Expert 2.0 HDi 130 ATV
Line for Business has just
revealed that Britains
plumbers, electricians and other
tradespeople are living out of their
vans: using them as mobile offices
from where they manage their
business, take tea-breaks, and play
computer games (some are even
kitted out with Xboxes and PS3s)
and one in ten admit to using their
van as a bedroom!
PEUGEOT'S EXPERT RANGE of vans could make the ideal home-from-home for busy
tradespeople who can't spare the time to return to base every night. Three body
styles are available
the traditional panel van, a window van and a crew van. As their names imply,
the panel van is mostly for carrying cargo, the window model more MPV-ish, and
the crew version designed for up to six workmates and their equipment.
While we don't usually review vans, given the state of the property market we
thought we'd look into this new trend. Furthermore, active lifestyle SUV customers
who need to carry a great deal of bulky outdoor and sporting equipment might
also consider an all-singing, all-dancing dual-usage van with all-terrain capabilities.
'phone call later it's sorted, and an Expert panel van is delivered to our door.
It's finished in gleaming white paintwork with a very car-like nose. For the
record, you don't have to be a 'white' van man
you could also have an Expert in blue, red, or black; or even aluminium or iron
Vans have come on a bit
looks-wise in recent
years and this
new sharp-nosed Expert
model is surprisingly
Inside, the cabin
architecture could have
come right out of a
passenger car its well
trimmed, spacious and
Vans have come on a bit looks-wise in recent years and this new, sharp-nosed
Expert model is surprisingly nifty looking. Inside, the cabin architecture could
have come right out of a passenger car
it's well trimmed, spacious and very liveable. The seats come in a 1+2 format
which works well: left of the driver is a two-person bench with enough shape
and centre bolstering to keep two nicely separated.
also extremely practical
cars generally seem to carry either a lone driver or a driver and two passengers.
In an Expert all three can travel in the front and chat agreeably instead of
the one in the back feeling as if they've been touched by the plague. And if
you're doing the school run, it's a great way to limit the damage to two instead
of four hyper kids!
The cloth seat-facings are cool in summer and warm in winter; the manual AirCon
belts out plenty of hot air and, especially welcome in the sticky summers that
now seem a fixture as established as cricket in the UK's calendar, plenty of
chilled when it will do the most good. The large, lockable glovebox is also
something you still won't find in every car. Something else you won't find in
a car either is the Expert's convenient full-width overhead storage compartment
that's handy for carrying all sorts of things.
The lightly bolstered seats come with decent lumbar support built-in and are
set high off the floor, which is not only good news for legs on long journeys
but also contributes to the excellent front and side visibility from the driving
seat. An added bonus: Range Rover and other big 4x4s lose their imperious air
when seen from the Expert's commanding driver's seat. It also makes it a piece
of cake to accurately place the 4.8-metre-long Expert on the road.
Getting behind the wheel, if you're not a regular van driver, is a bit of a
shock as the first thing you miss is a rear-view mirror. With a separate cargo
bay behind the full steel bulkhead and unglazed all-metal rear doors, there's
not much point. Fortunately the large door mirrors give a pretty good view as
to what, or who, is following you.
cabin plusses include masses of headroom (a good six inches for an average adult
male), plenty of adjustment for reach and height of the three-spoke steering
wheel, a height-adjustable driver's seat along with height-adjustable seatbelts.
One-shot up/down electric windows, power-adjustable door mirrors, drive-away
auto locking, tinted glass and a radio/CD all help make the cabin more car-like.
The 2.0-litre turbodiesel
pumps out 128bhp
backed up by 236lb ft of
torque. Its a gutsy
engine and you dont
need to wind it up to
make good progress.
The nice part is that the
gearchange action is
smooth and the gearlever
high-up and close to
your left hand...
instrument pack is straightforward with clear dials and foolproof column stalks
that also operate the cruise control and speed limiter (which doesn't let you
go above your pre-set speed). The on-board computer shows all the essential
driving data such as range, mpg and external temperature. Other useful features
include a storage tray under the passenger's seat and independent door locking
for the cab and/or the loadbay's four big doors.
The 2.0-litre turbodiesel under the bonnet of our test car pumped out 128bhp
backed up by 236lb ft of torque. It's a gutsy engine and you don't need to wind
it up to make good progress. The nice part is that the gearchange action is
smooth through the gate and it's all made even easier by the gearlever being
sited high-up and close to your left hand.
Getting to the benchmark 62mph takes 12.8 seconds and it maxes out at 99mph.
It's happy to cruise all day at the legal limit or higher, and pick-up in sixth
gear is fine if you need to overtake on motorways or dual-carriageways.
Officially this 128bhp Expert should average 44.1mpg (around the houses it's
37.1 and cruising the open road as much as 48.7mpg). We put our Expert to good
use, transferring a lot of our 'stuff' from one store to another. Consequently
our week's 500+ test miles were mostly spent heavily laden with plenty of quick
but we still saw an average of 40.8mpg. Pretty close to the official 44.1. And
A seriously worthwhile new feature of the latest Expert is its Grip Control
system. Intended to keep you moving when the weather turns seriously bad, it's
controlled by the driver using a rotary dial. Four driving modes are available:
mud; sand; snow; and regular ESP. Expert models equipped with this all-terrain
feature also get upgraded M&S (not Marks & Sparks but Mud-and-Snow) tyres, raised
suspension, and an under-engine protection tray.
course, the main reason you'd be looking at one of these is for its cargo carrying
abilities. Cars measure their boot capacity in litres; vans do it 'big-boy'
style in cubic metres, of which the Expert has five. Probably easier to grasp
if you imagine a box seven feet long by five feet wide and fifty inches high
that's the Expert's loadbay. It's no wonder people are living in them!
Cars measure their boot
capacity in litres;
vans do it in big-boy
cubic metres, of which
the Expert has five.
Probably easier to grasp
if you imagine a box
seven feet long by five
feet wide and
fifty inches high.
Thats the Experts
loadbay its no
wonder people are
living in them!
which you can pack a payload weighing 1,004kg. Getting it in is easy: there's
a sliding rear door either side (unglazed, so unlike an MPV or SUV, nobody can
look in to see what you're carrying and whether it's worth stealing) plus a
pair of side-hinged, unglazed all-metal rear doors that open to 180 degrees.
The cargo deck is at knee-height and, more helpfully, the easy open/close sliding
doors hold their open position even on hills.
Should you ever need it, you'll find a full-size spare beneath the boot floor
it's accessed externally. Finally, one life-extending option definitely worth
shelling out for is the loadbay 'side protection' that sees the cargo bay and
floor lined with hard-wearing, sweet-smelling ply. Nearly forgot
the Expert will tow 2,000kg with a braked trailer.
Actually it was very lucky that we were testing the Expert the week we did because
whilst driving along a dangerous, fast and busy country road, Maggie (one of
our very experienced test drivers) came round a bend to find a large, spooked
Rottweiler running loose in the road ahead of her. Fortunately she was able
to stop and, thanks to the big side doors and some help from a kindly driver
coming the other way, get the dog into the cargo bay before he got knocked down.
A quick trip to the local vet's for a chip-check saw 'Rottie' looking forward
to better days.
Which brings us to the Expert's handling and ride characteristics. As Rottie
proved, it brakes fluently and strongly. Plus it steers well, rides smoothly,
is easy to place and holds its line through bends, can get along at a fair lick
and is quiet at speed. It also drives as pleasantly as a car, particularly in
city traffic where you benefit from the high-seating and uninterrupted visibility.
Now, about that bedroom conversion…
Find out more about Direct Line for Business products or get a quote by calling
0845 301 4827 or visiting www.directline.com
Peugeot Expert 2.0 HDi 130 ATV
| £23,526 incl VAT
Top speed: 99mph | 0-62mph: 12.8 seconds | Average Test MPG: 40.8mpg
Power: 128bhp | Torque: 236lb ft | CO2 168g/km