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TRAVEL BROADENS THE MIND (some text hidden)
If you want a properly big MPV at a reasonable price, then Peugeot's Traveller has a lot to recommend it, thinks June Neary.
Will It Suit Me?word count: 130
Peugeot aims to set a benchmark in the super-large MPV segment with this Traveller model. Though based on the brand's medium-sized Expert van, it also shares its EMP2 platform with some of the French maker's more conventional car models and that, along with sophisticated suspension, means a standard of ride difficult to better in the segment. This model's running cost figures also set a fresh class standard and there's a wider variety of seating permutations than most rivals can offer. Indeed, if you tick all the right boxes, your Traveller could take as many as nine people. On paper at least, larger families seeking a relaxed, connected and very spacious ownership experience could well find a lot to interest them here. With that in mind, I thought I'd try one.
Practicalitiesword count: 293
Large, van-based MPVs certainly aren't what they used to be. Take this Peugeot Traveller for example. Though clearly commercially-derived, it's got a bit of style to it, with compact overhangs and a high windowline giving a bit of purpose to the boxy shape. Move to the back and, as you'd expect, the vertically stacked lights flank a tailgate rather than the twin side-hinged rear doors you'd get on an Expert van. The space you get here with all three rows of seats in place obviously varies depending on the bodystyle you've chosen. With the mid-range 'Standard' bodyshape, there's 627mm of length from the back of the third seating row to the tailgate, which means you get 640-litres of cargo space up to the level of the loadbay cover - or as much as 900-litres if you were to load to the roof. A lot of the time of course, you'll be using this Peugeot with only five seats in place - as I did. If on the 'Standard' bodyshape model, you fold the third row backrest onto the seat base, you can increase loading capacity to 1,100-litres - or 1,950-litres loading up to roof height. Enough on luggage space: what's this Peugeot like for people? The model my family and I tried is a 'Business'-trimmed variant, which means there's the no-cost option of the dual front passenger bench that would normally be fitted in an Expert van. The fascia's focal point is found with a smart centrally-situated 7-inch 'Peugeot Connect' colour touchscreen, the most sophisticated I've come across so far in any of the brand's models. It includes a 'Mirror Screen' feature, so you can duplicate your smartphone's display onto the monitor via either the 'Apple CarPlay' or the 'MirrorLink' 'Android Auto' systems.
Behind the Wheelword count: 194
The Traveller is an MPV based on a van that's built on Peugeot's 'EMP2' family car platform. As a result, this large People Carrier rides over poor road surfaces with a calm and composure that most of its commercial vehicle-derived rivals can't match. Helping in this regard is a suspension design using adaptive shock absorbers that provide excellent control, no matter how many people are on-board. At higher speeds, you get some wind and road noise but through the bends, the handling is surprisingly stable and there's plenty of grip. Another benefit of using a passenger car base lies in the way that the Traveller feels more nimble and compact than rivals when you're threading through city streets or making your way along country lanes. Light steering and a tight turning circle contribute here too. Under the bonnet, there's a choice of four BlueHDi diesel engines, with optional clutch-less gearboxes available both at the bottom and the top of the range. Customers are given the choice of either a 1.6-litre unit with either 95 or 115bhp: it's the pokier version I tried. Alternatively, there's a 2.0-litre powerplant, available in either 150 or 180bhp guises.
Value For Moneyword count: 318
Peugeot offers a whole range of options for customers wanting to transport up to nine people in a vehicle of this size. If all you need is a utilitarian minibus, then your dealer will steer you towards the Expert Combi model, which is priced in the £23,000 to £30,000 bracket. Most families though, will want something a bit nicer and more MPV-like than that vehicle and for them, this Traveller model will suit much better. In return for a price premium of around £4,500 over Expert Combi prices, Traveller motoring will certainly feel more car-like but the 1.6 and 2.0-litre BlueHDi diesel engines used are the same as in the Expert Combi and the range is built around the same three body lengths - an entry-level 'Compact' size, the mid-range 'Standard' bodystyle I tried and the top 'Long' variant. Prices span the £28,000 to £35,000 bracket. Most private buyers will probably start by looking at the 'Compact' model, then consider whether it's worth finding the £700 premium necessary to upgrade to the 'Standard'-sized variant. From there, you'll have to find a further £700 if you want the biggest 'Long' bodystyle. Still with me? Good. Next, you'll need to know that this MPV is being marketed in two different ways. Private customers are being targeted by 'Active' and 'Allure'-specification models, while professional buyers have the choice of 'Business' or 'Business VIP' models. In all cases, all three bodyshapes are available. Go the private route and it's quite likely that you'll be sticking with entry-level 'Active'-trim as leather-lined 'Allure'-spec comes with a hefty premium of over £5,500 and can't be ordered with either of the 1.6-litre engines. Bear in mind though, that on a base 'Active' model, you have to pay just over £1,000 extra for the split-folding third seating row that increases carrying capacity from five to eight people. That third row comes as standard on an 'Allure' derivative.
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Category: MPV People Carriers
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