What Car? says...
You may not think you know many people that own a Peugeot Boxer, but you also stand to be surprised. Its underpinnings are used for everything from ambulances to horseboxes and motorhomes, making it surprisingly prevalent on our roads.
The Boxer is relatively lightweight for a large van, which means that converters love it for its flexibility when it comes to putting a body on the back and lots of equipment inside. The same can be said for the Citroen Relay and the Fiat Ducato, both of which share the same platform, but the contrast is that when it comes to a plain old panel van, the Peugeot has historically been conspicuous in its absence on our roads.
Although the Boxer is a large, versatile van, it’s let down by its aging design. The basic van dates back to 2006 and since then it has had just two significant updates; a facelift in 2014 and more eco-friendly engines in 2016. The latest improvements are, on paper, less significant; predominantly aimed at enabling it to meet tougher Euro-6d emissions regulations. Nonetheless, they have considerably improved this ageing warhorse.
Having had its engine downsized from 2.2-litres to 2.0-litres in 2016 to meet the initial Euro-6 requirements, Peugeot has pushed it back up to 2.2-litres for the newer Euro-6d TEMP requirements. Thankfully, the larger outputs mean more power, with the new 2.2-litre BlueHDI available in three power outputs, up to 163bhp.
An electric version is also available. To read about that, see our full Peugeot e-Boxer review.
The Boxer does, however, provide you with plenty of body size options, with four lengths and three heights available. There’s also the chassis cab option popular with body conversion experts as well as double-cab and minibus versions. Need a specialised van in a hurry? Peugeot has a dedicated range of off-the-shelf Boxer vans including curtain-sided, drop-sided, regular or low-floor Luton and tipper versions.
You can transport anything from 8m3 to 17m3 if you need to fill up your Boxer van, or as much as 1575kg in the best performing 3.5-tonne van.
If you’re trying to identify the latest Boxer from the previous version, you’ll have to pay extra attention. Little has changed since the grille was redesigned in 2016; the bumpers became slightly rounder and LED daytime running lights became available, but that’s all.
Keep reading the next few pages of this review to find out how the Peugeot Boxer compares with the best large vans in terms of performance, interior quality, day-to-day usability and, of course, load-lugging ability. We'll also let you know whether it should be on you or your company's shopping list.
And remember, we can help you find the best leasing deals through the free-to-use What Car? Leasing section, where you can get a quote for whichever make and model of car or van fits your personal or business needs.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The newer 2.2-litre diesel engine has made an obvious difference to the way the Boxer drives; not only is there more power, but it is smoother and quieter with it.
It’s available in two forms; one with 118bhp and 221lb ft of torque, or one with 138bhp and 251lb ft of torque. Both come with six-speed manual gearboxes and stop-start systems to minimise emissions. The former range-topper with 163bhp and 273lb ft is no longer available.
Thanks to a boost in power and torque (pulling power) compared with earlier versions these engines are far more forgiving; offering more low-down shove when heavily laden.
If you’re after an automatic gearbox you’ll be disappointed – the Boxer has none. If the six-speed manual won’t do, rivals including the Ford Transit, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Volkswagen Crafter are all available with two pedals.
The gearbox has a tight gear shift action reminiscent of a much sportier vehicle. It works well with the Boxer’s eager engine and changes are smooth, with little vibration through the lever.
However, the same cannot be said about refinement. Although better than it once was, the Boxer is still a loud, clattery van; noisier than the Sprinter or Crafter.
The Boxer feels cumbersome through turns, as you might expect a large van to, but combined with its firm ride you get a strangely enjoyable combination. It’s more fun to drive than you might think, but still feels safe and sensible.
Overall, the Peugeot Boxer is only a mediocre van to drive; failing to match the Transit, sprinter orCrafter in almost every regard.
The interior layout, fit and finish
The Peugeot Boxer has a wide, spacious interior, but that doesn’t make up for how ancient it feels. Piano-black surrounds can’t disguise how dated the plastics are, and the ergonomics are far surpassed by rivals, including the Ford Transit and Volkswagen Crafter.
The Boxer’s handbrake position is especially problematic; it’s to the right of the driver’s seat so it’s easy to catch a trouser leg or other item of clothing on while getting out. The upside is that cross-cab access is improved and there is more space for the central passenger.
More positively, visibility is excellent and you get plenty of storage thanks to large door bins and a number of useful cubbies in the dash.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
What's more, in chassis cab form, the Boxer gets a boost to 1790kg, which explains its popularity with converters and bodywork specialists who need a flexible platform for their creations.
It’s not quite as good for volume, measuring in at 17.0m3 in its largest (L4H3) form. But with four lengths and three roof heights to choose from, there’s a lot of flexibility in the line-up.
Combined with the impressive payload capability, it’s enough to make the Boxer and its siblings – the Citroën Relay, Fiat Ducato and Vauxhall Movano – our joint winner for the most practical large van in the 2022 What Car? Van and Commercial Vehicle awards.
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
The looks and interior might have largely stayed the same for the Peugeot Boxer, but the safety systems have not. Over the years Peugeot has added a number of important new features to the van to keep it relevant in a sector where massive developments in safety have been a regular occurrence.
While the Volkswagen Crafter arguably leads the way, closely followed by the perpetually impressive Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Peugeot has slowly added important features to its models including Roll-over Mitigation and Hill Descent Control, as well as such driver assistance technologies as traffic sign recognition and a lane departure warning. Other vans have more, but the Boxer’s kit list is highly credible.
As for fuel economy, the Boxer is acceptable but not outstanding: the 118bhp engine officially returns 26.3–36.0mpg, while the 138bhp unit delivers 25.6–40.1mpg. Emissions are on a par with the Ford Transit, ranging from 215g/km to 289g/km depending on which engine and body you choose. For reference, the Transit pollutes less at the bottom end of its range (205g/km) but more at the high end (305g/km).
The latest Boxer’s engines require a service every 30,000 miles or every two years, whichever is sooner. Warranty support is three years or 100,000 miles, and the paintwork is covered by five-year corrosion protection.
As for equipment, entry-level S trim is fairly spartan and geared towards the rental or large fleet purchaser. Heated, electrically adjustable mirrors are the main draw, but you also get a DAB radio with bluetooth, a rake-and-reach-adjustable steering wheel and a 12V power socket.
The alternative is Professional, which adds air conditioning, rear parking sensors and a 5.0in infotainment touchscreen with sat-nav functionality, among other useful features. The Asphalt and Grip versions have been discontinued.
We recommend opting for the 138bhp engine for its greater flexibility, and Professional trim, which offers the best balance between cost and standard kit.
The Peugeot Boxer has a strong reliability record, with few major patterns of problems. Watchouts include tired suspension, broken locks and worn brakes. The Peugeot Boxer warranty is three years/100,000 miles. Read our Peugeot Boxer review.
Older Peugeot Boxer 2.2-litre diesel engines were manufactured by Ford, but the latest engines all come from Stellantis, the parent company of Peugeot. The latest engines are all smooth and quiet. Read our Peugeot Boxer driving review.
Peugeot Boxer buyers have the choice of a 2.2-litre BlueHDI diesel engine available in three power outputs, up to 163bhp. All provide strong and smooth power delivery. There is also an all-electric version of the van, called the Peugeot e-Boxer.
The Peugeot Boxer engine line-up is well regarded, and covered by a three-year/100,000 mile warranty. Engine services are every 30,000 miles or two years, whichever is sooner. Well maintained, reliability data suggests they are reasonably robust. Read our Peugeot Boxer verdict.
Called the Peugeot e-Boxer, the all-electric version of the Boxer delivers an official range of up to 139 miles. Additionally, there is also a version with a smaller, cheaper battery that covers just 73 miles. Neither is great, however, with it earning two out of five stars from our testers. Read the Peugeot e-Boxer review.
The Peugeot Boxer is classified as a large van, although how large depends very much on the model you choose. That’s because the Boxer is available with three wheelbases and four load lengths, making it critical you spec it carefully. Read more in our Peugeot Boxer practicality review.