Review Peugeot Boxer New car

17 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Review Peugeot Boxer New car
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It takes dedication and no small amount of ability to produce a competitive panel van. These vehicles need to be tough enough to take the knocks with the stamina to go the distance and a tonne of heart. Muscle and size will get you so far but to become a real contender in the heavyweight division, a big van needs craft, a touch of style and the ability to always make the weight.

Add in some deft promotion to whip up public interest, perhaps with some media showboating to unsettle opponents, and you’re close to a shot at the title. All that remains is to get in the ring with operators, invite them to stick it all in, move and work the body. It’s a long, tough road but Peugeot think they’ve got champion material in the shape of their latest Boxer.

Well over 500,000 Peugeot Boxer models left the Val di Sangro factory in Italy between 1994 and 2006. This was the previous generation version and it was a big seller for Peugeot across Europe. As a result, today’s Boxer has some big tyres to fill but even a cursory inspection of this vehicle’s specifications indicates that the French manufacturer has given it a fighting chance.

For a start, it’s big. The old Boxer never came in the high capacity bodystyles that would have allowed it to compete at the top end of the large panel van sector from where parcel courier firms and other acutely space-conscious operators select their fleets. Before this Boxer came along, the maximum load volume in the range was 14m3.

Today, you can order a Boxer panel van with 17m3 of virgin room in the back and the range’s maximum payload extends up to 2,000kg.

There’s a good degree of choice contained within the line-up as well. Gross vehicle weights of 3, 3.3, 3.5 and 4.0 tonnes are available. Then you have four load lengths (L1 to L4) and three roof heights (H1 to H3). Mix and match between these options and you can get your Boxer panel van as small as the L1/H1 3-tonner with its 8m3 load volume or as big as the mammoth 17m3 volume L4/H3 at 2.76m high and nearly 6.5 meters from trunk to tail.

Peugeot also caters for converters with a variety of chassis and platform cab options. There are single and crew cabs along with models featuring an extended rear track for extra wide conversions. A selection of factory-built passenger-carrying models completes the line-up.

Today, you can order a Boxer panel van with 17m3 of virgin room in the back and the range’s maximum payload extends up to 2,000kg.

The way the Boxer looks is going to generate quite some debate until the regular sight of them on the roads inevitably sees the unorthodox front end subsumed into the mainstream. The days when panel vans were nondescript clones of one and other have gone with most manufacturers now attempting to differentiate their products on a visual rather than purely practical level, and the Boxer can certainly consider itself differentiated.

The Boxer’s stubby frontage is produced by a nose that’s in two sections. There’s a chunk missing in the middle as if it’s been twelve rounds with a particularly peckish Mike Tyson. The horn-shaped headlamps are a really nice touch, positioned right up under the windscreen and out of harm’s way.

This leaves the grille and Peugeot badge to populate the lower section that juts forward protected by what seems like acres of chunky plastic bumper. Things are far more uniform as you head rearwards but the theme of bodywork protection is continued by thick side-rubbing strips and another big bumper at the back. There are indicators in the wing mirrors which won’t find favour with drivers who use their mirrors like whiskers to test the width of parking spaces or gaps in traffic and steps in the front bumper let you climb up and clean the windscreen.

Access to the rear is through the double-hinged back doors which swing out to 96 degrees or can be manually released to a 180 degree arc. There’s a wide sliding side door on the near side and the loading height is between 53 and 56cm depending on the model. Other than the rear wheel arch bulges, the space inside is uniformly shaped while the ribbed floor and abundance of lashing points will help keep wayward items in check.

The cabin says a lot about the way that panel interior van design has progressed in recent years. There’s the dash-mounted gearlever, the decent quality plastics and a multitude of storage options. The Boxer’s dash-top clipboard is carried over from the old model and it’s a feature that rivals have since pinched.

There’s a massive central glovebox below the centre console and big pockets in the doors as well as other handy shelves and pots to keep your paraphernalia in check.

Power is from a line-up of three four-cylinder HDi common-rail diesel engines or two, depending on how you look at it. The entry-level 2.2-litre HDi 100 and the mid-range HDi 120 are actually the same unit with changes to the engine management software accounting for the power increase. Both of these options display strong torque characteristics from low revs, the HDi 100 turning in 250Nm at only 1,500rpm and the HDi 120 with 320Nm at 2,000rpm.

It all makes for a muscular feel as well as a more relaxing drive. As always in the panel van market, operators that regularly ask their vehicles to perform when heavily laden should climb as high up the engine range as their budget permits. The range-topper is a 3.0-litre affair with 400Nm at its disposal at 1,700rpm and a 160bhp power rating that should be well up to hauling the bigger Boxers about.

The 3.0-litre HDI models get a 6-speed gearbox.

Safety is gaining an ever higher profile in panel vans and all Peugeot Boxers benefit from ABS brakes with brakeforce distribution and brake assist. Traction control and electronic stability control systems are also available while all models feature a driver’s airbag and 3-point belts with additional bags available as options.

This Peugeot Boxer looks to have the full package required to make a name for itself in this increasingly closely fought sector. The all-round quality of the design is eye-opening and will be enough to deliver the knock-out blow to many rivals. Remember though, that Citroen and Fiat also offer their own versions of the same vehicle, badged respectively as the Relay and the Ducato.

They come complete with the same eccentric frontal styling treatment as the Boxer so decisions between this capable trio may come down to a close points decision.


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