Many Australians may not be aware of Peugeot’s long history in the light commercial vehicle business, yet in Europe the company is a leader in the fields of technology, safety and performance for buyers of small and medium vans.
If the Partner looks somewhat familiar, it’s because it’s the twin of the latest generation Citroen Berlingo which is not being offered in Australia in 2020. Nevertheless, the good news is that behind the badge, the Peugeot Partner is exactly as potentially disappointed Berlingo customers would hope.
Just as friendly to drive, cheap to run, it’s also just as practical to use only now with the added benefits of a new generation chassis, new generation safety systems and a new generation of in-car technology.
“Peugeot re-entered the Australian light commercial vehicle market last year with the highly lauded and awarded Expert medium-sized van, and the addition of the compact Partner significantly broadens our range,” says Peugeot Commercial Vehicles Manager Lyndon Healey. “The ‘twinning’ of the Partner and Berlingo products in design and build means that the Partner will be ideal as a Berlingo replacement for Australian customers.”
Driver-friendly, the Peugeot Partner is a practical size, comfortable and easy to park.
Importantly, the Partner is also equipped with the latest safety systems and technology including six airbags and four-wheel disc brakes. In short, it delivers the workplace safety requirements for fleet and government operators.
The Peugeot Partner currently offers two body lengths, three engines and two transmissions.
Powered by a three-cylinder turbo PureTech 1.2-litre petrol engine, which produces up to 96kW and 230Nm of torque coupled with an eight speed automatic transmission, this combination returns a fuel economy result of 6.3-litres per 100km thanks, in part, to the stop-start system. The PureTech is also available in an 81 kW specification.
Four-time World Engine of the Year Award-winners, the PureTech engines provide power and torque that belie their small capacity.
The automatic transmission is sporty, and even comes with F1-style paddle shifters on the steering wheel. Long wheelbase versions of the Partner are powered by a 1.6-litre turbo diesel engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission.
The BlueHDi diesel engine provides 230Nm of peak torque at just 1,750 rpm, meaning it has heaps of lowdown grunt and uses only 5.0-litres per 100km on the combined test cycle.
Uniquely in the compact van market, the automatic versions of the Partner are equipped with a three-abreast front seat layout, which is a significant advantage for small business owners who may sometimes need seats for two passengers as well as the driver.
This versatility will also be handy for personal applications such as school runs.
The Partner is built on Peugeot’s EMP2 modular chassis (which underpins the Peugeot 3008 and 5008 SUVs, and 508 prestige sedan and Sportwagon) so it rides and handles more like a medium-sized car than a van.
The benefits are many: low interior noise, a most comfortable ride and reduced driver fatigue. It also means the Peugeot Partner comes standard with advanced technologies and safety equipment previously only expected in passenger vehicles including Autonomous Emergency Braking, Speed Sign Recognition and Lane Departure Assist.
All Partner models are also fitted with an 8-inch touch screen providing easy access to key functions such as radio, navigation, vehicle settings and telephone. Additional entertainment simply requires a mobile phone to access Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.
The Partner is also fitted with Peugeot’s class-leading Surround Rear Vision system. Using two cameras, views of the van’s immediate surroundings are displayed on a screen positioned in place of the rear-view mirror.
With Surround Rear Vision, buyers benefit from the additional security of a fully panelled body, with no compromise to visibility.
A glazed full-size solid bulkhead is standard on all models, further improving safety and reducing noise, and the petrol auto variant has a flip-up section on the passenger side which allows extra-long loads to protrude through into the passenger footwell.
To accommodate this, the squab of the passenger seat is raised upwards (leaving the middle seat free) which is handy if two people and a big load need to take a short journey.
Width between the wheel arches is 1229mm, so it will accommodate an 1165mm square Australian pallet. A tight 10.9m kerb-to-kerb turning radius provides excellent manoeuvrability.
The list of cutting-edge technology available is impressive, much of which is new in this small van segment.
Depending on the version, the new Partner has an electric parking brake, driver attention warning, active safety brake, a tow-bar stabiliser, automatic headlight dipping, blind spot monitoring and hands-free entry and engine start – great news for tool-of-trade and small business alike.