For the past month or so we’ve been running a Peugeot Partner Origin on our long-term test fleet – that’s the old model that will still continue alongside the new one which went on sale in the UK last month.
But just two weeks ago, we finally got our hands on the brand new Partner, which we’ll be testing for the next four months – and boy what a difference there is between the two.
We’re not talking facelifts here, oh no.
The new Partner is a completely fresh vehicle, based on the Peugeot 308 platform, and has levels of drivability that the older model could never hope to achieve.
But there’s more to the new van than drivability.
It’s bigger, carries heavier loads and is now available in two formats – short and long load lengths (although both have the same wheelbase).
Our test model is the top-of-the-range SE and arrived at Fleet Towers in a smart metallic paint coat.
And before you start scoffing at the expense, (£250 ex-VAT), the experts reckon that at selling time a van with such an extra will be worth around £500 more than one without, so shiny paintwork is actually an investment rather than a cost.
We’ve also got twin side loading doors and the handy passenger seat which folds either upwards to allow tall loads to be carried, or downwards into the floor, extending the load length to an amazing three metres. It’s quite fun driving a brand new model.
It only went on sale in July so there are hardly any other examples on the roads yet.
I’ve had quite a few admiring glances, especially from drivers of the older model.
So how’s life with our new fleet friend? Very comfortable indeed.
I always felt the seats in the old Partner let it down a bit.
They were pretty soft and squishy and didn’t offer any lumbar support.
The ones in the new Partner, however, are right up to scratch, with plenty of support all round.
I suppose that’s one of the benefits of having a van that started off as a car.