Capable, versatile, rugged and economical, the Peugeot Partner compact van is a strong all-rounder and, at the time of writing, the UK's sixth bestselling van of the year so far. Still going strong at more than 20 years old, and now in its third generation, it was described by Auto Express as “taking the small van class to another level.”
The Partner shares a platform with the Citroen Berlingo and Vauxhall Combo; following their revamp last year, the trio won both this year's International Van of the Year award and What Van?’s light commercial vehicle of the year title. Jarlath Sweeney, chairman of the International Van of the Year panel, described the trio as “the most significant small panel van development in years.” The revamp should keep prices on second-generation models down too.
Peugeot has built more than 1.8 million vans since 1950, so it knows what it's doing – and has put a lot of thought into designing the Partner. The result is a good quality, practical vehicle packed with helpful features that should definitely be on your list if you're looking for a small van. Here are five reasons why.
The Partner comes in two lengths, standard and long, with even the smaller version able to accommodate two euro pallets. The long version can carry a payload of up to 3.8 cubic metres or just over 1,000kg in a load bay 2.2m long, 1.6m wide and 1.2m high.
Standard-length versions come with a sliding passenger-side door for easy loading and unloading; long versions have one on the driver's side too. All versions have a full bulkhead and six tie-down hooks to keep cargo secure.
All versions apart from the base S trim can seat three people, thanks to a folding passenger bench seat which can double up as a desk. This setup also includes a load-through hatch in the bulkhead for carrying long objects like pipes, giving you a maximum load length of 3.4m in the long version. You gain a further 0.6 cubic metres of load space when you fold the seat.
The Partner is also available as a five-seater crew van – again, you can fold the back seats for more cargo space – and an MPV version, the Partner Tepee.
What the AA described as the Partner's “unique continental charm” is definitely in evidence on the road. It's fun and engaging, with responsive steering, a smooth, refined drive and a supple ride. Its compact dimensions make it easy to manoeuvre around town – in long length its turning circle is still only 11.4m – and at well under 2m high you should have no problems taking it into a multi-storey car park. The bulkhead helps keep things quiet too.
There's a choice of either a 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbopetrol engine or a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel delivering up to 129bhp, 221lb ft of torque and fuel economy of 52.3mpg under new WLTP figures. Carbon dioxide pollution across the range hovers between 112g/km and 117g/km.
The comfortable, sophisticated cabin has the cockpit-style layout that is now Peugeot's trademark, with a small steering wheel and an instrument panel sitting above it in the driver's line of vision. On all versions, the steering wheel is adjustable for rake and reach, and the driver's seat is height, lumbar, rake and reach-adjustable on all but S trim.
There are 113 litres of cabin storage, including lockable under-seat storage in three-seater versions, lidded compartments on top of the dashboard, an overhead shelf, door pockets large enough for 1.5-litre water bottles, cup holders and a laptop compartment in the glovebox. The cabin floor is also protected by a hard plastic covering to help it withstand wear and tear.
All versions come with a DAB radio with Bluetooth, USB and aux connectivity; Professional and Asphalt trim add steering wheel-mounted controls, so you can operate the system without having to take your hands off the wheel, and an eight-inch touchscreen offering Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink.
The Partner is generously equipped with safety kit and clever technology carried over from Peugeot's car range. It comes in four trims: S, Grip, Professional and Asphalt, with S trim equipped with a driver's airbag, a 12-volt socket in the cabin, electric front windows, electric mirrors, automatic headlights and power steering. Professional trim adds air conditioning, rear parking sensors, cruise control, an alarm, heated mirrors and an electronic handbrake to make parking easier; there's also a plastic floor covering protecting the load area. Asphalt gets alloy wheels, automatic wipers, a more comfortable driver's seat, extra soundproofing, front parking sensors, and passenger-side and rear parking cameras.
Grip version is designed for use on tough terrain and building sites, and is 3cm higher off the ground, with extra underbody protection, Michelin mud and snow tyres, load bay lights, four extra load-securing rings and a 220-volt socket. It also gets extra safety features: an advanced traction control system, an overload indicator, hill descent control, tyre pressure monitoring and front cornering fog lights, designed to provide better illumination when you're turning.
If you'd like to test drive one of the used Peugeot vansfor sale at Vanwise Group, just give us a call – at our Kent dealership on 01622 233151, or our Essex dealership on 01279 216163. Alongside the Partner, you might want to try out the capacious, great value used Peugeot Boxeror the versatile, capable used Peugeot Expert. Ask about our van contract hire deals and vans on finance too.