Ahhh the barkada road trip, no activity drives up excitement, anger, and overall goofing around more. In this case, the idea of doing a road trip began during one night out with fellow friends from the media. After a few more angry debates we settled on an itinerary, all we needed now was a vehicle to do it in, luckily someone in the group had been offered a Peugeot Traveller Premium.
The Peugeot Traveler is indeed premium
Given that there were only 4 of us we could’ve done the trip in any big sedan or crossover, but we soon realized that being cooped up together for an extended period of time in a tiny space wasn’t a good idea. Hence, we decided to take up the Peugeot Traveler Premium offer, just so we each had our own space in the van. Lovely.
From an aesthetic point of view, it’s very difficult (almost impossible) to style a van to make it look… erm, stylish. I have to say though that Peugeot did a decent job with the Traveller because they didn’t go crazy and make it look like a spaceship, but added some finer touches like curved lines just to break the usual monotony of the boxy van shape.
To sum up the looks, the Peugeot Traveller Premium is tasteful in a restrained way, nobody can say it’s over or under-styled.
Inside the premium-ness continues, with seats appointed in soft (fragrant) leather, and it must be said that the space inside the Traveller is more than enough to expel any claustrophobic feelings. My only gripe with the interior is the lack of USB ports, there is only 1 for the driver and front passenger.
Don’t get me wrong though there are a lot of 12-volt sockets littering the interior, that require a separate charging apparatus which is a bit of a hassle.
In terms of other interior creature comforts, it has massaging functions for the front two seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and one of the best-looking sunroof panels on any vehicle. It runs alongside the top of the 2nd row and third-row area, creating this skylight effect unfortunately, the glass panel doesn’t open, but there are shade covers in case you don’t want to get tanned.
Hitting the road
We departed Manila quite early because the person responsible for the Van had neglected to tell us early on that it was coding, forcing all of us to meet at an ungodly 6:00 am. Nonetheless, we were blessed enough to have made it to the expressway before 7 and we cruised our way to our first destination Porac, where we were set to do some go-karting in City Kart Pampanga.
I have to say that the Peugeot Traveller is an excellent van to travel in (pun intended), the ride as a passenger is sublime and the NVH levels are kept at a minimum, so shouting at the driver to change the song is easy to do. Usually, vans tend to be quite noisy because of the diesel engines, but the noise of the Traveler was quite mute and barely penetrated the interior, while the ride wasn’t bouncy at all.
A few kilometers in the driver of the first leg of the journey got lazy and I was forced to take the wheel. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the Traveller is to drive, it’s light and maneuverable for something that big, and it almost feels as easy as any big SUV to move around in, also it has a neat heads-up display system that shows your speed which helps you keep your eyes on the road.
We trundled along NLEX and SCTEX and eventually made it to Porac, where the fun began in earnest. My friends and I enjoy a healthy relationship of hate and a general disdain for each other, so even before we started racing the usual trash-talking began.
Lucky for us we were the first people there, so the track was completely ours, and after a mandatory safety briefing we set off and the races began. I’ll spare the details of how everything went, but to make the long story short, I prevailed and they didn’t.
After the 24-minute go-kart ride, we were all hungry, so it was time to head over to Subic, after much finger-pointing and complaining another driver was selected and on we went.
Given we were starving we decided to indulge ourselves by eating in an Unlimited Korean barbeque restaurant called Fly Pig. As the saying goes looks aren’t everything, thus if you do decide to go to Fly Pig ignore the fact that it’s located in a manky-looking strip mall, because the restaurant itself is clean and the food is top-notch for a decent price of PHP 570.
We filled ourselves up and while reeking of fried meat we hobbled into the Peugeot Traveller in search of a place where we could kick back, relax and inject our system with a caffeine boost. We decided to go to the often-overlooked ACEA beach resort located just behind the Subic Airport.
ACEA has a hidden gem of a coffee shop below the lobby, complete with more than decent coffee and access to the pool area that has a view of Subic bay. After spending a decent amount of time goofing around and drinking coffee, someone had the bright idea of hitting the famous outlet stores that Subic is known for. Once inside the outlet we each separated and tried on multiple items of clothing, ending up buying some items that were heavily discounted because we’re cheap individuals deep down.
Having burned all our cash it was time to head home, and once a driver had been selected (forced rather) we settled into the comfortable cabin of the Peugeot Traveller. The ride home was just as comfortable and fun as the ride going, in fact despite our depleted energy we found the time to turn up the music and painfully recreate the soothing tones of Frank Sinatra (much to the annoyance of the driver and probably Frank himself).
In short, while the Traveller was designed for families and does hit that mark well, it also hits the mark for those who have become family through the power of friendship. It’s capable, comfortable, and desirable for a van making it a true winner in the segment.