05 January 2017 Last Updated: 09 January 2017

Full Peugeot Boxer (06 on) Model Review

by CJ Hubbard, Vans Editor

Peugeot Boxer 2.0-litre BlueHDi EU6 review
  • Peugeot Boxer 2.0-litre BlueHDi EU6 review
  • Peugeot Boxer 2.0-litre BlueHDi EU6 review
  • Peugeot Boxer 2.0-litre BlueHDi EU6 review
  • Peugeot Boxer 2.0-litre BlueHDi EU6 review
  • Peugeot Boxer 2.0-litre BlueHDi EU6 review
  • Peugeot Boxer 2.0-litre BlueHDi EU6 review
  • Peugeot Boxer 2.0-litre BlueHDi EU6 review
  • Peugeot Boxer 2.0-litre BlueHDi EU6 review
  • Peugeot Boxer 2.0-litre BlueHDi EU6 review
  • Peugeot Boxer 2.0-litre BlueHDi EU6 review
  • Peugeot Boxer 2.0-litre BlueHDi EU6 review
  • Peugeot Boxer 2.0-litre BlueHDi EU6 review
  • Peugeot Boxer 2.0-litre BlueHDi EU6 review
  • Peugeot Boxer 2.0-litre BlueHDi EU6 review
  • Peugeot Boxer 2.0-litre BlueHDi EU6 review
  • Peugeot Boxer 2.0-litre BlueHDi EU6 review
  • Long-serving 3.5t large van gets new 2.0-litre engine
  • Euro 6 BlueHDi is more efficient, more powerful
  • Good value and big payload but poor to drive
Peugeot Boxer (06 on) 2.0 BlueHDi (160ps) 435 L3 H2 Van - Road Test
The current generation of Peugeot Boxer large van dates back to 2006, making it – together with the Citroen Relay (and Fiat Ducato) based on the same platform – the oldest competitor in this area of the van market.

The current generation of Peugeot Boxer large van dates back to 2006, making it – together with the Citroen Relay (and Fiat Ducato) based on the same platform – the oldest competitor in this area of the van market.

Can it still cut it against more modern rivals such as the class-leading Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (2013), best-selling Ford Transit (2014) and brand new Volkswagen Crafter (2017)? We’ve got one of the latest Euro 6 Boxer models on test in L3H2 435 specification to find out.

Click here to read about the best large vans for payload on Parkers Vans

New year, new engine

Following a comprehensive refresh of the rest of the van in 2014, late 2016 saw Peugeot ditch the Boxer’s long-serving 2.2-litre HDi turbodiesel engine in favour of a more up-to-date 2.0-litre BlueHDi turbodiesel power unit.

Peugeot Boxer 2.0-litre BlueHDi EU6 review

This new motor is based on an engine that’s been in use in Peugeot’s cars since 2013, but has still been thoroughly overhauled to suit the heavier demands of a commercial vehicle.

This update included upgraded parts – the turbo and exhaust manifold in particular – plus an extended testing regime, designed to make sure the new engine is up to the job (for more details click here).

In this instance we’re testing the 2.0-litre BlueHDi 130 variant – which delivers 131hp, 340Nm of torque and, in this specification, an impressive 44.1 official fuel economy claim.

This makes it one of the most efficient vans in its class, and though the cheaper BlueHDi 110 alternative has even better fuel economy on paper, its reduced power and torque mean you might have to work it harder in real life, using more fuel in the process.

Peugeot Boxer L3H2 435 dimensions, payload, capacity

The age of this van is no handicap to its efficiency – and if anything it’s an advantage to its carrying capacity, for it remains one of the top large vans for payload (see our full list of the best 3.5-tonne vans for payload).

This is despite the extra bulk of the AdBlue tank introduced to help the new engine meet those Euro 6 regulations.

What does Euro 6 mean for van and pickup buyers?

Peugeot Boxer 2.0-litre BlueHDi EU6 review

The Boxer on test is the L3H2 435 – which means it’s got the third longest of the four available body lengths (L3), and the second of the three available roof heights (H2). The 435 designation makes it a heavy-duty model with a 3.5-tonne gross vehicle weight; Boxers in the 400 range have reinforced suspension compared to those in the 300 range, increasing the load capacity on each axle.

Important dimensions and statistics for the L3H2 435:

  • Maximum load length (at floor): 3,705mm
  • Maximum load width: 1,870mm
  • Maximum load width between the wheel arches: 1,422mm
  • Maximum payload: 1,485kg
  • Maximum load volume: 13 cubic metres

In addition to the twin rear doors you get a large sliding door on the passenger side that will easily allow loading of a Euro pallet; the sill heights are also reasonably low, making entry into and exit from the back of the van easier on your knees.

However, the unpanelled, bare-metal finish of our test vehicle’s load area looked easy to damage – not even a floor covering is included as standard. You do get a full steel bulkhead, though, and the test van had eight lashing points on the floor, two on the bulkhead and four attached to the sides.

In the cab

This particular Boxer is a basic model, meaning that it misses out on the alarm, air-conditioning, cruise control, rear parking sensors and satellite-navigation that are fitted as standard on the higher-grade Professional trim level.

Peugeot Boxer 2.0-litre BlueHDi EU6 review

However, you do still get a DAB digital radio with Bluetooth and USB port, electric heated door mirrors, electronic stability control and a set of deadlocks.

The interior design is relatively contemporary to look at, and there’s plenty of room for the middle passenger’s knees thanks to the gearlever being located less than a hand span to the side of the steering wheel. This makes changing gear a snappy affair, despite the six-speed transmission's slightly reluctant mechanism.

More unusual features include the pop-up clipboard on the dash top, and the position of the handbrake on the right of the driver’s seat. Try not to snag your unmentionables on it while climbing in.

Peugeot Boxer 2.0-litre BlueHDi EU6 review

There is plenty of storage, but not all of it is particularly well thought out; for example, the upper door pockets are narrow and awkward to access and neither of the large bins on the passenger side of the dashboard are covered.

Surprisingly for such a tall van, there’s no overhead shelf either.

Boxer BlueHDi driving experience

This is where the Boxer really starts to feel its age. Despite the new engine, driving this front-wheel drive van is a noisy, unrefined affair – from the clamour under the bonnet to wind and road noise that also makes its way into the cabin. You start to feel tired after just a few minutes on the motorway.

Making matters worse, while it’s a light and nimble steer around town – impressively so given its size – at higher speeds it becomes decidedly nervous and unsettled.

Peugeot Boxer 2.0-litre BlueHDi EU6 review

Not only is it susceptible to side winds, it seems to follow the contours of the road much more than those modern rivals, meaning you find yourself fighting the steering just to go in a straight line. This is rather tiring as well.

Add in the off-set steering wheel and bus-like driving position, and it’s not much fun over long distances. We found the ride quality bouncy and harsh, too, but that’s to be expected when the heavy-duty suspension of the 400 series is used without a significant payload.

Still, it’s difficult to excuse the large quarterlight window panels in the cab doors, which interfere with your visibility. Plus the low, extended snout at the front also makes parking a nervous affair until you get used to it.

Verdict

The Boxer 2.0-litre BlueHDi 130 is a practical, fuel-efficient van with great load capacity and basic creature comforts included as standard. If you’re an exclusively urban operator, its nifty low-speed responses may win you over – just be wary of the visibility issues, and that the 435’s suspension will prove uncomfortable if you’re not running with significant weight at all times.

It’s also good value – especially if you shop around. That said, if it’s a deal you’re after, at the time of writing there seems to be plenty of remaining stock of the old 2.2-litre Boxer, which should prove cheaper to buy and save you the added expense of refilling the 15-litre AdBlue tank every 6,200 miles (approximately; according to Peugeot’s figures).

However, if you have big distances to cover and can cope with the slight reduction in payload, you’ll find the Sprinter, Transit and soon-to-arrive Crafter much better all-rounders – from the way they drive to their more modern designs and safety measures.

Also consider:

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Ford Transit

VW Crafter

More info and advice from Parkers:

Best 3.5-tonne large vans for payload

What Euro 6 means for van and pickup buyers

Read the full Peugeot Boxer review on Parkers Vans