The entry-level engine option for the Peugeot Expert is a 1.6 litre diesel delivering 90bhp. This is paired with a five-speed manual gearbox. Alternatively, a 2.0 litre engine is available delivering either 128bhp or 163bhp, depending on the exact configuration. These are paired with a six-speed gearbox, with an option for an automatic version available on the 163bhp version. Surprisingly, both manual 2.0 litre configurations have slightly better fuel-economy figures than the 1.6 litre version - 44.1mpg, regardless of the state of tune, compared to 42.2mpg for the smaller engine.
Multiple options for both length and height provide three different loading capacities. The smallest Expert offers five cubic metres of loading space, the next option up provides six cubic metres and the largest provides seven cubic metres. Payloads for these different size options range from 1,000kg to 1,200kg.
In terms of additional features, the Peugeot Expert is a little more bare-bones than many competing models from other companies. As standard, cab features are limited to useful basics such as electric windows and mirrors. Upgrading to the professional spec adds a few extras, some of which are also available as individual options, such as a stereo with USB and Bluetooth functionality, air conditioning and a full steel bulkhead. Safety features available include ATV grip control and electronic stability control (though the latter is included as standard if you opt for the highest-powered engine).
Positives and Negatives
The Peugeot Expert is a capable van. It provides decent capacities and payloads for its size class, and the range of body options and sizes gives extra versatility to choose a van that can handle the things you are likely to throw at it.
Driving the Expert is a pleasant experience. The smaller 1.6 litre engine is likely to appeal only to town drivers. It feels lacking at high speeds and needs to be revved hard to maintain dual carriageway or motorway speeds, which is loud and bad for fuel economy. It is nonetheless a capable engine in applications where this is not likely to be a problem, and choosing either of the larger options will eliminate these concerns and result in a van more suited to high speeds and long distances. If you opt for the automatic gearbox available with the most powerful engine, you will find it smooth and responsive, though it does noticeably sap fuel economy.
Other aspects of the driving experience are more consistently pleasant. Pneumatic, height-adjustable rear suspension is nice to have, and the suspension set-up as a whole provides a comfortable ride even with heavy loads. There is a considerable, but not excessive, amount of body lean on corners, but other than this handling and road holding are good. Body roll can be reduced by upgrading to air suspension, which is an option on 2.0 litre models. The hydraulic power steering has been set up well, helping out enough to make steering easy while still providing a good amount of feel.
The cab is somewhat lacking. It is definitely showing its age, with a lack of features included as standard and not as many as you will find in some of the van's rivals, even when options are included. Storage space in the cab is also somewhat lacking. In other ways, however, the cab is well designed. The driver's seat is perfectly positioned to give a good view while making it easy to get in and out, and the seats themselves are comfortable. Things can get a bit cramped, however, if you have a third passenger on the centre seat.
The Peugeot Expert is undeniably solid and practical as a commercial vehicle. It is important to choose the right configuration for your needs - especially when it comes to engine size - but with this done you will find it lacking in only minor ways and very strong in some more important ones.