day.

The engine is very quiet in operation, which in addition to reducing fatigue makes the driving experience much more car-like, especially for those drivers spending all day behind the wheel. A refined and quieter environment in the cabin also benefits conversation when on the phone (using the built-in Bluetooth connectivity, of course).

Seldom do you find two drivers that like exactly the same driving position and personal preferences for leg and arm length are easily accommodated in the Expert through a highly adjustable driver’s seat. Storage in the cab is also take care of through a plethora of cubby and stowage areas, including a flip-up seat with a secure (and insulated) box for keeping high-value items safe. It also identifies the Expert as being the perfect support for drivers needing a mobile office.

“The Peugeot Expert lifts the bar across a wide range of owner experiences,” said Lyndon Healey, Commercial Vehicles Manager for Peugeot Australia.

“With decades of experience in building mid-size vans, Peugeot understands the needs of owners and drivers. Safety, comfort and operating economy are key drivers in the design and specification process and the Expert provides that little bit more across all these areas. It does everything well and is a great all-rounder.”

The Expert range opens with the ‘BlueHDi 115’ powered by a 1.6-litre turbo-diesel engine producing 85 kW and 300 Nm of torque mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Two further engine options are offered, the first being the ‘HDi 150’ which comes in standard and long body forms, powered by a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder producing 110 kW and 370 Nm of torque. This is available with a choice of manual transmission with the standard body length, and with an automatic transmission in standard and long body lengths.

The top-of-the-range ‘BlueHDi 180’ is available only with the 130 kW/400 Nm engine option as a long body automatic transmission variant.

Supporting the Peugeot efficiency drive to lower emissions and fuel consumption, the entry 115 model offers combined cycle test fuel figures of 5.2-litres per 100km, while the manual 150 turns in 6.2 l/100km and 6.4 l/100km as an auto. The sporty top-of-the-range 180 variant shows the efficiency of the additional torque to post fuel use of just 6.2 l/100km.

Standard features throughout the range include low-speed autonomous emergency braking, adaptive-cruise control, speed-sign recognition, blind-spot monitoring, high-beam assist, front and rear parking sensors. The rear-view camera creates a static 180-degree view of the vehicle’s surroundings, so that drivers can watch the side and rear of the vehicle to avoid unpleasant parking scrapes.

Further useful features include a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, automatic headlights and wipers, and the handy ‘Moduwork’ through-loading bulkhead that provides an extra 1150 mm of cargo length to accommodate pipes, timber beams and other long objects within the vehicle.

“If you’re after the most fuel-efficient version the Expert 115 is the natural choice. Moving up the range we have the Expert 150 which brings more torque, while the 180 variant really flies with 400Nm on tap. The extra space, strong torque output and the highest towing capacity of the range at 2.2-tonne, makes it the choice for heavy-duty operators,” Lyndon said.

“The Expert is very car-like to drive, because it’s built on Peugeot’s multi-talented EMP2 platform used for passenger cars, people movers and SUVs. The marques design and engineering ability also enables it to access all the latest high-tech electronic systems, for convenience features and safety devices.

“The van market has become more sophisticated in recent times and where previously some tradies were driving double-cab utes, now they are realising the practical advantages of a mid-size van that can tow in excess of 2-tonne. You’re saving fuel, you’re in a comfortable and spacious mobile office environment, and the gear in the back is safe from prying eyes and light fingers.

“Plus, with a full-length roof rack there’s plenty of space on top. Some tradespeople don’t like leaving their tools in the trailer while they are working onsite, so having the ability to lock everything up in a nice steel vault gives them a lot more peace-of-mind,” Lyndon added.

Continuing the reassurance theme, Peugeot provides all Expert vans with a five-year/200,000 km factory warranty.

When it comes to loading and carrying the big stuff the Expert has its advantages, with very small rear wheel-arch intrusions to ensure you can load Aussie pallets with the minimum of fuss through the barn doors. Attention has also been paid to the ride and handling of the Expert with a high degree of ride control provided by the rear suspension, even when carrying maximum payloads and negotiating corners at speed.

The Peugeot Expert measures up at 4959 mm long, 2010 mm wide and up to 1930 mm high, meaning an easy fit into a car-size parking space.  The long version comes in at 5309 mm, with overall height stretching to 1935 mm on the 180 variant. Both standard and long bodies have an identical wheelbase at 3725 mm and a tight 12.4 m turning circle.

Inside the load area, the Expert takes 1258 mm width of cargo between the wheel arches and has a useable load length of 2512 mm and 2862 mm depending on body. When the through-loading Moduwork flap is in use, items as long as 3674 mm or a tidy 4024 mm can be stowed. The standard body offers a cargo volume of up to 5.3 cu.m, while the long body version takes 6.1 cu.m, with an additional 0.5 cu.m added when the Moduwork system is employed.

The 180 top-of-the-range variant has a payload of 1250 kg and can tow 2.2-tonne, while the 150 variant can carry 1300 kg and tow 1500 kg.

“Peugeot is serious about carving out a significant share of the light commercial van market in Australia, and the Expert mid-size van will lead that effort,” said Lyndon.

Peugeot is now one of Europe’s largest volume van manufacturers, and we have great product that’s driver-friendly, fitted with all the latest equipment and backed by a stout 5-year/200,000 km factory warranty, so you have little to worry about when laying down your hard earned.

“Our dealer network around Australia stands ready to assist van operators take a step into a higher level of comfort and safety. Before you buy another average mid-size van, give an Expert a test,” Lyndon added.

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