What Car? says...
Badge-engineered vans like the Peugeot Expert are sometimes criticised for being too similar to their siblings – and in the Expert's case, that sibling is the Citroën Dispatch. For the latest generation, however, the French firms have tried to give their vans more individuality, even though they still share the same underpinnings.
It’s not just its own individual styling that has changed, either: the Expert has also been given a smart interior and cleaner engines.
Shared exterior parts between the Partner and its Dispatch, Toyota Proace and Vauxhall Vivaro relations include everything from the bonnet backwards, with only the front two panels and headlight clusters varying between each of the vans.
The rear portion is an updated version of the outgoing van, while the front is based on the EMP2 platform that Peugeot and Citroën use for their cars. That modularity allows Peugeot to use shared engines too, with a 100bhp 1.5-litre engine starting the range, while 2.0-litre engines making 120bhp, 147bhp and 174bhp provide further alternatives.
All are mated to a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, but the most powerful version is available with an eight-speed automatic gearbox with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.
Peugeot refers to the vans as BlueHDi 100, BlueHDi 120, BlueHDi 150 and BlueHDi 180 as they increase in power, and all variants come fitted with engine stop-start technology to save fuel.
The Expert is available in three length but with only one roof height. There are also two standard trim levels, S and Professional, plus Grip and Asphalt versions that are a bit more specialised.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Thanks largely to its car-derived underpinnings, the Expert is a very enjoyable van to drive and a far cry from its predecessor.
Whereas the old Expert could be quite bouncy and its steering was too vague, the latest version rides in a controlled manner and the connection to the road is a lot more certain.
If you want an automatic gearbox, however, you’ll have to go for the BlueHDi 180. It's a strong engine that works well with the gearbox, but suffers from quite heavy fuel consumption.
For its balance of performance and economy, then, we'd recommend the BlueHDi 150, which manages up to 41.3mpg in official tests and makes a healthy 272lb ft of torque.