Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The newer, larger engine has made an obvious difference to the way the Boxerdrives; not only is there more power, but it is smoother and quieter with it.
The entry-level model has increased by 10bhp to 118bhp but retains the same 221lb ft of torque. Mid-level units also get a 10bhp boost to 138bhp and have 251lb ft of torque available. Completing the range is a 163bhp engine, which replaces the 158bhp unit but adds 15lb ft of torque, bringing its total output to 273lb ft. Stop-start systems are now fitted to minimise emissions and a six-speed gearbox is standard across the range.
With more power and torque the 2.2-litre engine in every form is now far more forgiving. It has more low-down urgency and is much better at pulling away when heavily laden or if you’re not quite in the optimum gear.
The gearbox has a tight gear shift action, which although often found in sportier vehicles, works well with an engine which is always ready to give you power. Shifts are smooth and you feel very little of the engine or its changes through the driveline.
The same cannot be said about noise, though, as the Boxer is still a fairly loud, clattery van to drive. It’s a massive improvement over the outgoing model, but it’s not as refined as some of the other vehicles in the segment. If you want a quieter and more sophisticated cabin we’d suggest you explore a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter or Volkswagen Crafter, but while it is behind some competitors it’s far from an unpleasant place to be.
As a large van you’d expect the Boxer to feel quite heavy and cumbersome, which it does, but throw in the van’s firm ride quality and you end up with a strangely satisfying combination. It feels far more of a driver’s van than you would imagine, but also manages to feel safe and sensible at the same time.
Visibility is excellent because the cabin is so spacious and wide. It’s also helped because the seating position is particularly high, even for a large van, so forward views in particular are good.
Overall the Peugeot Boxer is a good van to drive, only let down by its age. The Renault Master or Vauxhall Movano are marginally better, while the Ford Transit, Volkswagen Crafter or Mercedes-Benz Sprinter are a cut above.
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