THE Peugeot Traveller has a bit of a split personality. It looks like a van from the outside, but climb in and this large people carrier could pass for a luxurious saloon – albeit with seating for eight.
Pulling on to the drive at Keenan Towers immediately sparked the twitching of neighbours’ curtains and I was met by a family delegation who thought I was starting a taxi business.
The Traveller is impossible to ignore and while, yes, its commercial vehicle roots are revealed by slab sides, it still manages to look reasonably smart with stylish alloy wheels, neat LED daytime running lights, body-coloured bumpers and a natty grille.
There are also massive sliding doors that can be opened and closed via the key fob providing easy access to the cabin, while tinted windows give occupants some privacy from the hoi polloi.
The interior dimensions of the mid-sized standard model – there are also compact and long wheelbase versions available – mean all seats are suitable for adults so there is no need to buy tickets for the back-row lottery.
The powered massaging front seats proved a shock for one pal who accidentally pressed the button getting into the MPV – but it is a nice touch that is very welcome on long journeys.
The centre console’s star performer is a seven-inch colour touchscreen giving access to goodies such as the digital radio, smartphone connectivity and sat nav.
A head-up display in the Allure model gives a jet fighter feel to what is in essence a cargo plane, while the £38,805 model also gets leather upholstery and heated front seats as well as dual-zone climate control, cruise control, automatic headlights and wipers, plus powered mirrors.
Plenty of safety kit is included so the Traveller receives a reassuring five-star rating.
The boot is a decent size, even with all seats in place, and there is plenty of cubby hole room.
The 2.0-litre diesel engine driving the front wheels of the Traveller I tested is one of two oil burner options with four power outputs.
The 150bhp motor under the bonnet of my Traveller, linked to a six-speed manual gearbox that wasn’t as slick as Peugeot’s usual efforts, does a good job of powering what is a big beast.
It gives the Traveller a respectable 0-62mph time of 11 seconds and makes it adept at overtaking.
Fuel economy is surprisingly frugal with stop-start technology proving its worth when you are stuck in traffic while carbon dioxide emissions of 139g/km are competitive, ensuring tax bills for private and company car buyers are affordable.
The Traveller’s foundations allow car-like responses when it comes to ride and handling.
So humps and hollows are treated with disdain ensuring occupants are cosseted in the spacious cabin. My one quibble would be with the steering which is a touch vague – making twisting country lanes a bit of a trial – although the turning circle is excellent.
You would think parking would also be a chore - but my wife was memorably amazed when I managed to easily slot it into the tightest of spots, aided and abetted by parking sensors and camera, as well as large door mirrors.
For anyone considering starting an executive shuttle business or requiring an eight-seater family van with practicality and comfort guaranteed – then the Traveller is one for the shortlist.