2019 Peugeot Expert Review
Toby Hagon’s 2019 Peugeot Expert Review With Price, Specs, Performance, Ride And Handling, Ownership, Safety, Verdict And Score.
In a nutshell: Peugeot has returned to the commercial vehicle space with the Expert van forging the path. As a sharp value the sizeable van brings impressive driving nous as well as a spacious load area.
2019 Peugeot Expert Specifications
Price From $36,490+ORC Warranty 5 years, 200,000km Service Intervals 12 months, 20,000km Safety Not rated Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel Power 110kW at 4000rpm Torque 370Nm at 2000rpm Transmission 6-speed manual or 6-speed auto Drive Front-wheel drive Dimensions 4959/5309mm (L, short and long bodies), 2010mm (W), 1930/1935mm (H, 150/180 models), 3725mm (WB) Kerb Weight 1883-1961kg Towing 1500kg (150 model), 2200kg (180) GVM 2730-3100kg (150/180 models) Cargo Space 5.3m3 (standard body), 6.1m3 (long body) Payload 1300kg (150 model), 1250kg (180) Spare Full-size Fuel Tank 69L Thirst 6.2-6.4L/100km (150 model), 6.2L/100km (180 model)
As part of a local relaunch of the brand, French car maker Peugeot is reintroducing commercial vehicles to its lineup, the Expert van leading the way ahead of the smaller Partner and larger Boxer later in 2019.
With the Toyota Hiace and Hyundai iLoad firmly in its sights, the Expert promises European driving flair in a sensibly-priced package that lives up to load-carrying expectations.
What’s in the range and how much does it cost? There are three engine options, manuals and autos and the choice of standard or long bodies. While not all can be mixed and match, the model lineup offers the choice of five configurations, all of which share the same features and equipment.
Entry to the Peugeot Expert range kicks off at $36,490 for the manual-only 115, the number referring to the engine power peak in horsepower. It comes with autonomous emergency braking (AEB), albeit a cheaper version that eschews a radar and uses only a camera to spot other obstacles and react at anything up to 30km/h. There’s also a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, parking sensors front and rear, reversing camera, auto lights, auto wipers, blind spot monitoring and active cruise control that can maintain a set distance to the car in front. There’s little in the way of fruit, the 16-inch steel wheels testament to that. There’s not even a vanity mirror behind either of the sunvisors.
Next step up is the 150, which gets more power for $39,990 as well as the choice of a six-speed auto transmission for another $2500. With the 150 you can also get the longer body, which adds another 350mm behind the rear wheels for more cargo space. It costs $44,190.
From there, it’s a $1700 step up to the 180 ($45,890), which gets an even more powerful engine as well as the auto transmission and long body as standard.
Depending on interest and demand, Peugeot Australia says it may consider importing different body styles, including the crew cab vans, trayback vans and a full Combi people mover.
What’s the cabin like? There’s good head and leg room and decent storage, with cupholders in each corner of the dash and a deep pod on top for papers or tablet computers. A phone-sized tray in front of the gear selector is also handy, while there’s a deep open bin where a glovebox would normally be (there’s a regular glovebox above that). Each door is also layered with storage binnacles of varying sizes, plus there’s some under-seat storage under centre seat and it’s foam lined like a cooler bin; perfect for storing a work lunch.
While modern Peugeots have nice tactile surfaces and some innovative finishes, the Expert plays things safe and standard with some hard, grey plastics chosen more for utility than aesthetics. Still, it all feels hardy and is generally well put together, although the roof lining ends in some rough edges where it is discontinued heading towards the load compartment.
What are the seats like? Sure, there are three seats, but stocky and adequately hamburger-fuelled tradies may not appreciate being hip to hip for big distances. The two passenger seats are closer together, making for cosy progress. Plus, the protruding gar selector makes legroom tight for that person in the middle. Better off as a two-seater, then. Fortunately the driver is somewhat isolated from the tightness, a small gap between the other seats also allowing for the handbrake and providing some space to the middle occupant.
What’s it like at carrying things? How much a van can carry is crucial to its appeal, and the Expert ticks plenty of boxes. The standard body has a load area of 5.3 cubic metres and access is via sliding doors either side or a pair of barn doors (a rising tailgate can be optioned) at the rear, each of the latter able to swing wide against the van.
It can take loads up to 2512mm long and, crucially, the 1258mm width between the wheel arches is enough to accommodate a pallet, in turn also working for many standard wood cuts. There are eight sturdy tie-down hooks bolted into the floor, partially making up for the lack of any tie-downs higher up.
Most of the interior is untrimmed, including the roof, although some wooden panels provide protection against the metal, making it harder to dent the body from the inside. Two small interior lights illuminate the load area. Plus, there’s a solid metal separator with protection over the small rear vision window to ensure whatever is out back won’t be joining you up front.
Peugeot has also included a system called ModuWork, which allows the lower area of the bulkhead to be removed so long items can poke through under the seat, in turn taking foot space from the passenger compartment. It’s a clever addition for those with requirements to occasionally carry very long items, the load area extended to a claimed 3674mm. The extra 350mm of tray length in the Long Body increases those dimensions accordingly. Plus the overall cargo compartment grows to 6.1 cubic metres (in either case the ModuWork system is claimed to add 0.5m3 to the load area)
What are the controls and infotainment like? While modern Peugeot passenger cars have customisable dashboards, the Expert plays it more old school and safe. Mainly analogue instruments are backed with a small digital display that can project the speedo as well as trip computer information.
The 7.0-inch touchscreen similarly does the job but is bordering on small in an era when infotainment screens continue to grow. At least there’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to bring additional functionality, including navigation.
The manual gear selector is very normal, but the auto gets a circular selector, which saves space but is arguably a step backwards on traditional when it comes to functionality.
What’s the performance like? We trialled two of the three diesel engine models – the 150 and 180, each referring to the power output in horsepower. Each has a capacity of 2.0 litres, significantly larger than the 1.6-litre in the base 115 model (with a modest 85kW and 300Nm).
With 110kW and 370Nm the 150 is thoroughly adequate and characterised by its muscular low-rev urge that comes on cleanly and with almost no turbo lag. Terrific low rev flexibility makes for easy ambling away from intersections, the muscular torque quickly on tap. Middle revs are perfect for sneaking around town or overtaking on a freeway, the six-speed manual relaxed with its shifts.
Stepping up to the 180 brings with it a cleaner engine that uses AdBlue (the 115 also requires AdBlue) and ups those outputs to 130kW and 400Nm. The additional urge is most noticeable when you rev the engine out, something unlikely to be a major focus in a van like this. A hint of extra torque also makes some very mild torque steer, where the steering wheel tugs gently when accelerating out of corners. That 180 engine also works nicely with the six-speed auto, its tuning primed to take advantage of the low-rev torque.
Fuel use varies depending on the body and model, but the 2.0-litre cars are claimed to use an average of around 6.2 litres of diesel per 100km.
What’s it like on the road? Commercial vans can be pretty ordinary things to drive, but the Peugeot adds a bit of flair that makes dealing with corners and pock-marked roads that tad more appealing. That’s important given that many people will treat a vehicle like this as their office.
With the regular suspension in the shorter models it’s surprisingly compliant without a load on board, something of a challenge in a vehicle designed to carry upwards of one tonne. The Long Body loses some of that composure, its stiffer rear springs having things jolting more noticeably. Then again, with a few hundred kilos to tie things down the equation should be more palatable. Michelin rubber does a good job holding on to the bitumen, completing the above average dynamic equation.
At 12.4m the turning circle is relatively tight – and because the extra millimetres of the Long Body are added behind the rear wheels it doesn’t change its manoeuvrability.
Does it have a spare? There’s a full-sized spare wheel and tyre tucked under the tail.
Can you tow with it? The Expert is designed to tow up to 2.2 tonnes, but it depends which model you choose. The basic 115 can lug 1800kg, but that drops to 1500kg with the 150. It’s only the most expensive 180 that can tow the full 2200kg.
What about ownership? The Expert is covered by Peugeot’s five-year, 200,000km warranty, ensuring plenty of (hopefully) pain-free motoring. Servicing must be conducted every 12 months or 20,000km and there’s a capped price plan to give some certainty on costs. The 115 model costs $2868.47 for the first five services, while the 150 and 180 models are $2982.46. If you pay for each up front it reduces the cost by 10 percent, so about $2582 and $2684 respectively.
What safety features does it have? The Expert is the first van to have auto emergency braking fitted to all models. But there’s a catch: it only uses a forward-facing camera so it only operates up to 30km/h (systems that also use a radar typically operate above 100km/h). So, it’s unlikely to be a life saver, instead potentially stopping a traffic bingle.
There’s also blind spot monitoring as well as a speed limit recognition and warning system. Airbags provide front and side protection for outer occupants. The reversing camera can also change its view when backing up to give close-ups and better angles for more accuracy when parking. The virtual overhead view is handy in helping park within a marked space, showing painted lines and gutters.