The Expert Crew Van proved its versatility as both a comfortable people carrier and hard-working load-lugger during its stint on our fleet, as James Dallas reports
I have now bid farewell to my Expert Crew Van, having come to depend upon it for a variety of assignments during the period of more than half a year it spent on the What Van? fleet.
The beauty of a double-cab van is its versatility – its ability to transport both people and loads by combining car-like seating provision with a decent cargo space and payload capacity. If you want a vehicle to specialise in just one or other of these requirements, though, you’re better off with a minibus or combi-van on the one hand, or a standard, single-cab van on the other.
I found the Expert really came into its own ferrying a family of five (it actually has space for six at a push although the gear lever makes it a tad uncomfortable for the piggy-in-the-middle in the front row) along with paraphernalia such as suitcases, bikes and bags of shopping.
It proved to be ideal, for example, for a weekend break at the seaside, when the ‘sand’ mode on the traction control system also ensured that negotiating gritty and heavily potholed tracks was a doddle.
A plus point as a people-carrier is that the rear seats can be accessed by sliding doors on both near and off sides, which is not always a given on crew vans that are based on standard panel vans. A previous long-termer of mine, the otherwise excellent Ford Transit Custom Double-Cab-in-Van, for example, only came with a door on the near side for rear seat passengers.
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.
My Expert’s final assignment, however, and the one that proved toughest for both van and man, was as a load-lugging workhorse during an arduous and protracted house move.
The standard-size Crew Van has a load volume of 3.2m3, which compares to the 5.8m3 of the single-cab panel van, but I was frequently surprised by just how much stuff I could squeeze into the square load box.
This varied from bulky but relatively lightweight items, such as kitchen chairs and bags of clothes, to far heavier boxes crammed full of books and an extensive vinyl record collection. I am confident, though, that while my own carrying capacity may have been breached, the Expert’s 1,342kg payload was not and a step up from the ground of just 540mm onto the load floor does take some of the strain out of the lifting.
The cargo bay’s full protective lining was a welcome feature during these journeys, especially on the last trip, which involved transporting a broken up double-bed to its final resting place at a south-east London recycling centre.
Reassuringly for the driver and passengers, the cabin is protected from items coming astray in the load area by a full-height glazed bulkhead. Unless you want to look at what you’ve put in the back, however, the glazed aspect of the bulkhead is redundant because the rear doors are solid, which also renders the rear-view mirror superfluous to requirements. This occasionally made me wish the wing mirrors incorporated a wide-view section to eliminate blind spots and meant I was more reliant on the reversing sensor.
While you may need to make the £3,120, excluding VAT, step up to Professional Plus trim to get all the safety and driver’s assistance kit available in the range, Professional spec offers a decent level of kit, including aircon, rear parking sensors, electrically adjustable heated door mirrors, cruise control with a variable speed limiter, front electric windows with a one-touch operation and a full-size spare wheel.
The steering wheel is adjustable for height, rake and reach and the driver’s seat tilts, goes up and down and backwards and forwards too – all of which make the Crew Van comfortable and easy to drive.
Expert Crew Van Professional STD BlueHDi 120
Official combined consumption 50.4mpg
Our average consumption 38.1mpg
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
Peugeot has adorned the Crew Van with a generous helping of kit.
Style and design 4/5
The Expert is a handsome van that, apart from a couple of quirks, successfully combines style with functionality.
Driver visibility 2/5
The side mirrors could be better and you have to step up to Professional Plus trim to get the most useful driver assist features.
Practicality and versatility 4/5
The Peugeot Expert Crew Van can accommodate six people and lug a decent amount of kit too.
Cabin equipment 3/5
Decent enough but not outstanding compared to the competition.
Payload and load-carrying capacity 4/5
A generous payload and well-protected 3.2m3 load bay make the Crew Van an effective workhorse.
OVERALL SCORE 70%
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