Packing a punch!

Packing a punch!

The Peugeot Boxer is something of an underdog in the local commercial vehicle market. MARCEL TROUT discovers, however, that it packs an impressive punch.

It was a very cold winter’s afternoon; surprisingly for Johannesburg it had rained a few hours before, which made the bite in the air even sharper.

On this particular day, my colleague from FOCUS and I decided to take the new Boxer to Lanseria airport to get a good feel for the vehicle on the open road. Because of the icy conditions, we let the Boxer idle for a while to warm up for the drive, whilst we discussed its personality traits. Even after a few minutes the temperature gauge needle didn’t move until we had driven about 6 km from the office. And then the Boxer warmed up to the task in hand.

The panel van range comprises of four models: medium L2H1, long high L3H2 with two engine variations – 2.2 HDi and 3.0 HDi – and the extra long L4H2. The L2H1, which is the entry-level model and the model we were driving, is already large – it took a while to come to terms with its size whilst parking it in the office carpark. But once the driver is more familiar with its proportions, the task becomes easier.

The Boxer has an impressive 2,2-litre four-cylinder HDi engine, delivering a useful 88 kW at 3 500 r/min and a strong 320 Nm at 2 000 r/min, making it a great contender to punch above its weight. Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox.

Peugeot claims a combined fuel consumption of 10,7 l/100 km, and we caught it sipping 8 l/100 km on the open road and 10 l/100 km in the built-up areas. CO2 emissions weigh in at 240 g/km.

There is very little turbo-lag, as is characteristic of many modern turbo-diesels.

Packing a punch!Jump inside the cabin and you will find something rather different. Apart from having no radio and no option to adjust the passenger seat, the cabin is actually a nice place in which to be. Both driver and passengers sit very high, giving a clear view of the road.

The ample storage space is just perfect; you will have a place for everything and nothing will go missing. Impressive was the overhead storage compartment stretching into the middle of the cabin from the headboard, where one can keep paperwork, a small bag, spare clothing, and whatever.

Standard features are rare on any panel van; because these vehicles are seen as workhorses, luxuries are (most of the time) neglected. Peugeot has capitalised on this. The French have included all the necessary features and some luxuries like a 12 volt power socket, electric windows (one-touch on the driver’s side), central locking all-round, locking doors in motion, and electric power steering are among the more notable on the list.

The safety features are also impressive; the Boxer comes standard with ABS and electronic brake force distribution, driver air bag and an electronic immobiliser.

The styling of the exterior could perhaps have done with a little more creativity. The slanted approach of the windscreen gives it a narrow, clumsy appearance, while the flattened front of the bonnet and the jutting out lower bumper make it look like it tried to force its way under a boom gate. The large exterior side mirrors make up for the lack of a rear-view window, and the blind-spot mirrors are great and really come in handy.

The payload area is probably the best part of this vehicle: it can gobble up 1 400 litres of anything, from garden tools to cement bags, load it in and this Boxer will be begging for more. Double opening rear doors and a left-hand sliding door should make the job of loading and unloading easy, but an extra side door would have been even better.

The various models require appropriate driving licences. The L2H1, which we had on test, requires a code B licence; the L3H2 and L4H2 models require code C1 licences. Make sure your drivers hold appropriate licences.

Pricing for this panel van is R311 550, including a standard five-year/120 000 km maintenance plan, three-year/100 000 km warranty. With the availability of chassis/cab versions (one with the 2.2 Hdi and the other with the 3,0 Hdi) on a made-to-order basis, business users have the option of fitting a body that suits their specific needs, making this a Boxer that punches way above its weight.

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