After a three-month stint here at Fleet Van, our long-term Peugeot Partner is now back with its maker, no doubt being enjoyed by some other CV journalist.
‘Vans’ and ‘enjoyment’ are not usually words that go together in one sentence but in the case of the Partner, we really did delight in driving it.
Look at the picture and you’ll see this new contender is much more stylish than the model it replaces (which by the way is still on sale as the Partner Origin).
But there is more to the Partner than style – there is 10% more loadspace in the back (up to 3.3 cubic metres from 3.0 cubic metres), extra payload (up to 850kg from 825kg) and – unique to the sector – there are three seats in the front.
I had initially pooh-poohed that third seat as it appears to have no legroom thanks to the intrusion of the dash-mounted gearstick, but when I finally got round to using it, I found that a second passenger can sit quite comfortably by simply moving the legs slightly to the left.
Mention must also be made of the clever outer passenger seat.
It either folds right flat down into the floor to give a total load length of an amazing three metres or the squab folds upwards to allow for tall loads such as plants to be ferried about.
A great deal of thought has gone into this van.
The seats are much more comfortable and supportive than in the old model too and although this van is heavier than its predecessor, it still managed close on 50mpg throughout our test period.
The engine, by the way (Peugeot’s redoubtable 1.6HDi that you find in all sorts of vans and cars) is carried over from the old Partner.
The only real gripe I could muster is that there isn’t a lot of room for the left foot when it isn’t depressing the clutch pedal.
There is a ‘dead pedal’ on which to place the idle foot but it’s too high for me (I measure 6ft 4in by the way) so I ended up tucking my foot awkwardly under the clutch pedal.
In fairness, however, I suspect that it’s a problem most ‘normal’ sized people wouldn’t experience!