James Dallas finds the double-cab van takes the hassle out of a family trip to the seaside.
If your budget doesn’t stretch to investing in a big-booted Scandinavian estate car to serve as the family runaround, or, more likely, if you need a dual-purpose vehicle for load-lugging work during the week and domestic or leisure use at weekends, but you don’t see yourself in an aggressively styled, in-yer-face pick-up truck, then a more understated mid-sized double-cab van could be right up your street.
I have certainly found my Expert Crew Van to be the ideal fit for a short-break getaway with the family.
On a recent jaunt to the Kent coast my Expert comfortably accommodated our brood of three adults, two teenagers and a dog, and the 3.2m3 load bay happily swallowed everything we could throw into it.
To my surprise this included two bicycles, which I discovered fitted snugly across the 1,618mm maximum width of the load area shortly after I had confidently predicted we would not be able to bring them due to not having an external bike rack fitted. Consequently, Dungeness has now hosted pedal as well as nuclear power.
We made full use of the Expert’s six seats on the journey to the coast due to the kids’ insistence that the dog should travel in the cab with us – where he made himself comfortable in a rear berth.
This meant I had two passengers with me (the driver) in the front seats. This is not ideal for the occupant of the middle seat due to having to arrange their legs to the side of the gear stick. It is, however, far less intrusive than in some vans that claim to offer space upfront for three. Probably only the Ford Transit Custom provides more space for the central passenger, and there were no complaints on a drive that lasted about one and a half hours.
Overall, the Expert delivers an impressively comfortable ride because of its passenger car heritage – it is built on PSA’s EMP2 platform that also hosts the Peugeot Traveller and Citroen Spacetourer.
We visited Camber Sands on our short holiday and although I didn’t attempt to drive along the beach itself, the rough and ready parking areas are not much different, being pockmarked with puddles and covered in shingle and sand, so it was reassuring to be able to select ‘sand’ mode on the enhanced traction dial to the right of the steering wheel.
It also offers settings for ‘mud’ and ‘snow’ and could provide another reason for the Expert Crew Van to appeal to customers who need to undertake some gentle off-roading but don’t fancy a pick-up truck.
Expert Crew Van Professional STD BlueHDi 120
Official combined consumption 50.4mpg
Our average consumption 37.3mpg
Price (ex VAT) £25,215
Price range (ex VAT) £19,090–£31,435
Service intervals 25,000mls
Load length 2,017mm
Load width (min/max) 1,258/1,618mm
Load bay height 1,337mm
Gross payload 1,342kg
Load volume 3.2m3
Gearbox 6-spd manual
Engine size/power 1,997cc/120hp
Report Card: Practicality and versatility
The Peugeot Expert Crew van can accommodate six people in comfort and lug a decent amount of kit too.
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