This latest addition to the What Van? fleet can ferry the family and lug a load, as James Dallas starts to find out...
PSA Peugeot-Citroen needed to up its game in the medium van sector to give accomplished rivals such as the Ford Transit Custom, VW Transporter, Renault Trafic, Vauxhall Vivaro and Mercedes-Benz Vito a run for their money, and with the launch of the new Peugeot Expert and Citroen Dispatch in 2016 it succeeded in doing so.
Built at PSA’s plant in Sevelnord, France, the two vans are identical under the skin and the production line also hosts Toyota’s Proace-badged version of the model.
Having driven several iterations of the panel van we were keen to find out how the Expert shapes up as a crew van over a longer period.
Seating up to six, the Expert Crew Van is available in one roof height of 1.90m and two lengths, 4.95m or 5.30m. Unlike the standard panel van it is not offered in Compact (4.60m) guise.
The new addition to our long-term fleet is the Standard BlueHDi (medium-wheelbase) 2.0-litre 120hp Crew Van in Professional trim.
Although not as versatile as a Combi, which can carry from two to nine people depending on how you configure the seats, this double-cab will appeal to customers who need to ferry family members or a team of workers, as well as requiring a regular load-lugging capability, so it’s reassuring to find the cab is protected from the cargo box by a sturdy, full-sized bulkhead – something you don’t get in the more minibus-like Combi.
The van offers a generous payload of 1,342kg and a reasonably practical 3.2m3 load space. By way of comparison, Ford’s Transit Custom Double-Cab-in-Van L1H1 provides a payload of just 890kg combined with a slightly more spacious load box of 3.5m3. Vauxhall’s L1H1 Vivaro Crew Van has a 989kg payload and a load space in line with the Expert at 3.2m3.
In all its guises the Expert impresses when it comes to fuel economy. Our Crew van boasts official stats of 50.4mpg on the combined cycle with CO2 emissions of 147g/km. These figures leave the competition trailing in its wake.
For the aforementioned Custom DCiV, Ford cites combined mpg of 44.8 alongside CO2 of 163g/km while the Vivaro Crew Van delivers an official 43.4mpg with CO2 of 170g/km.
It should be noted, however, that a revised Custom will arrive later this year and that the Vivaro, like the Renault Trafic it is based upon, is now one of the oldest models in the sector. Ironically, the next Vivaro could feasibly, like the Toyota Proace, be a rebadged version of the Expert and its Citroen Dispatch sibling following PSA’s acquisition of Opel/Vauxhall.
Peugeot offers the Expert Crew Van in Professional and Professional Plus trim levels and I do not feel too hard done by to have the lower of these specifications.
A generous level of standard kit includes aircon, rear parking sensors (the minimum requirement for urban assignments in my opinion), electrically-adjustable heated door mirrors, cruise control with a variable speed limiter, front electric windows with a one-touch operation and, unusually these days, a full-size spare wheel.
Auto lights and windscreen wipers are par for the course on modern vans but it’s good to see the rear seats can be accessed via sliding doors on both sides of the vehicle, which is not always a given.
Both the cargo area and cab get 12V sockets, and infotainment is served by a seven-inch touchscreen on the dash, with DAB, Bluetooth, USB, audio jack and MirrorLink for pairing mobiles for hands-free use also included in the package.
The steering wheel is adjustable for height, rake and reach and the driver’s seat tilts, goes up and down and backwards and forwards too.
There is a £3,120 (all prices exclude VAT) step up to the equivalent Professional Plus Crew Van, which costs £28,335, and for this you get body-colour bumpers, door mirrors, handles and side-rubbing strips, LED daytime running lights, alloy wheels and metallic paint. Park Assist 180 with front and rear parking sensors, a rear parking camera and electrically folding door mirrors are also added, as is Peugeot’s Connect 3D satnav system, which our van has as a £500 option along with Grip Control enhanced traction for £660.
Expert Crew Van Professional STD BlueHDi 120
Official combined consumption 50.4mpg
Our average consumption 34.9mpg
Price (ex VAT) £25,215
Price range (ex VAT) £19,090–£31,435
Service intervals 25,000mls
Load length 2,017mm
Load width (min/max) 1,258/1,618mm
Load bay height 1,337mm
Gross payload 1,342kg
Load volume 3.2m3
Gearbox 6-spd manual
Engine size/power 1,997cc/120hp
Report Card: Equipment
Peugeot has adorned the Crew Van with a generous helping of kit