Your Expert Partners, courtesy of Peugeot

Your Expert Partners, courtesy of Peugeot

With competitive pricing, good spec, and space, Peugeot’s light commercial vehicles really should be as popular in our market as they are in Europe…

Peugeot has had a respectable, comprehensive range of light commercial vehicles on sale to the local market for some time now. The older Partner model arrived in South Africa in 2005, with the newer version being available since 2008. The larger Expert panel van arrived a year later. Sales on the Partner since 2008 have been over 300 units and on the Expert Peugeot achieved its targets for 2010. Yet we don’t see too many on our roads, something which Peugeot South Africa plans to change in the coming months.

The Partner and Expert are aimed at SMEs, single vehicle operations such as plumbers and electricians, and the courier/distribution market. Interestingly, according to Ziyad Gaba, commercial vehicles product manager Peugeot South Africa, a new avenue they are exploring is an ambulance conversion to the Expert for private healthcare businesses.

The Partner is available with either a 1.6i petrol or 1.6HDi diesel engine on a 2 728 mm wheelbase, with a longer version available as made to order. The engines are muscular enough, with outputs of 80 kW and 147 Nm and 66 kW and 215 Nm respectively. Impressive, too, is the claimed (combined cycle) fuel consumption figures of 8.4l/100 km for the petrol and 5.8l/100 km for the HDi.

Being a bigger vehicle (3 000 mm wheelbase, with an extended version again made to order) the Expert is available with a 2.0HDi diesel engine only, that returns a claimed 7.2l/100 km on the combined cycle and produces 88 kW and 300 Nm torque to make light work of lugging a load around.

And lug loads they can. Both models have three seats in front, allowing for a 3.3 m3 load volume and an 850 kg payload in the Partner. The Expert adds a bit more practicality, obviously, with a 5 m3 load volume and 1200 kg payload plus two sliding doors and rear doors that open to 180°.

The three-up crew will enjoy a nice environment while on the move in either vehicle, with features such as electric windows (one touch in Expert), power sockets, numerous storage spaces, rake and reach adjustable electric power steering, and air-conditioning on the Partner.

You won’t be short-changed in terms of safety and security either. Both vehicles come equipped with ABS and EBD (disks all round), driver and passenger airbags, remote central locking with immobiliser, automatic locking of the doors, and independent locking of the loading area. On the Partner you can add a collapsible steering column and automatic fuel cut-off and door unlocking in event of an accident.

The Expert was named International Van Of The Year 2008, and according to Gaba, it’s the exceptional quality and performance at reasonable pricing which sets both models apart.

In Europe, the Partner and Expert make Peugeot the top selling LCV manufacturer, and Peugeot South Africa hope to replicate this success. “The standard service plans, along with class leading payloads and load volumes as well as outstanding fuel consumption figures make Peugeot’s range the best choice for business vehicles,” he says.

For 2011, Peugeot plans to grow in this market, with the Expert targets (including the eight-seater passenger version) of over 100 units. Both Partner derivatives come standard with a three year/100 000 km warranty and five year/90 000 km service plan, while the Expert has the same warranty, but a five year/100 000 km service plan. And with pricing ranging from R169 480 to R182 000 for the Partner and R265 900 for the Expert, there’s absolutely no reason why they shouldn’t.

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