First Drive: Peugeot Expert

Date: Monday, February 25, 2013

Peugeot has facelifted its Expert medium van, adding new technology along with better efficiency. Blink and you’ll miss the exterior changes, but they are there: as with the Partner (see opposite page), the Expert now bears a redesigned version of the Peugeot badge and has a new grille with chrome edges – but that’s about it.

 Operators will be more interested in the lower CO2 levels and running costs that come courtesy of a series of small but worthy improvements, such as aerodynamic tweaks underneath the body and a series of modifications to the engines.
Power levels range from 90hp, through 98 and 130 to 163hp. The least powerful model is usually the most economical but that isn’t the case here – efficiency tweaks have rendered the middling 130hp van (tested here with a price tag of £18,630 excluding VAT) the pick of the range, with 169g/km and 44.1mpg, figures that Peugeot claims are class-leading.
Despite the efficiency treatments, the Expert is sprightly in 130hp HDI guise. There’s plenty of mid-range power and it genuinely seems fast given its proportions.
As with the smaller Partner, The Expert is now available with the Grip Control system, which substitutes for a full 4x4 system but is much lighter. You still have only two driven wheels, but a dash-mounted dial allows the driver to toggle the traction control settings (through sand, snow, mud and normal) to render the van more competent in slippery conditions.
Plumping for the most powerful 163hp model provides an auto gearbox too, while tyre pressure sensors and a speed limiter improve things on the safety front.

 

 Verdict

The revised Peugeot Expert is surprisingly powerful given the lower emissions.



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