January 23, 2019

Expert Traveller

Peugeot’s Expert transforms well to a handsome people-carrier, reports Dan Gilkes.

The people carrying business has become an increasingly important sector of the light commercial vehicle market. Traditionally there was a big gulf between a chauffeur-driven limousine and a 17-seat minibus, but manufacturers have been working to fill that void, both with seven-seat MPVs and by offering mid-weight van conversions.

Van-derived people carriers have the advantage of offering additional seating when compared to more car-based models, boasting up to nine seats, along with more load carrying volume, seats up or down.

Peugeot is no stranger to the concept, its Expert mid-weight has been offered with a people-carrying option for years. The latest version of the van is no exception, having been designed from day one with dual use in mind.

To put some distance between the van and the people carrier, the company drops the Expert name in favour of Traveller. It can be built on all three body lengths and they all come with a car park-friendly 1.9m height.

As with any vehicle of this type you can fold or remove the seats to suit a myriad of configurations, depending on your need to carry people or goods. Even the smallest Compact model offers eight seats, but only 140 litres of boot space with the seats in place. That rises to a maximum of 1,633 litres with the rear bench removed, or 3,397 litres with none of the rear seats in place.

Both the Standard and the Long models offer up to nine seats in three rows. Use all of those seats in the Standard van that we have here and you can fit in 655 litres of luggage space. Take out the back three and that goes up to 2,228 litres, while 3,968 litres are possible with just the front row of seating.

Customers can choose a single front passenger seat or a dual bench and the second and third rows of seats can be ordered as three-person benches, or split into two-seat and single seat versions. With the higher grade Business VIP trim level you can specify six individual seats, in three rows of two, with the middle row capable of facing forwards or towards the rear.

Power is supplied by Peugueot Citroën’s proven 1.6 and 2.0-litre diesel engines, offering 95hp and 115hp, or 150hp and 180hp respectively. Our Traveller was equipped with the mid-range 115hp engine with Stop/Start, which promises up to 54.3mpg and 137g/km of CO2.

The 95hp engine comes with a five-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automated ETG6 manual transmission. The mainstream 115hp and 150hp engines get a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, while the 180hp motor drives through a full EAT6 automatic transmission.

The mainstream Business trim includes front fog lights with a cornering function, LED daytime lights, manual air conditioning, rear parking sensors, cruise control, heated mirrors, electric windows and a 7” touchscreen audio system with DAB radio and Bluetooth and Mirror Link connectivity.

Trade up to Business VIP and you also get alloy wheels, heated leather trim, climate control, a panoramic roof, Xenon lights, a head-up display and the individual rear seats.

Both trim levels have twin sliding side doors to access those rear seats and Traveller models differ from their LCV cousins by having a lift-up tailgate at the rear. The rear row of seating is accessed by tilting and folding the middle row’s outer seat.

On the road

We are big fans of Peugeot’s Expert van and it comes as no surprise that Traveller is an equally good vehicle to drive. Comfortable, quiet and well equipped in Business trim, the people-carrier is equally at home threading through city traffic as it is cruising on dual carriageways.

The 115hp 1.6-litre diesel engine has enough power and torque to cover ground quickly yet offers strong economy. The six-speed gearbox is slick and easy to use and the van’s relatively slim dimensions make it easy to manoeuvre.

Perhaps of equal importance, Traveller is comfortable from both the middle and rear rows of seats. Unlike some car-based people-haulers the back row is not reserved for children, but offers as much space as the middle seating.

The seats are easy to fold and tilt if you need a bit of extra luggage space, and are simple to remove completely if required. Double seat units are fairly heavy though and are easier to manhandle with two people.