Peugeot Expert returns to the LCV segment
Peugeot has returned to the light-commercial vehicle (LCV) segment in Australia, launching the mid-size Expert van and following up later this year with the larger Boxer and the compact Partner vans.
This marks a change in strategy for the French PSA Group brands, with independent distributor Inchcape Australasia moving away from the position of its predecessor, Sime Darby Motors, which was planning to use Citroen – rather than Peugeot – for a renewed LCV push.
As a result, the Citroen Berlingo compact van, which has built up a loyal following over many years, will be sidelined in favour of the Partner as the Inchcape-run Peugeot Citroen Australia puts all its efforts behind the European lion brand.
As demonstrated by the Expert, these vans will all come with a high level of specification and a useful five-year/200,000km warranty.
The Expert lines up against the Toyota HiAce, Hyundai iLoad and European-bred models such as the Renault Trafic, Volkswagen Transporter, Ford Transit Custom and Mercedes-Benz Vito.
The launch range is made up of five three-seater variants spanning three common-rail turbocharged four-cylinder diesel powertrains, manual and automatic transmission options (both six-speed units) and two body lengths (4,959mm and 5,309mm).
At the entry level is a standard-length 1.6L BlueHDi 115 manual variant priced from $36,490 plus on-road costs. The engine produces 85kW of power at 3,750rpm and 300Nm of torque at 1,750rpm and offers fuel economy of 5.2L per 100km on the official combined (urban/extra-urban) cycle.
At the mid-range is a 2.0L HDi 150 variant with the option of either body or transmission, the standard-length manual starting at $39,990, rising to $42,490 for the auto or $44,190 for the auto-only long-bodied version.
This bigger-displacement engine pushes power up to 110kW at 4,000rpm and torque to 370Nm at 2,000rpm, with fuel economy ranging from 6.2-6.4L/100km, depending on the variant.
At the top of the range is a higher-output 2.0L BlueHDi 180 unit with the long-length body and automatic gearbox, good for 130kW and 400Nm (at same engine speeds as the HDi 150) and similarly listed at 6.2L/100km in the mileage stakes.
The entry and top-end BlueHDi engines are rated to the Euro 6 emissions standard and come with a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system that uses the AdBlue diesel exhaust fluid (housed in a separate tank), while the mid-range HDi is at Euro 5. Service intervals are set at 12 months/20,000km across the range.
Based on PSA Group’s front-wheel-drive EMP2 platform, the Expert’s suspension configuration comprises independent MacPherson-style struts up front and oblique wishbone trailing arms at the rear axle.
The steering is a variable-assist electro-hydraulic system, the turning circle measures 12.4m, and braking hardware includes four-wheel disc brakes – 304mm ventilated rotors up front and 290mm solid discs at the rear – with a supporting cast of electronic aids including ABS, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, a hill holder, ‘active’ traction control and, not least of all, autonomous emergency braking (AEB).
Indeed, Peugeot claims to be the first brand in this segment with standard fitment of AEB, and a leader with other advanced safety features included in the price such as blind-spot monitoring, a reversing camera, driver drowsiness detection, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and speed limit recognition.
Front and rear parking sensors, front fog lights and four airbags, including side curtain protection, are also on board.
Load volume varies from 5.3m3 to 6.1m3 on the longer body, while load length is 2,512mm/2,862mm for the standard/long variants respectively. Maximum load height is 1,397mm, and width 1,636mm (or 1,258mm between the wheel arches).
Peugeot’s ‘Moduwork’ bulkhead and a removable panel underneath the passenger seat can also liberate more space, while the load area is accessed via dual side sliding doors and 180º rear barn doors.
A common wheelbase length of 3,725mm is used on the Expert, with the extra length built in at the rear overhang (800mm versus 1,150mm), while the van’s overall height of no more than 1,935mm should ensure it slots easily into city carparks and garages.
Kerb weight ranges from 1,789kg to 1,958kg, and GVM 2,660-3,000kg, while payload comes in at an even tonne for the entry 115 model, 1,300kg for the mid-spec 150 and 1,250kg for the top-end 180. The latter has the highest braking towing capacity across the three engine variants, at 2,200kg, while the 150 can pull 1,500kg and the base 115 manages 1,800kg.
In all, this looks to be a carefully constructed line-up that caters for various trade applications and brings with it a lot of features for the money.
As well as the high-level safety equipment already mentioned, all Expert variants come with a 7.0” touch screen infotainment system, voice control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, Bluetooth radio, automatic headlights/wipers, auto-dimming interior mirror, trip computer, tinted windows, one-touch electric windows, electrically folding door mirrors, driver’s seat height adjustment, air-conditioning, remote central locking and three 12V sockets.
The standard wheel size is 16” with a steel rim and full-size spare.