Some fleet operators may not be fully aware, but just about every van on sale in the UK was revamped last year.
The reason was that, from last October, all had to have Euro 6 emissions standard engines. While some manufacturers simply installed a new, greener powerplant under the bonnet, others used the big event to add some extra improvements to their models.
With so many new offerings, it’s taken us a time to catch up with them.
This month we revisit the Peugeot Boxer, which now sports a 2.0-litre engine that offers better fuel economy and lower emissions than its predecessor. It also costs more.
The rule of thumb is that Euro 6 vans cost around £1,000 more than Euro 5 ones and offer, on average, around 15% better fuel economy. This means that, with AdBlue tanks that will have to be filled up every 7,000 miles or so, fleet operators should still just about save on wholelife costs over a 100,000-mile lifecycle of a van, while creating significantly less pollution, so we can’t complain about that too much.
Our test model weighs in at £27,610 ex-VAT and is the long wheelbase high-roof variant which offers a useful 13 cubic metres of loadspace and a payload of 1,435kg.
It’s powered by a 130PS turbodiesel engine which is slated to return a creditable 45.6mpg on the combined cycle, although as we always say, this figure is likely to drop appreciably with a big load on board or a driver with a heavy right foot.
In addition to the new engine, the Boxer has enhanced connectivity, making it easier for users to make their vehicles an extension of their offices. This amounts to a holder for a digital tablet or smartphone, a USB connection and a 12v socket on the instrument panel to power them.
The central glove compartment has now been replaced with a double cup-holder and a storage area.
Despite the fact that the Boxer was launched back in 2006 in this format, it still looks fresh and stylish, while general fit and finish are pretty much up with the rest of the more modern offerings. Mind you, when the new Volkswagen Crafter arrives later this year, the Boxer may begin feeling its age as the new German rival is set to move quite a few goalposts in the sector.
The Boxer’s cab is stylish, practical and comfortable, with lots of goodies that will be of use to busy drivers, such as a pull-down desk in the back of the middle seat and a pop-up document clip on top of the dash.
The driver’s seat is more like something you’d find in a sports car, hugging the figure all the way up and proving extremely supportive on long journeys.
While ride and handling will never be exactly car-like at this weight, the Boxer heaves its considerable size around with the utmost aplomb and proves a delight to drive on the open roads. Sadly our van didn’t have reversing sensors, which made manoeuvring a tad tricky.
We believe these items should be a legal requirement on all panel vans and we were sad to see they remained on the options list at £200 ex-VAT. Air-conditioning is extra, too, at £635 ex-VAT, so for fleet purposes we would recommend the Professional model, which has both these items as standard, along with cruise control, adjustable speed limiter and alarm for an extra £1,000.