ONE may think there isn’t much to compare between vans. One may also think that all short-wheel base vans are the same, but they’re not. Take the 2020 Peugeot Expert and 2020 Mitsubishi Express for example.
The differences between the two can be, in some cases, night and day. But we’re here to help, by taking a look at both of them, and helping you decide which of these two market leading vans should be your next workhorse.
In this space, both vans are remarkably similar. The Mitsubishi Express is more pronounced, with sharper edges, and more of a rectangular box-like look, while the Peugeot Expert has smoother lines, and contours around its shape.
They both have an equally pronounced nose, with the Mitsubishi Express demonstrating larger real estate coverage, with bigger headlights, whereas the Peugeot Expert remains humble in this department.
From a typical van stance, the Mitsubishi Express looks much more like the classical van from the front end (and not dissimilar to the Renault Trafic on which it’s based). The Expert has a more sedan-like feel to it.
Both vans have dual sliding doors on each side, making for easy access to the cargo hold. Equally, both vehicles have suitable barn-style doors in the rear, and we would rate both vans equally in this category.
Colour options in the Mitsubishi are limited to White, Silver, Red, and Black, while the Peugeot has a few more flavours to choose from, such as Aluminium Grey, Platinum Grey, Perla Nera Black, Flame Red, and White.
After telling you about how these two vans are quite similar from the outside, the opposite is true for the cabin. They could not be more different, with the Express offering a much more basic and simple interior.
Let’s start with technology, because, well that’s where the biggest rift is. The Mitsubishi Express has an old school radio deck, like the kind you had in your Ford Falcon in 1988, albeit with the added bonus of Bluetooth connectivity.
This was incredibly disappointing, as your ability to use any navigation from a smartphone is not possible. It does have a phone mount/cradle built-in though, so you makes using that for navigation or calls a little easier.
The Peugeot Expert on the hand, offers a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, smashing it out of the part in terms of driver connectivity and technology integration.
Cabin design is minimalist in the Mitsubishi Express, which for some will feel like a relief in this technology fuelled era. There are simple dials for climate controls, an old school stick shift, removable rubber floor mats, and a reversing camera built into the rear-view mirror.
Deep pockets in the driver and passenger doors keep your drinks, books and pens in place, and there’s coffee cup holders in the dashboard.
The Peugeot Expert is the opposite, with a dial based gearshift system, along with blind spot monitoring, speed recognition and warning, and driver attention alert. What’s missing in the Expert though are removable rubber floor covers.
It feels more delicate, or at least more prone to wear in the Peugeot, with the Mitsubishi feeling tougher, more rugged, almost indestructible. It’s almost like you have to make a choice between toughness and technology at this point.
Engine and Ride Feel
Once again, the two vans show some differences here, especially in terms of torque, power, and fuel efficiency. In the Mitsubishi Express, you have a turbo-charged 2.0-litre 4-cyclinder, bolted to a 6-speed auto, and pushing out 125kW and 380Nm.
Fuel consumption is rated to run at 7.3-litres/100km. You also score a turbo-charged 2.0-litre 4-cyclinder engine in the Peugeot Expert, but it only generates 110kW and 370Nm via its 6-speed auto. Its fuel consumption is rated at 6.4-litres/100km.
The numbers should speak for themselves. There’s certainly more grunt in the Mitsubishi, and therefore this should provide more pulling power and load capacity, but that’s not quite the case unfortunately (more on loads shortly).
And there is a big personality difference when driving these two vehicles too. You barely recognise that you’re in a van in the Peugeot, and that may be intentional for the Expert. It feels and handles like a sedan and is quite the pleasure to drive.
The only drawback for us was small side-view mirrors, making it a little tricky to see on either side. You don’t want to rely on driver aids in these circumstances. The mirrors just needed to be larger, to suit the size of the van.
The Mitsubishi also had a good feel to drive and handled reasonably well, yet still felt like a van at heart. There was more bounce from the suspension when not loaded, giving you a bit of roller coaster feeling.
The side-view mirrors were not an issue, as they were large and proud, providing easy view of either sides of the van.
Size, Load and Safety
It may surprise you, given the power of the Mitsubishi Express, that its payload is less than that of the Peugeot Expert, at 1115kg versus 1300kg (respectively). Size-wise, the cargo hold in the Express is 2.53m long, 1.66m wide, and 1.38m high.
Mitsubishi have also included rubber flooring throughout the load area, which is a great advantage for protecting your floor. Twelve tie-down points across the floor and walls offer extra safety when securing your load as well.
A sturdy cage wall sits between cabin and van area, providing an unobstructed view should you need to check in the back during transport. It does mean you can smell the contents of your cargo area though.
The Peugeot Expert’s load area measures 2.51m long, 1.63m wide, and 1.64m high, which is slightly larger than its competitor. There’s no rubber mat, which means you are loading straight onto bare painted floors.
We could only count six anchor points, all on the floor. Unlike the Mitsubishi Express, the Peugeot has a solid steel panel between cabin and cargo hold, with a small glassed and caged window in line with the rear-view mirror.
This could be an advantage if you’re carting cats or dogs or stinky fish, but does limit your view of the cabin significantly compared to the Mitsubishi. Both vehicles have the standard ABS, and ESC, as well as driver and passenger airbags.
Which one wins?
Before we lead into the winner, we should speak about price points. The Mitsubishi Express retails for $39,490 (drive away) and is backed by a whopping 10-year warranty and 10 year/100,000km capped price servicing.
The Peugeot is slightly dearer, at $42,490 (plus on-roads). The warranty is a lower at 5-years and 200,000km. And while it’s a difficult decision to choose between the Renault-sourced Express and its French rival, we have to give the Peugeot the win.
The technology inclusions can’t be ignored, and the extra payload and cargo hold space makes the Expert the leader. Considering all the driving you need to do, technology and connectivity these days aren’t a luxury, they’re a necessity.
The Mitsubishi will still prove to be a favourite for those consumers who prefer simplicity in cabin experience, and tough, rugged utility of their vans. In addition, the price and long warranty shows a lot of confidence in the product Mitsubishi has to offer.
Our test vehicles were provided by Mitsubishi Australia and Peugeot Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Mitsubishi Express or the 2020 Peugeot Expert, contact your local Mitsubishi or Peugeot dealer.