Peugeot Expert van review
The Peugeot Expert has recently been updated, with improved engines and a remodelled front and available in two lengths and roof heights
A recent facelift has breathed new life into the Peugeot Expert van range, which has been on sale for a long time. The refresh updated the looks slightly and introduced improved engines, although the Expert panel van still comes in L1 short-wheelbase and L2 long-wheelbase guises, both with the H1 standard roof height. The L2 offers an extended roof height in H2 spec, too.
There are also standard and higher-spec Professional versions of the panel van. In addition, buyers have the option of a crew van, with a second row of seats and a bulkhead to separate occupants from the load area, while Peugeot offers a window van version, featuring three rows of seating and full glazing.
The van also forms the basis of the Expert Tepee people carrier, which is a popular choice for taxi fleets as it offers masses of space and seats up to nine people. And like many vans of this size, the Expert is often used for camper conversions.
Whatever you’re using your Expert for, entry-level models feature the proven PSA Peugeot Citroen 1.6-litre HDi diesel engine, which delivers 90bhp. There are also 128bhp and 163bhp versions of the 2.0-litre HDi, with the latter only offered in the regular panel van.
As with the near-identical Citroen Dispatch, the lower-powered Expert comes with a five-speed manual gearbox, with more potent 2.0-litre models featuring a six-speed set-up. However, unlike Citroen, Peugeot offers an automatic transmission – this six-speed option is exclusive to the 163bhp Expert. Plus, 130bhp models are available with the company’s ATV grip control system, which promises additional traction on muddy building sites.
MPG and Running Costs
In the entry-level Expert, the combination of the 90bhp 1.6-litre diesel and five-speed gearbox delivers fuel consumption of 42.2mpg and 177g/km CO2 emissions. But surprisingly, the more powerful vans are cleaner and more efficient. The 128bhp version of the 2.0-litre engine, with its six-speed manual box, promises 44.1mpg and 168g/km, while Peugeot claims exactly the same fuel consumption and emissions figures for the 163bhp manual van.
Specify the automatic 163bhp model, and you can expect 39.2mpg fuel economy and 189g/km of CO2. The ATV grip control system is an electronic traction device, rather than a heavy four-wheel-drive transmission, so it doesn’t affect fuel efficiency. Longer service intervals add to the financial appeal of the 2.0 HDi Expert; it only needs a dealer check-up every two years or 20,000 miles, compared to every year or 10,000 miles for the 1.6 HDi. And insurance group ratings are competitive across the line-up, ranging from group 6E to 7E.
Load Space and Practicality
The Expert offers a load volume of 5.0 cubic metres in L1H1 trim, while the L2H1 and L2H2 versions provide 6.0 and 7.0 metres of space respectively. That’s on par with the class-leading Ford Transit Custom, which has load volumes of between 5.9 and 6.8 cubic metres across its line-up of short and long-wheelbase, standard-roof models.
Payloads on the Expert range from 1,000kg to 1,200kg, and the van can pull braked trailers of between 1,453kg and 2,000kg. The L2H1 is available as a crew van, providing seating for three behind the driver. A fixed full-height bulkhead separates passengers from the 3.6 cubic metre load area, while the crew van has a 1,000kg payload. Standard Expert panel vans have to make do with a ladder frame behind the driver’s seat, although buyers upgrading to Professional spec get a full steel bulkhead as part of a great-value bundle of extra kit.
Stick with the regular panel van, and the full bulkhead is a £130 option. Or pay £150, and you can get the bulkhead fitted, along with a glazed window. Loading is easy whichever Expert you go for, as twin sliding side doors feature as standard. And as with its Citroen Dispatch sister van, the Peugeot gets the option of rear air suspension, so users can adjust the height of the rear end to make loading even more straightforward. This costs £410 extra, and is available on all but the most basic 1.6-litre L1H1 model. Plus, for extra security, all vans have eight tie-down hooks in the load compartment.
Reliability and Safety
Expert models with the 163bhp diesel engine get ESC (electronic stability control) as standard, but disappointingly it’s only an option on 130bhp versions. And buyers of the 90bhp, 1,000kg payload van can’t specify the safety equipment at all. Drivers considering the £300 ESC option on a 130bhp L1H1 Expert might want to think about the ATV grip control system. This £600 extra includes ESC, and provides even more security in slippery conditions. A dial on the dashboard gives a choice of five settings: as well as road mode (for regular driving, with the ESC switched on), there are mud, snow, sand and ESC off modes. The ATV system uses an electronic differential in conjunction with the ABS brakes to allow varying degrees of wheel slip. This helps the van find traction in difficult road conditions.
Peugeot doesn’t offer full four-wheel drive on the Expert, but ATV grip control is a decent alternative for drivers with businesses in rural areas who face muddy tracks or severe snow. Vans equipped with ATV also feature mud and snow tyres and extra protection under the engine, and are marked out by their 10mm raised suspension and lack of wheel trims.
Driving and Performance
Van drivers choosing the smallest Expert will find the 90bhp 1.6 HDi adequate enough for light loads and town use. But those buying a van with a larger body for carrying bigger loads – and those who regularly do long distances – should definitely consider one of the 2.0-litre models, with their six-speed gearbox. And if the budget allows, the 163bhp HDi will be a strong choice for most, as it promises the same fuel consumption and emissions as the 130bhp van, but comes with ESC as standard.
Perhaps not so tempting is the six-speed automatic transmission offered with the 163bhp diesel. Although it’s very smooth, and provides swift gearchanges and seamless acceleration, it hampers efficiency and adds £1,000 to the price.
Cab and Interior
Compared with the latest Ford Transit Custom and Volkswagen Transporter, the Peugeot Expert is a fairly basic van. All models come with a one-touch electric driver’s side window, as well as electric mirrors, but the cab interior is showing its age and has few of the storage solutions found in the Ford. Popular L1H1 versions of the Expert are available in Professional spec.
This brings air-conditioning, a full steel bulkhead and a Peugeot Connect USB stereo with Bluetooth connectivity for a £460 premium over the standard panel van. That looks great value for money when you consider that air-conditioning is an £800 option on its own. The Peugeot Connect stereo is another £180 on regular vans. Buyers can add Connect Navigation with Bluetooth for £650 extra.
|L1H1 Window van||1,980mm||1,986mm||4,805mm|
|L2H1 Window van||1,980mm||1,986mm||5,135mm|
|L2H2 Window van||2,290mm||1,986mm||5,135mm|
|L2H1 Crew van||1,980mm||1,986mm||5,135mm|
(Width is body width at widest point. Width including mirrors: 2,194mm)
Load area dimensions
|L1H1 Window van||1,449mm||1,602mm||2,254mm||5.0m3|
|L2H1 Window van||1,449mm||1,602mm||2,584mm||6.0m3|
|L2H2 Window van||1,750mm||1,602mm||2,584mm||7.0m3|
|L2H1 Crew van||1,449mm||1,602mm||1,700mm||3.6m3|
(Widths are maximum. Width between wheel arches: 1,250mm)
- Power: 90bhp – 163bhp
- Weight (GVW): 2,661kg – 2,998kg
- Payload: 988kg – 1,204kg
- Loading height (approx, unladen) : 500-540mm