Peugeot Expert Combi
Tough and functional, the Peugeot Expert Combi minibus is available in 3 lengths: Standard (4.95 m), Long (5.30 m) and a Compact version measuring just 4.60m. All of these offer multiple seating configurations and even the smallest Compact Version has space for up to 9 people on board. A nice touch is the relatively low 1.90m roof height, which means easy car park access.
The Expert Combi van can be equipped with twin sliding side doors with heated windows, Plus access to the third row of seats is easy. A single control folds the second row of seats down and provides a wide passage to the rear bench seat. With its fully removable rear chairs, the Peugeot Expert Combi offers many configurations, including individual seats or a dual-passenger bench seat at the front. In the second row, you can have a split bench seat or here individual seats, all with ISOFIX mounting points. The wipe-clean 'TEP' (plastic-coated fabric) trimming is welcome too.
The Peugeot Expert Combi uses the PSA Group's light, stiff 'EMP2' platform and mates to it a range of BlueHDi diesel engines ranging in output from 95 to 180bhp. These deliver some of the lowest fuel consumption and emissions figures in the segment and are very cost-efficient to maintain with service intervals of 25,000 miles or 2 years. There's also a EAT6 automatic gearbox option.
All models get twin front airbags, a DAB radio, Bluetooth 'phone compatibility, cruise control with a speed limiter and twin sliding side doors. New safety features include Road sign reading that flashes road signs up on the dash as you pass them. Plus, depending on trim level, your Expert Combi can come with things like 'Driver Attention Alert' to combat drowsiness, a Lane Departure Warning System, Blind Spot Monitoring, Automatic main beam switching, a head-up display and Active Cruise Control. You might also want to specify the 'VisioPark' camera system.Click here to find out more about our Peugeot Expert Combi range
Toyota Proace Combi
The second generation Toyota Proace is a vastly better proposition than its predecessor, sharing its technology with Citroen Dispatch and Peugeot Expert people carrying models.
The utilitarian Proace Combi has a 9-seat configuration. Alternatively, there's a more MPV-like 'Proace Verso' model with a plusher, more car-like interior. This can still take nine people.
There are three Proace Verso body sizes - 'Compact', 'Medium' and 'Long'. In terms of length, you're talking around 4.6, 5.0 or 5.3-metres, depending on the variant you choose, so either way, you're going to need a very big garage. It's worth noting that the Proace Verso's height of 1.90m is low enough to guarantee entry into covered car parks - a relatively rare attribute in this segment. The 'Medium' and 'Long' length versions will be the variants chosen by most buyers, but even the shortest 4.60m-long 'Compact' derivative can comfortably accommodate the three seating rows.
The Proace Combi is available only with Toyota's 115bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine mated to a 6-speed gearbox. The power of this unit should be quite sufficient for most businesses, offering a full 240Nm of torque. Opt for the Proace Verso model though and there's also the option of a 2.0-litre diesel unit that'll be better suited to heavier payloads and longer journeys. It's available with either 148 or 174bhp, the most powerful unit mated to the brand's efficient 6AT auto transmission.
The driving position, though not as lofty as in some models, nevertheless affords a decent view up the road and is comfortable on the move. That relaxed approach also extends to the electro-hydraulically-assisted power steering. You'll appreciate its lightness around town though, where this minibus is impressively manoeuvrable for its size, with a tight turning circle. The low stance and the big front overhang can initially make parking a bit tricky, though rearward vision is helped hugely by huge door mirrors with their separate wide-angle reflectors.Click here to find out more about our Toyota Proace Combi range
Vauxhall Vivaro Combi
Vauxhall has recently widened its range of people carrying Vivaro LCV models. The standard option is the Vivaro Combi, which has space for up to nine folk. There's also a 'Combi Plus' variant with a plusher more car-like interior. And even a Vivaro Tourer Weekender derivative featuring a third row bed. Yes, really.
Most will be satisfied with the standard 'Combi' variants, which come with a choice of two wheelbases - 'L1' and 'L2'. Buyers get twin sliding side-access doors with fixed windows, three-passenger second and third-row bench seats and a 60/40 split-folding seat back for the second-row bench seat, There's also a useful fold and tumble facility for third-row bench seat, removable second and third-row bench seats and inertia-reel lap and diagonal seatbelts for all provided chairs. The specification runs to a glazed tailgate with a heated rear window and wash/wipe facility, plus you also get a wipe-clean rubber floor covering, half-height sidewall trim and load restraint lashing eyes for load area.
The engines that power the Vivaro Combi are both 1.6-litre turbodiesel units, but aside from that, they deliver very different results. Most buyers will probably opt for the 1.6-litre CDTi unit, available in either 89 or 113bhp power outputs. In order to match the sort of power outputs Mercedes can deliver with the Vito, Vauxhall has also introduced the 1.6-litre BiTurbo CDTi engine, available in 119 or 138bhp guises.
Powered by two turbochargers working together, this engine combines excellent performance with decent fuel economy. From just 1,500rpm, the 119bhp BiTurbo generates an impressive maximum torque of 320Nm, while the 138bhp variant delivers 340Nm. From just 1,500rpm, the 119bhp BiTurbo generates 320Nm torque, while the 138bhp variant delivers 340Nm, so there's plenty of muscle even if you're fully loaded. The driving position, though not as lofty as in some models nevertheless affords a decent view up the road. You get big door mirrors to help with manoeuvring and tried and tested transmissions.Click here to find out more about our Vauxhall Vivaro Combi range