Car reviews - Peugeot - Partner - LCV range
Standard ABS brakes, practical load space, strong diesel engines, standard cruise control
Room for improvement
Passenger airbag not standard, lack of refinement of Partner
21 Aug 2008
IT'S not easy to judge a commercial vehicle on a launch. Without the kinds of loads that they are designed to carry, the drive impression is always going to be limited, but you can get a reasonable idea of what they are like.
The first vehicle we tested was an Expert. It is clearly a Peugeot and the quality is not far off a passenger vehicle, although the surfaces feel a bit cheap.
There is a high-mounted gearshift that is easy to use and the clutch is nice and light. As you would expect, the diesel engine has a respectable amount of torque and propelled the van along quite well, although it was empty.
Our test vehicle had an extra centre seat that would be adequate for a very short trip, but is certainly cramped with the passenger’s legroom all but completely filled with the gear lever.
The Expert has storage shelves built into the roof above the driver and passenger which is probably good for maps and magazines and such, but it’s not ideal and you can’t reach all the way in.
There were two cupholders, a CD sound system that is identical to those used in the base models and a central information screen well-located in your line of sight on top of the dashboard.
The Expert is not as quiet as a passenger car, but is impressively refined for a commercial vehicle. It is likely that the optional steel bulkhead plays a key role in limiting road noise into the cabin huge area.
The Partner is a nice little van, is quite nimble and fits in small places.
Like the Expert, the Partner looks very similar to other Peugeot models from inside. The surfaces look a bit cheaper and the cheap centre bin not only looks ordinary but moves around and doesn’t feel like it is secured properly.
The Partner only has one truly useable cupholder because those mounted in the door appear to be too shallow for anything but bottles.
The diesel engine is quite strong at the bottom of the rev range, but the torque band quickly peters out.
The gearbox feels good and the clutch is nice and light, but the gearshift is in a slightly awkward position, a bit too far forward and to the left.
One of the things that stood out on the launch was the overwhelming road noise, especially on coarse-chip roads.
Of course, you don’t expect commercial vans to be too refined and it is likely that most Partners will have at least some cargo in the back, which is likely to dull the noise, but this really is so loud that it would test your patience.
There is a very impressive amount of room in the back.
Standard ABS brakes on both vans is commendable and it is good that electronic stability control is at least an affordable option, but it would be nice if a passenger airbag was also standard.
Another big plus is that cruise control comes on every Peugeot van. For people who spend a lot of their work time driving, this is vital as it not only increases comfort but can also save those demerit points.
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