Travellers front end looks similar to latest 3008

Traveller's front end looks similar to latest 3008

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Groupe PSA might be in the process of taking over Adam Opel and Vauxhall Motors but it also has several JVs with one of GM's main rivals, Toyota. An LCVs venture in France produces not just vans but MPVs too. The Peugeot Traveller is one of three such models. 

According to a recent media statement by PSA, its big vans and passenger vans are selling very well in European markets. Last September, a night shift was added at the plant which makes the Traveller and its LCV counterpart, the Expert. This was to be for six months, but the additional shift has now been extended "for at least one year", the French OEM and its partner Toyota Motor Europe (TME) announced at the end of March.

As for Citroën, its equivalents to the Traveller and Expert are the SpaceTourer and Jumpy (Dispatch in Britain), while the Toyotas are the Proace and Proace Verso. All are built at the *SEVEL nord plant in the French town of Lieu-Saint-Amand/Hordain. *Société Européenne de Véhicules Légers du Nord

Bespoke version of EMP2 architecture

PSA and TME revealed all three models at the Geneva motor show in March 2016. The passenger versions are available as an MPV/minivan/monospace for private buyers and as a Shuttle for business users. Up to nine occupants can be carried. The Traveller, SpaceTourer and Proace Verso share powertrains and a platform.

These vehicles were the first to be based upon a modified version of Groupe PSA's EMP2 architecture. This has the front part of that platform but the rest was developed especially for the Traveller, SpaceTourer and Proace Verso and the van variants.  

EMP2's modular design means that there are two wheelbases (2.92m and 3.27m) as well as two rear overhangs (0.80m and 1.15m). The combination further allows for three body lengths: XS at 4.60m (a claimed first in the segment) with the shorter wheelbase. Then there is the M at 4.95m and XL at 5.30m with the longer wheelbase.

No petrol engines, multiple versions of BlueHDi diesels

There are no petrol engines offered in the Traveller. Instead, multiple version of PSA's 1.6- or 2.0-litre BlueHDi diesels are available. Each of these incorporates SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) and a particulate filter. The AdBlue tank has a generous capacity of 22.4 litres which Peugeot says will provide a range of 9,500 miles or 15,000km. Unlike most other vehicles which need a urea solution, the Traveller's AdBlue filler is located in the middle pillar. It only becomes visible when the front passenger's door is opened.

Depending on how many seats you need, the choice is as noted above, between XS, M and XL variants. Seating ranges from a minimum of five, up to a maximum of nine. It goes without saying that the 5,300mm XL versions show how small many UK parking spaces are. There again, so too do most F segment luxury cars such as the BMW 7 Series, Range Rover and the bigger versions of the Expert's rival, the Mercedes-Benz V-Class.

Up to 4,900 litres of boot space

The XL extended wheelbase Experts aren't just about the maximum number of seats and to hell with luggage capacity: there is a whopping 1,500-litres (1,384dm3 VDA) of boot space. That can be increased to 4,900-litres if you remove the second and third rows.

If you don't need all that room for bags but ferrying as many as eight passengers is still a regular or occasional requirement and compact dimensions also matter, you can still accommodate up to nine people in an XS variant in a length of only 4.6m. Maximum boot space is 3,600 litres.

Something else to consider with the Expert is that low-ceiling carparks need not be avoided. I have driven cars - mainly SUVs - which couldn't get under the height restrictors in some multi-story carparks but the tallest Expert is still only 1.9m high.

EMP2 modified with unique suspension system

There is a lot of competition in the large van classes across Europe, so it should come as no surprise that this newest entrant is very car-like to drive. The suspension and steering systems have had particular attention to ensure that you get that feeling.

In common with other EMP2 vehicles, the Traveller has Pseudo MacPherson front suspension, while the electro-hydraulic steering rack is positioned behind the anti-roll bar which means no compromise for the turning circle. In what can be a very long vehicle, a turning circle of 12.4m is commendable. The shortest versions are even better, at just 11.3m.

PSA has specified bespoke rear suspension for the van/MPV triplets. An oblique wishbone system can support a payload of up to 1,400kg and there are variable stiffness springs and shock absorbers. Driving with just one occupant or multiple people and their bags you will of course notice different handling characteristics due to the weight and distribution of load. Having said that, comfort for those onboard apparently didn't deteriorate to an extent that was it noticeable - I did ask some friends who enjoyed trying out both rear rows and there were no complaints. 

Banishing the usual van-like noise levels

Some of the hidden detailing is quite clever. Knowing from the outset that a decent percentage of Travellers would be sold in 5-9 seater forms rather than as Expert vans, PSA has specified additional sound deadening foam pads and panels in the structure and opening elements. Further, penetrating parts and joints are made of absorbent materials and the windscreen is 4.46mm thick and has a soundproof layer, while window thickness is 3.85mm.

You're not going to break any acceleration or top speed records in a Traveller: the most powerful engine, which has 130kW and 400Nm will get you to 62mph in 11.0 seconds and has a V-max of 106mph. That's the top-spec 1,997cc BlueHDi and there's also a 110kW version of that unit. The 1,560cc alternative comes in 70kW and 85kW forms and these have top speeds of 90mph and 99mph respectively. The least powerful takes an unhurried 15.6 seconds to get to 62mph. CO2 averages range from 135-155g/km.

EAT6 automatic transmission standard with 130kW 2.0-litre BlueHDi

The as-tested Traveller came with the 130kW 2.0-litre BlueHDi engine and a six-speed automatic gearbox. The 70-litre fuel tank was a boon as with the big bus giving me 46mpg, there was no need to refill even in a week of mixed-conditions driving. A lot of motorway miles will push consumption into the high 30s and that's of course due to the huge frontal area. If you stick mostly to in-town driving, the stop-start system means it's possible to nudge 50+mpg. Moreover, progress is quiet and start-ups are fairly shudder-free.

Peugeot UK has split the range in two. For retail buyers, this MPV can be ordered in Active or Allure trim levels and is available in five-, seven- or eight-seat versions. Hotels and chauffeur services are the target market for the shuttle variants. These come in model grades called Business (five or nine seats) and range-topping Business Plus (six or seven seats).

As at 1 April 2017, Peugeot Traveller prices range from GBP28,775-41,005.