Come summertime, a stylish new urban vehicle will be making an appearance on the streets of Britain, which will turn a few heads not only for its dashing appearance but also for its name.
The new Peugeot Bipper, due to arrive in May, will sit between the smaller 207 and the larger Partner and is designed to winkle round those narrow city streets while being capable of carrying more than a reasonable amount of cargo.
Peugeot had just one van for us journos to test at time of going to press, a left-hand drive model registered in France.
Naturally Fleet Van was among the first to be offered a drive.
It soon became obvious that this van feels a lot bigger than it has any right to.
The cab offers loads of legroom while the rear will swallow 2.5 cubic metres of cargo.
But Peugeot has taken a natty device from the bigger Partner and incorporated it into the Bipper, increasing load volume to a sizeable 2.8 cubic metres and load length to a mighty two and a half metres.
This device is simple yet ingenious – the passenger seat not only folds flat but also compresses into the well, leaving a loadfloor which is level right to the rear doors.
Meanwhile, a mesh bulkhead is hinged in the middle and swings round, enclosing the driver in a little cocoon.
Note though that this device will be a paid-for extra when the Bipper arrives here.
The driver’s seat is worth mentioning for the fact that it is full size and not one of those barstool type affairs that we see in some smaller vans.
The squab is big and offers plenty of support under the thighs while the back has lots of side and lumbar area support.
Under the bonnet goes Peugeot’s tried-and-tested 1.4HDi diesel powerplant offering 70bhp and 118lb-ft of torque, which is plenty for what this van will be expected to do.
It’s a lusty performer and even with a half load of sand in the back of our test van, inclines were tackled with the minimum amount of gearchanging.
When changes were needed, they were accomplished via a natty little short-throw stick that is perched on top of a pedestal in front of the dash.
There will also be a 1.4 petrol but it isn’t expected to be a big seller.
Meanwhile Peugeot has managed to dial in just the right amount of feel through the steering wheel to give the driver an involving and enjoyable ride.
Prices and exact specification will be announced later.
Peugeot is marketing this van as an around-town specialist but nothing in our test drive led us to believe it won’t handle just as well on longer journeys.
We were mightily impressed with this little vehicle and all agreed it will be a pity to see it having to work for a living.
It looks too good to get dirty!