The Peugeot Expert is entering its second month at Fleet News and all the testers so far have agreed that it is the ideal size for a panel van – big enough to get heaps of cargo in (five cubic metres to be precise) yet small enough to winkle into your average car parking space at Sainsbury’s on a Saturday.
The van has some nice added touches, too. For example, if you forget to put your seatbelt on and fire up the engine of an average commercial vehicle, it starts bleeping at you straight away, which can be a right pain.
But the Expert waits until it is travelling at 5mph before it starts up. Thus a driver can sit in the cab and fill in some paperwork while parked and with the engine running without having to put up with an annoying noise while doing so.
Then there’s the bonnet catch. A simple little affair you would imagine, but the Expert has this device hidden under the passenger door so that would-be thieves can’t smash a side window and hoik up the catch. It even fooled me when I tried to check the van’s oil the first time – as I didn’t have a manual with it, I ended up having to call for help at the Peugeot press office to locate the catch.
I also like the driver’s seat. Some manufacturers skimp on this item and use squabs that are so short that it feels rather like sitting on a bar stool instead of a van seat. The Expert’s is deep and supports the back of my thighs, right down to the back of the knees.
So what about niggles? Well, there are precious few so far. The middle seat doesn’t have much legroom for a second passenger, which has proved a problem on a couple of occasions, but then again most vans are driven with just the driver aboard.
The short-throw gearlever isn’t the slickest I’ve ever encountered either and can be quite notchy on the downchanges.
I believe it is purely a glitch with this particular van though as I have driven lots of other examples of the Expert and its twin brothers, the Citroën Dispatch and Fiat Scudo, and they have been fine.
There are certainly no complaints about fuel consumption though. My first test showed the van returning 36.2mpg after a good variety of journeys including fast motorway dashes and round-town quickies and my last check-up saw this figure nudge up to 37.7mpg.
That’s a pretty fair return for a vehicle of this size.
Price (ex VAT): £14,720
Company car tax bill (2007)
22% tax-payer: £55 per month
Insurance group: 6E
Combined mpg: n/a
Test mpg: 37.7
CAP Monitor RV: £4,750/30%
Expenditure to date: Nil
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles