The Peugeot Partner comes in two body lengths, with a crew van based on the longer body and a full electric model available
The Peugeot Partner is built alongside the Citroen Berlingo, and comes in a choice of S, SE and Professional specs and in regular L1 and extended L2 body lengths. Unusually, the two lengths sit on the same wheelbase, so the latter stands out with a longer rear overhang. The L2 is also available as a crew van, with two extra rear seats, while this longer van forms the basis of the Partner Tepee people carrier, which replaced the Partner Combi. It’s also a popular choice for camper conversions. In standard van form, the Partner has a higher payload than larger rivals like the Fiat Doblo Cargo. Power comes from the PSA Peugeot Citroen 1.6 HDi diesel, which is offered with 75bhp or 92bhp in the L1 and just 92bhp in the L2. Buyers can specify stop-start technology on the more powerful version – this cuts the engine when the van is put into neutral at a standstill, then restarts it automatically when the driver depresses the clutch to engage first gear. Whichever engine you go for, power is sent to the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox. However, drivers wanting the convenience of an automatic can add the six-speed electronically controlled Peugeot EGC automated transmission as a £500 option. Plus, those choosing the 92bhp van can order Peugeot’s ATV grip control package. This £600 optional extra recalls the rugged Partner Escapade Peugeot used to offer, and is designed to give the Partner mild off-road ability without the fuel costs of a full-blown four-wheel-drive system. It brings an electronic differential lock with four modes – for dry roads, mud, snow and sand – as well as raised suspension and mud and snow tyres. Drivers who don’t venture beyond the city limits might consider the recently launched all-electric Partner. This Renault Kangoo Z.E. rival is based on the shorter body, promises a range of 105 miles from a single charge and has a payload of 695kg.
MPG and Running Costs
The 1.6-litre diesel engine in the Partner benefits from Peugeot’s e-HDi micro hybrid technology. This shouldn’t be confused with a real hybrid, as it simply refers to the package of eco tweaks designed to boost mpg and cut CO2 emissions. The key feature is stop-start, which Peugeot claims helps slash fuel consumption to between 50.4mpg and 60.1mpg. CO2 emissions for the Partner line-up range from 123g/km to 140g/km – and these figures put some key rivals in the shade. For example, the Volkswagen Caddy 1.6-litre promises 49.6mpg and 149g/km whether you go for the 75bhp or 102bhp version. The addition of the Partner Electric sets the Peugeot van apart in the light commercial market, too: this claims to cover 105 miles on zero emissions battery power before needing to be plugged in. Diesel Partner vans are serviced every two years or 12,500 miles, while a low insurance group – ranging from 1E-4E – adds to the financial appeal. In comparison, the Fiat Doblo Cargo sits in insurance group 4E.
Load Space and Practicality
Unlike some rivals in this market, Peugeot uses the same wheelbase for the regular and extended versions of the Partner. That means the L2 model looks a bit ungainly at the rear, where the body overhangs the rear axle. And as the body weighs more on the L2, this has the effect of reducing the payload. As Peugeot doesn’t offer a high-roof Partner, load volumes are restricted to 3.3 cubic metres in the L1 and 3.7 cubic metres in the L2. In comparison, the Fiat Doblo Cargo and near-identical Vauxhall Combo provide 3.4 cubic metres of space in short-wheelbase guise and 4.2 cubic metres with a long wheelbase. Both vans are also available with a high roof, which boosts capacity to up to 5 cubic metres. That’s not to say the Partner doesn’t make decent use of its dimensions: it can be ordered with a Multi-Flex passenger seat that splits and folds, with a cage bulkhead also folding around the driver. This extends the length of the load area beside the driver’s seat, and increases volume to 3.7 cubic metres in the L1 and 4.1 cubic metres in the L2. However, as there’s no solid bulkhead, drivers will have to put up with a fair amount of noise in the cab. The Partner also trails some rivals in terms of carrying capacity: the L1 has a maximum payload of 850kg, while the L2 can carry up to 750kg. Again, the Doblo Cargo has the edge here, with both versions carrying up to 1 tonne. The Peugeot is roughly on par with the VW Caddy, which can carry up to 682kg and has 3.2 cubic metres of room in regular form, with the long-wheelbase Caddy Maxi managing 750kg and offering 4.2 cubic metres of load space. Peugeot has added a new dimension to the Partner with its ATV Grip Control package. Some van users will find it a cheaper alternative to a 4x4, with its raised suspension and grip-boosting electronic differential lock. Mud and snow tyres are also included, which could make the £600 option look decent value to van drivers who face the expense of switching from summer to winter tyres in the autumn and back again in the spring.
Reliability and Safety
The Partner is a fairly basic van, so although it gets all-round disc brakes and ABS, ESP isn’t included as standard. The safety kit is fitted with the ATV Grip Control option, but many rivals – such as the VW Caddy and Fiat Doblo Cargo – include it as standard across their ranges. These vans also offer front side airbags as options, although the Partner now comes with the option of up to four airbags. It also has hazard warning lights that activate automatically under heavy braking. You get a half-height bulkhead, a protective-ladder frame behind the driver’s seat or, if the Multi-Flex seat is specified, a folding-mesh grille. Any major reliability problems are likely to have been ironed out by now, as the Partner has been on sale for some time. The durability of the 1.6-litre diesel engine has proven in other PSA Peugeot Citroen models, while the van’s simple interior stands up well to heavy commercial use.
Driving and Performance
Whether you go for the 75bhp or 92bhp version, the 1.6 HDi engine pulls reasonably well, even when the Partner is fully laden. It can just become a bit noisy and strained at motorway speeds, as the manual gearbox has only five ratios. The smooth EGC six-speed automated manual transmission is far more relaxed, although it’s an expensive option, at £500 on the top-spec Partner. The e-HDi with stop-start on 92bhp versions promises fuel consumption and emissions figures that are up there with the best vans in this class. Plus, the Partner Electric delivers silent, zero-emissions running, although the claimed 105-mile range will obviously limit its appeal for some drivers.
Cab and Interior
Inside, the Partner has a very simple layout, and you don’t get much in the way of kit. Basic S models come with central locking and a CD radio – and not much more. The SE adds a ladder frame behind the driver’s seat, plus the Multi-Flex fold-flat double passenger seat, while there are also electric windows and door mirrors, and a key fob with separate locking for front and rear doors. Go for the top Professional specification, and you also get air-conditioning, Bluetooth phone and USB connectivity, plus a half-height bulkhead with a mesh grille above. Just don’t view the Multi-Flex seat as a genuine three-seat option – two passengers will find it a bit of squeeze. Taller drivers should choose their bulkhead carefully, too, as some of the options limit how far the driver’s seat slides back.
|Short L1 van||1,828mm||1,810mm||4,380mm|
|Long L2 van||1,834mm||1,810mm||4,628mm|
|Long L2 crew van||1,834mm||1,810mm||4,628mm|
|Short L1 van ATV||1,838mm||1,810mm||4,380mm|
|Short L1 electric van||1,828mm||1,810mm||4,380mm|
|Long L2 electric van||1,834mm||1,810mm||4,628mm|
(Width is body width at widest point, width with mirrors is 2,112mm)
Load area dimensions
|Short L1 van||1,250mm||1,500mm||1,800mm||3.3m3|
|Long L2 van||1,250mm||1,500mm||2,050mm||3.7m3|
|Long L2 crew van||1,250mm||1,500mm||2,050mm||3.3m3|
|Short L1 van ATV||1,250mm||1,500mm||1,800mm||3.3m3|
|Short L1 electric van||1,250mm||1,500mm||1,800mm||3.3m3|
|Long L2 electric van||1,250mm||1,500mm||2,050mm||4.1m3|
(Width is body width at widest point, width with mirrors is 2,112mm)
- Power: 75bhp – 92bhp
- Weight (GVW): 1,935kg – 2,210kg
- Payload: 625kg – 850kg
- Loading height (approx, unladen) : 584 - 612mm