The Partner is Peugeot UK’s best-selling light commercial vehicle. Launched in 2009, a total of 125,199 Partners have been sold.
Surprisingly, given the current van is on run-out, 2015 has been a record year for the Partner. Sales are up 23% and that is before the new generation enters the fray this month.
Already one of the best compact vans on the market, the Partner faces tough competition from rivals including the Ford Transit Connect and, of course, from within the PSA group in the guise of the Citroën Berlingo.
Richard Meyer, commercial vehicle range manager, said the styling, engines and equipment of the new Partner would “reinforce its appeal”.
Styling and technology tweaks are the pivotal changes on the new Partner. The grille is the most striking change as it aligns itself with the rest of the family. It has been redesigned to give the Partner more road presence.
The front end receives a new bumper and it has been designed to be easily replaceable in the event of a scrape or minor impact. It also houses the front fog lamps and the LED daytime running lamps which make up the face of the Partner van.
All trims of the new Partner benefit from the option of a dual exterior personalisation bundle offered through the Look Pack and the full Look Pack.
New technology on the van includes a telematic system with a seven-inch colour touchscreen. This comes as standard on trim level 3 and can be ordered as an option on trim level 2. This kit includes Bluetooth connectivity, USB port, aux socket, voice recognition and MirrorScreen function which is compatible with smartphones.
Safety conscious fleets will be pleased to know that Peugeot is offering ABS, ESP with traction control, hill start assist and a tyre pressure sensor fitted to every wheel as standard. Peugeot’s new Active City Brake is available as an option. It works in urban conditions at less than 20mph to help avoid an accident or reduce the impact of a potential crash. This system should help keep insurance costs down.
Other kit available as an optional extra includes cruise control with speed limiter, rear parking sensors, front parking sensors and a reversing camera. These gadgets are all aimed at bringing wholelife running costs down so they are certainly worth considering.
The best news is that six engines will be offered from launch, all now Euro 6 compliant – meaning that they are even more frugal (15%) than before and offer lower CO2 emissions.
The line-up includes the five-speed 98bhp 1.6-litre VTi petrol, 1.6-litre BlueHDi 75bhp, 1.6-litre BlueHDi 100bhp, 1.6-litre BlueHDi S&S 100hp and a six-speed, 1.6-litre BlueHDi 120bhp S&S. A semi-automatic 1.6-litre BlueHDi 100bhp S&S ETG6 is also available.
We drove the 1.6-litre Blue HDi 100bhp mated to a five-speed gearbox or available with the six-speed ETG6 ‘box. The 1.6-litre Blue HDi 100bhp S&S has the lowest CO2 emissions (106g/km) in the segment according to the French maker. The current engine line-up of 1.6-litre HDi 75 and 1.6-litre HDi 90 (Euro 5) will be available until June 2016.
The little Partner is good to drive, maybe not as good as a Transit Connect but it is not far behind.
The cabin is driver-focused with all the switchgear within easy reach.
Whether you are using the Partner in city centres or further afield, it has more than enough oomph. It feels agile and sure-footed, while the gearbox is a smooth shifting unit.
Up-front, there is a three-seater bench, and storage space of around 60 litres for drivers to keep notepads and nik-naks in.
Practicality is further enhanced as you can fold the outer passenger seat to allow for more stowage – which is a boon if you need to carry items that are awkward in length.
Load space in the Partner van is good and it can accommodate two Euro pallets in the L1 version. It comes in two sizes including L1, which offers a load length of 3.7m3 and L2, with a load space of 4.1m3.
The Transit Connect may be a better looker, but the Peugeot is now a brilliant all-round package and is certainly aiming at the top step of the podium in the Compact segment.
The Peugeot Partner may not have the cute and rounded look of the Ford Transit Connect.
However, this Partner is a much more complete package. It offers competitive running costs making it a must on your choice list regardless of your fleet size.
This third generation Partner has definitely come of age.