The Peugeot Partner, along with its Citroen Berlingo Van sister model, rules the sales charts for the small van sector. And this latest version uses car-derived tech to take the small van class to another level. Practicality is at its best ever, with payload weights of up to a tonne available, but the real advances come in the cabin, where Peugeot has made the Partner more user-friendly than before.
There's new safety kit, plenty of useful features and the efficient diesels help to keep costs down. Driving comfort is improved, while the broad selection of versions on offer mean there should be a Partner van to suit most small van customer needs.
While the last Peugeot Partner was essentially a re-badge of the Berlingo, it was Peugeot that took the lead when it came to producing this new model. Under the skin, it uses a platform that features a mix of the old Partner's tech with the latest EMP2 components from the Peugeot car range. That means Peugeot has been able to kit the Partner out with a range of cutting-edge tech that hasn't been seen in the small van class before.
As well as sharing its technology with the Citroen Berlingo Van, the Vauxhall Combo is also based on the same tech, while the Peugeot Rifter is the MPV variant, having ditched the Partner name with its introduction earlier in 2018. All these vans are based on a new body that tries to make them look less van-like, although there's no avoiding the boxy proportions needed to create a useable work space in the back.
Like the Citroen and Vauxhall, there are two lengths of Peugeot Partner called Standard and Long, while there's a single roof height offered. Cargo volumes range from 3.3 to 3.8 cubic metres, while payloads range from 667kg to 1,050kg. Later in 2019 a Partner Crew Van will join the line-up, which features the same three-seat rear bench as the Rifter MPV and a mesh bulkhead, a combination that can be folded and moved forward to create more cargo space if it's needed.
There are four trim levels available, the fleet-minded Partner S, the Partner Grip, which is geared towards the construction industry, plus the Professional and Asphalt, which offer car-like levels of kit. While these trim levels have different names to Citroen's, prices and specifications for the Partner are identical to the Berlingo Van across the board.
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That means standard kit is essentially the same, too, with all vans getting offset double rear doors, a full steel bulkhead, a single sliding side door (twin doors on Long vans), a reach and rake adjustable steering wheel, auto lights, six load hooks in the load area and Bluetooth, among others.
The Partner Grip adds Peugeot's Grip Control system, which features switchable traction control for different surfaces, plus a 30mm raised ride height and Mud & Snow tyres for extra traction. Despite this off-road set-up, the Partner is front-wheel drive whichever model you go for, although French conversion company Dangel does offer an official 4x4 kit for the Partner/Rifter range.
Grip, Professional and Asphalt models all get a three-seat cab layout, too. This Multi-Flex folding seat also sees an electric parking brake added - which helps take some strain out of driving - while the seats flip and fold to create more storage. Also included is a through-load facility for the bulkhead that allows longer items to be carried.
Professional vans also get rear parking sensors, cruise control, and a touchscreen DAB radio with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus two USB sockets. On top of this Asphalt vans add body coloured bumpers, alloy wheels, sat-nav and rear and nearside cameras, although all of these extras can be added to lower spec models from the extensive options list.