Peugeot and Citroën’s new Expert and Dispatch offer a much improved drive, says Dan Gilkes.SECTOR Mid-weight van LOAD VOLUME 4.6–6.1m3 FUEL 46.3–55.3mpg CO2 133–151g/km
Unveiled at the CV Show this year, Citroën’s new Dispatch and the latest Peugeot Expert almost deserve new names, they are so different from what has gone before. Available in three body lengths, on two wheelbases and with a choice of 1.6 and 2.0-litre BlueHDi Euro 6 diesel engines, the vans represent a massive step forward for the PSA duo.
The 1.6-litre models, which offer 95hp and 115hp, can carry just over1-tonne, while the 2.0-litre vans, delivering 120hp, 150hp and 180hp get a maximum1.4-tonne payload.
Towing capacity is a hefty 2.5-tonnes. The 95hp engine comes with a five-speed manual gearbox while all other models apart from the 180hp get six-speed manuals. The 180hp has a six-speed automatic transmission as standard.
As well as three panel van lengths, which include an all-new 4.6m long model dubbed Compact by Peugeot and XS by Citroën, there are crew van versions and platform cabs that allow customers to fit their own bodies.
All models come with a 22.4-litre AdBlue tank, that should last up to 9,300 miles between refills. Service intervals have been set at 25,000 miles/two years for all but the 180hp vans, which require an oil change at 18,600 miles/two years. The vans are as unrecognisable inside as out, with a 7-inch touchscreendominating the dash in all but the most basic S specification Expert and X trim Dispatch. However even these starter models come with twin sliding doors, a full steel bulkhead, DAB radio with Bluetooth, electric windows, dual passenger seats and cruise control with speed limiter.
Opt for the Dispatch Enterprise of Expert Professional and you get a Connect Radio with the 7-inch screen, incorporating DAB, Bluetooth, USB and MirrorLink connectivity. You also get a Moduwork load-through bulkhead with folding outer passenger seat, extending the load area into the cab for longer loads. These models come with air-con, rear parking sensors, heated electric mirrors and an alarm.
Enterprise Plus by Citroën and Professional Plus by Peugeot, adds body coloured bumpers, door handles and mirror housings, front fogs, LED DRLs, 17-inch alloys, auto lights and wipers, plus front and rear parking sensors with a rear view camera.
Option packs include an Easy Entry Pack that allows a driver to wave a foot under the rear bumper to open the electric sliding side doors, when carrying parcels. Far more impressive is the option of a head-up display, that projects speed and navigation data onto a glass block on top of the dash, in the driver’sline of vision.
It’s only available if you also opt for the Connect Nav option and Drive Assist Pack, but once you try it, you will be sold. Both vans will be offered with a 3D TomTom Traffic system running through the 7-inch touchscreen, with Citroen set to phase out its long-term deal with Trafficmaster Smartnav.
Both the 1.6 and 2.0-litre engines are smooth and powerful enough to pull half-laden vans along with ease, offering a refined, comfortable drive. The handling isreassuringly good and the ride comfort on smooth French roads equally capable.
What we think:
New Expert and Dispatch are world’s away from the previous entrants,delivering excellent economy and performance, with new levels of driver comfort and technology.