What is it?
Small Light Commercial Vehicles have proven to be a godsend for companies that deal in postage, packages and couriering.
Peugeot’s LCV entry is called the Expert and comes in a simple choice: long wheelbase or short? It’s diesel only and either a manual or auto, with the LWB version available with an auto only — that’s five variants all up.
We spent what proved to be an enjoyable week with the Expert SWB auto.
What’s it cost?
Prices are driveaway across the board.
Our vehicle is $46,745, plopping it right in the middle of the range.
The two manuals are $40,565 for the 115 Standard version, and $39,990 for the 150 Standard.
At the time of writing, Peugeot were doing a bit of pencil sharpening price-wise for the 150 Standard Manual.
Irrespective of whether you opt for the short or long wheelbase, there is no escaping the fact that most LCVs are painted white and look exactly like a white box on wheels.
There are black plastic bumpers front and rear, and the bluff yet stylish Peugeot nose, complete with front fog lights.
There are however four colour options: AluminiumGrey, Platinum Grey, Flame Red, and Perla Nera Black — at a cost of $690.
Sliding doors are slotted in on either side and barn doors fitted to our Standard Expert, with each door having its own independent wiper blade for clearer rear vision.
Wheels are steel and rubber is 215/65/16 from Michelin’s Agilis range.
Inside is, until loaded up, a box.
There are tie-down hooks in the 5.8 cubic metre cargo area and a couple in the three-seater passenger area.
The seats are comfortable and cloth covered.
There’s a distinct car-like ambience here too, with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth streaming audio available via the 7.0 inch touchscreen, but no DAB.
Smartphone mirroring overcomes that minor hiccup, especially with the variety of music apps available.
The centre console is efficiently styled and designed, with storage nooks of varying sizes — plus three 12 volt sockets.
Slap bang in the middle of the console is something unexpected: a rotary gear selector for the auto — not a lever.
Manual shifting is also available via paddle shifts behind the easy to hold, flat-bottomed steering wheel.
Underneath the passenger’s seats is a removable module for some extra cargo capacity, as the main cargo and passenger areas are separated by a solid looking but slightly squeaky bulkhead.
Blind Spot Alert, Autonomous Emergency Braking, and Adaptive Cruise Control are standard, along with parking sensors front and rear, raising the Expert Standard a few notches higher.
Curtain airbags are standard also, as is a reverse camera.
Even the one touch windows have safety, with the anti-pinch sensor mechanism.
The dash display is classic Peugeot, with easy to read white on black markings, the dial surrounds are angled in mirror fashion to each other.
And the info screen is high contrast monochrome.
Kerb weight is 1907kg, payload is 1300kg.
It’ll also tow up to 2.1 tonnes braked.
The cargo bay dimensions allow for 2512mm in length and 1640mm in height. Width is 1636mm.
Overall height is 1.9 metres, which means you should be able to get the Expert into most carparks without bumping the roof.
What’s it go like?
Peugeot names its vans numerically, but by the horsepower, rather than kilowatts.
There is 110 of them, kilowatts that is, which equates to 150 horsepower.
Torque from the 2.0-litre diesel is 370Nm at 2000rpm.
The transmission is the EAT6 yet we saw on the driver’s display screen D7?
Economy wasn’t bad, considering the drive was in an unladen vehicle, at 7.8L/100km.
Peugeot quotes 7.3L/100km for the urban cycle and a decent 6.4L/100km for the combined.
It’s a quick starter, with a twist of the key (no push button here) firing the engine into life instantly.
It’s quiet and virtually vibration free.
It’s a smooth combination, with the auto slick with quick changes.
Mid-range acceleration is typical diesel with plenty of urge.
The steering is twitchy though, perhaps a little too much so . . . but again, without a load on board.
The brakes were agreeable with both bite and pedal feel, however it’d be fair to assume that with a load on board some judgement would be required.
Ride quality is fantastic, with the steering a quick responder thanks to a variable ratio, and a suspension tune that brought out the car-like qualities with which Peugeot has endowed the Standard Expert.
What we like?
- It’s a van but feels like a car
- Beautifully responsive engine
- Safety features are car-like as well
What we don’t like?
- Slightly twitchy steering
- Hard to find anything else wrong — it’s a great package
The bottom line?
Peugeot joins the club in making a light commercial vehicle more car- than van-like.
The safety list brings the Expert into that realm and having car-like handling doesn’t hurt either.
If it was available with an option to fit it out with a car-like interior — it would be an ideal SUV opponent.
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Peugeot Expert 150 Standard Automatic, priced from $46,745 driveaway
Looks - 7/10
Performance - 7.5/10
Safety - 8/10
Thirst - 8/10
Practicality - 9/10
Comfort - 7.5/10
Tech - 7.5/10
Value - 7.5/10