While the new generation of the Peugeot Expert represents a huge improvement over the old model, its predecessor opened the road of a new van segment which today is highly appreciated.
At its time (1996 – 2006), the old Expert was an innovative concept being situated between the big panel vans like the Peugeot Boxer and the small ones represented by the tiny Partner.
The compact dimensions of the Expert brought both advantages and disadvantages. On the plus part were its good maneuverability combined with the cheap costs of maintenance and ownership, while on the less good side it was the small payload capacity which limited its practicality.
Due to its compact load bay that was rated at only 4 cubic meters, the Peugeot Expert was obligated to deal only with small jobs, appealing to those who were content with a limited payload capacity.
Still, the Peugeot Expert was offered in two gross payload versions namely the 800 kg and 900 kg models which help it to deal with a pretty wide range of commercial applications. The old Peugeot Expert shared the same body with the Citroen Dispatch and Fiat Scudo and was available with two diesel engines that developed 71 and 110 hp.
Due to its old age, the previous generation of the Peugeot Expert had a pretty robust design. Though, the exterior design was a perfect match for the utilitarian character of the vehicle and was at par with what you’d usually get at that time.
Up front, we find the company’s logo mounted in the center of a thin radiator grille. The headlights feature a pretty basic design, which despite its rudimentary style copes great with the rest of the body.
To be able to go head to head with arduous working conditions, the vehicle was also fitted with a heavy duty bumper which had a solid construction and was easy to replace in case of a partial damage.
The hood was slightly raked giving the vehicle some sort of dynamic look, while the big windscreen had also a sloped angle enhancing the dynamic appearance initiated by the hood. The lateral windows were fairly big and kept you well informed at any time, while the exterior mirrors had also generous dimensions and won’t disappoint you.
For increased practicality, the Peugeot Expert was fitted with both sliding doors and rear doors which offered easy access to the bulky cargo bay.
The load floor length is 2050mm with a minimum width of 1190 mm between the wheel arches and 1430 mm above them. The load height measures 1410 mm, while the door widths are 1260 mm for the rear doors and 1290 mm for the side door.
The interior design is identical with its other two siblings from Fiat and Citroen and the only detail that proves you are sitting in a Peugeot, is the company’s badge mounted in the center of the steering wheel.
The overall design is pretty different than anything else seen in this segment with an ellipsoidal dash and a lot of curved shapes. The strange design of the dashboard makes the cabin less practical than other vans in this segment, as there aren’t as many storage places as expected.
As most vehicles in its class, the materials were part of the hard class and the build quality was also doubtful, with big panel gasps found all over the place and poor fittings.
The center console is fitted with numerous controls which make it look a bit cluttered and deceiving. We like however, the dash mounted gear knob that falls easy into hand and has an ergonomic design.
The Peugeot Expert offers plenty of space and up front there is room for up to three people. The middle passenger however, will feel a bit cramped as the center console limits its knee and leg room.
Fortunately you’re treated with a proper driving position and you have a good all around visibility. The driver’s seat is also pretty comfortable and it’s offered with numerous adjustments to help you get cozy behind the wheel. A unique feature of the Peugeot Expert was the hand brake lever that was placed next to the door and not between the seats like most of the cars in this segment. While this configuration offered more space for the occupants, it made the hand brake slightly uncomfortable to use and you’ll need some time to learn how to live with it.
Engines and performance
Equipped with the 1.9 D engine the Peugeot Expert finds it hard to keep it up with highway traffic, as its 71 hp aren’t enough to give you any sort of sporty performances. Around the city however, it feels more comfortable, but when fully loaded its 125 Nm of torque are still a half step behind the stronger 2.0 liter sibling.
The top of the range unit comes with 110 hp on tap and a peak torque of 250 Nm. Naturally this engine offers better performances and won’t let you down in any situation, being able to deal well with big payloads. It’s also surprisingly refined and lively both in the city and on the highway.
Peugeot Expert engines specifications
|1.9 D ||71 @ 4600 || 125 @ 2500 |
|2.0 HDi| 110 @ 4000| 250 @ 1750|
Ride and handling
Up front the Peugeot Expert is fitted with McPherson struts, while at the back its gets independent trailing arms with torsion bars.
Given its size and shape the Peugeot Expert offers a good mix between comfort and stability, at its time being among the best vehicles in its segment at the ride and handling chapter. You won’t have any major complains about the steering either, as it offers decent performances.
When you are behind the wheel you’ll forget about its bulky shape and you feel like driving a common passenger car. You can also attack corners without problems, as the body roll is well kept in check. Moreover, when the vehicle is fully loaded things will get even better.
The brakes have a nice responsive feel, and stop the lightweight car quickly with the help of front discs and rear drums. Unfortunately ABS wasn’t offered as standard, but it was available as an option. Other safety features included standard driver’s airbag, seatbelt pretensioners and force limiters.
Citroen proved that it has a lot of courage when it designed the first Expert and showed that it’s willing to take all the necessary risks to try something new. This “hybrid” van proved to be a success and the company was rewarded with a good response from the market. While the new generation is even a better and more practical model the old one was also a capable vehicle, as it had anything it needed to be treated with respect.
Leaving apart the poor materials and build quality, the interior was fairly spacious and pretty comfortable too, while the engines were pretty efficient. We especially liked the 2.0 unit which offered proper performances regardless of the load weight.
The ride and handling were also good and the vehicle was able to stack up against its best rivals.