James Dallas is getting to like the cut of the Expert’s jib, despite a couple of eccentricities
When driving a panel van with the potential to lug weighty loads, such as our Expert Crew Van, which has a generous payload of 1,342kg, it’s reassuring to know a full bulkhead is in place at the back of the cabin to protect the occupants from anything that may come loose in the load bay and hurtle forward into the seating section.
With a full solid bulkhead, however, you have to rely on your wing mirrors to see what’s going on behind the van.
While the side-plate sized mirrors on my Professional trim model are adequate for most situations there are blind spots, and it would be reassuring if the mirrors contained a wide-view section. Irritatingly, the redundant rear-view mirror inside the cabin has not been removed.
It makes you realise how useful the Renault Trafic’s Wide View Mirror is as a safety aid. Set in the passenger side sun visor it gives the driver a better view to the rear.
My Expert does have a reversing sensor with a visual image to accompany it on the dashboard, but it’s rudimentary and can be slow to wake up when reverse is selected.
Stepping up from Professional to Professional Plus trim costs £3,120 (all prices exclude VAT) and brings with it Park Assist 180, consisting of front and rear parking sensors with blind spot monitoring and a rear-view camera.
Unfortunately, the package is not listed as an option for Professional-spec vans while the Safety Pack, which includes lane departure warning along with speed limit recognition, intelligent speed adaptation and driver attention alert, is only available as an option, for £400, on Professional Plus vans.
Expert Crew Van Professional STD BlueHDi 120
Official combined consumption 50.4mpg
Our average consumption 36.0mpg
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: Driver visibility
The side mirrors could be better and you have to step up to Professional Plus trim to get the most useful driver assist features.
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