Peugeot Partner Combi review (2001-2008)
One of a number of 'family-vans' that compete in entry-level compact MPV price range, the Partner Combi is Peugeot's twin to Citroen's Berlingo.
One of a number of 'family-vans' that compete in entry-level compact MPV price range, the Partner Combi is Peugeot's twin to Citroen's Berlingo. Indeed, only a few minor details and badging differentiate the two sister models from the French PSA group. Like its Citroen relative the Peugeot offers sensible, utterly practical family motoring at low cost for those unconcerned by such trivialities as styling and image. Just a single Escapade model is offered, coming with semi-SUV styling features, complete with the sliding side doors that do so much for practicality. The smart dash means it looks like anything but a van from behind the wheel, though the driving position does feel like one and the vast headroom and space behind you soon reminds you that you're essentially driving a commercial vehicle with seats.
However, the load-lugger it's based on is a surprisingly entertaining drive, the Partner Combi sharing its cosseting ride and sharp handling characteristics of the rest of the Peugeot range. But while the engine range used to be quite comprehensive, rationalisation sees just a single unit now features. Luckily, it's the excellent 1.6-litre HDi, with decent power and lots of torque to provide good performance and a willing nature. It's also very economical, averaging over 50mpg, and has a sweet, revvy nature. An immensely practical, spacious and even enjoyable family vehicle then? Yes, but there's a catch; the equivalent Citroen is cheaper, and as it's no different to drive it's the better choice.