While the Expert, Citroen Dispatch and Toyota Proace are the same under the skin the Peugeot has the most aggressive front end and, in my opinion, it’s hard to beat for looks.
The Dispatch’s soft, friendly face has an undoubted charm but I’m taken with the more assertive look of the Expert, with its prominent and aggressive grille in which the Peugeot lion comes to the fore in a new three-dimensional arrangement.
From the inside it’s hard to tell the PSA models apart.
What does take some getting used to is the big, chunky, rectangular gear knob that initially feels outlandish compared to most others you come across. But get used to it you do and I now like the robust impression it conveys and, more importantly, the fact that it connects well with the slick six-speed manual gearbox.
Also odd is the big, thick steering wheel, which is squared off at the bottom. I was disconcerted at first to notice it sits slightly off-centre to the driving position; rather than facing it straight on it is positioned to the driver’s left.
Perhaps more disconcerting still, however, is how quickly I began to feel this arrangement to be perfectly natural, helped, no doubt, by the Expert’s first-rate handling.
A couple of other eccentricities though, are more irritating. It is, of course, helpful to be kept informed of changing speed restrictions but why such a startlingly loud alert?
More annoying still is the double dong that lets you know, in case you hadn’t already noticed, that you are approaching a red light. Then there’s the pedestrian warning that kicks in on the same spot of London’s South Circular road every day whether anyone’s around on foot or not.
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: Style and design
The Expert is a handsome van that, apart from a couple of quirks, successfully combines style with functionality.
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