First Drive: Peugeot Boxer

Date: Tuesday, May 23, 2017   |   Author: James Dallas

Price (ex VAT) £27,610
Price range (ex VAT) 21,510-£30,970
Insurance 38E
Warranty 3yrs/100,000mls
Service intervals 24,000mls
Load length 3,705mm
Load width (min/max) 1,422/1,870mm
Load bay height 1,932mm
Load volume 13m3
Gross payload 1,485kg
Engine size/power 1,997cc/130hp
Combined fuel economy 44.1mpg
CO2 168g/km

Peugeot completed the roll-out of Euro6 engines into its van line-up when the big Boxer was given the technology in September 2016 with the introduction of the 2.0-litre BlueHDi diesel engine to the model.

Although the Boxer and the Citroen Relay are built alongside Fiat Professional’s Ducato, the PSA brands install their own engines and the 2.0-litre unit replaces the 2.2 diesel previously used.

The new powertrain is available with outputs of 110, 130 and 160hp, the last of which replaces the 150hp version of the old 2.2 engine. Peugeot offers the Boxer with a choice of four lengths and three roof heights. We tested an L3H2 435 model with the core 130hp drivetrain. The manufacturer claims this derivative of the Euro6 range delivers a 30% CO2 reduction compared to its Euro5 equivalent.

The BlueHDi engine relies on Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology, which requires a 15-litre AdBlue tank to be re-filled about every 6,200 miles.

Our van has official fuel consumption of 44.1mpg with CO2 emissions of 168g/km. The most frugal 335 130hp model with stop/start manages a claimed 47.1mpg combined with CO2 emissions of 159g/km.

These figures stand up well to the competition: Vauxhall quotes 39.2mpg and 186g/km for its F35002.3CDTI Biturbo L3H2 Blueinjection Movano with stop/start, and VW’s new Crafter is tagged at 38.2mpg and 193g/km for a C35 medium-wheelbase high-roof version.
Ford’s 350 L3H2 FWD Transit comes with official stats of 40.4mpg and 182g/km.

The Boxer panel van is available in Standard and Professional trim levels with a £1,000 price hike between the two, and it is the former, entry-level model driven here.

The cab is functional but rather sprucely equipped. You do get DAB radio and Bluetooth with a USB connection as well as electric heated door mirrors and, most importantly, occupants are protected from objects that may come loose in the 13m3 load bay by a full steelbulkhead. But disappointingly for a van of this size you have to step up to Professional trim to get the rear parking sensor, otherwise it costs £200 (all prices exclude VAT) as an option.

Another useful safety aid, a lane-departure warning system, is only available as an option across all models, and will set you back £300. Professional trim does come with a touchscreen with integrated satnav, cruise control and manual air-conditioning, however.

The Boxer feels rugged and unrefined in comparison to rivals such as the Transit, Crafter, Iveco Daily and even Fiat Professional’s Ducato. It remains an out-and-out commercial vehicle rather than a van with car-like pretensions. Getting into the cab is facilitated by grab handles and a comfortably low step, and once inside and preparing to set off the first thing likely to strike the driver is that the handbrake is not where you expect it to be: it is located low down on the right between the seat and the door. The sit-up-and-beg driving position is made more manageable by rake- and reach-adjustable steering.

The middle passenger seat offers little legroom due to the positioning of an oddments tray and double drinks holder in front of it, and is more useful as a drop-down desk that incorporates small and large cup holders.

A handy clipboard sits atop the dash above the radio and there are plenty of open storage compartments in the cab, including an overhead shelf and deep bins in the doors. Less practical is the small, unlockable glove box, but there is space to conceal small objects out of sight underneath the passenger seat.

The dashboard houses a 12V plug but the aux-in socket is situated low down and is hard to reach. The six-speed manual gear change is reasonably slick and there is a shift indicator on the instrument panel to discourage holding onto gears too long, but the engine does tend to get intrusively noisy on motorway journeys.

The load bay contains a useful storage shelf that sits above the cab area and it’s good to see a rubber protective floor covering and ply-lined walls too. There are six tie-down points on the floor and five on the walls due to the presence of a nearside sliding door. Security is enhanced by the key fob enabling the load area and cab to be locked individually


Verdict


The Boxer is impressively frugal but lacks the refinement of more recently launched heavy vans.

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