By Nick Jones
I suppose you could lump all the vans on the road today into three categories, small, medium and large.
Taking Peugeot as the example, there is the small Partner, the Expert in the middle and the humongous Boxer.
The relatively modest size of the Expert seems to make it the purist’s choice and Peugeot has upped its payload capacity, offering customers some good cubic metres to shunt around.
The Expert comes in normal or long wheel base and with either standard or a high roofs.
You then have a choice of payloads, either a 1,000kg or a 1,200kg payload, so the permutations are many.
Diversity in the line-up means something for everyone.
Peugeot uses HDi diesel engines, available as 1.6-litre 90bhp with a five-speed gearbox, 2.0-litre HDI that churns out 120bhp with a good slug of torque (over 220Nm) at only 2,000 revs per minute, and the range-topping 136bhp engine that has even more torque, making sure whatever you may be carrying the Expert doesn’t start to feel lethargic on the road.
Top speed is a creditable 110mph, with 0-60mph taking 11.7 seconds.
All the engines are refined but if you can afford the 2.0-litre I would say that’s probably the better option. However, if you’re not lumping heavy loads long distances then the 1.6-litre will be adequate.
Expect good fuel returns also, high 30mpg to be precise, thanks to the slippery shape and ergonomics the Expert van adopts.
In the cabin, the diesel engine is smooth and quiet, particularly when you slot it into sixth when it becomes a relaxed cruiser – almost car-like.
Internally the cab area has lots of space and a bench-like seat to carry two passengers.
The steering column adjusts for both reach and rake,
There is a CD/stereo, electric windows and twin sliding side doors. On the options list you can add the likes of air conditioning, parking sensors, hands free kit for your phone and even pneumatic rear suspension. These will, however, ramp the price up.
At the back, the load bay itself is square and the wheel arches don’t eat into the load space. There are plenty of fixing points and lashing eyes and, usefully, the rear bumper sits low to make laoding easier.
Depending upon which model you go for, you can carry between 5 and 7 metres cubed, and with prices starting at £15,720 plus VAT, now might be a good time to call in an Expert.