Like a tiresome house guest who has outstayed his welcome, Peugeot’s old Expert hung around for far too long.
Happily its successor was well worth waiting for, and is now shaping up to be a key competitor in the hard-fought compact panel van sector. Front-wheel drive just like its predecessor, the Expert is also marketed by Citroen as the Dispatch – both brands form part of the PSA group – and by Toyota as the Proace.
Unlike their predecessors, the Expert, Dispatch and Proace are not sold by Fiat Professional under the Scudo banner. This time around Fiat has decided to opt for a rebadged version of Renault’s Trafic, which it markets as the Talento.
Anybody interested in an Expert/Dispatch/Proace will be contemplating a van with two wheelbases, three body lengths and one roof height, with up to 6.6m3 of load space. It is also produced as a double-cab and as a platform cab. Carrying capacity has risen by approximately 200kg compared with what was on offer previously. Under the bonnet you will find either a 1.6-litre (95hp, 115hp) or a 2.0-litre diesel (120hp, 150hp, 180hp) engine.
Transmission choices depending on make and model are five- or six-speed manual, automated manual or fully auto. Having tackled Citroen’s 120hp Dispatch Enterprise M BlueHDi 120 van with the middle body length and also Toyota’s Proace Van Compact Comfort 1.6D 95 – one of the shortest variants available – we elected to sample a Peugeot this time around. We went for the mid body-length Expert Professional Plus Standard BlueHDi 150 1,400kg with the 150hp diesel and a six-speed manual gearbox.
Professional Plus denotes the Expert’s top level of trim, which is one rung above Professional and two above S.