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First drive: Peugeot's two-pronged van attack

Splashdown: Peugeot Partner arrives with a range of 1.6-litre engines.

Peugeot goes commercial with Partner and Expert van ranges

22 Aug 2008

PEUGEOT is tapping into Australia’s booming commercial vehicle market with two vans, the small Partner and the mid-sized Expert.

The French brand has finally decided it can no longer ignore the working class, which now represents 20 per cent of the new vehicle market, joining fellow Europeans Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Fiat, Citroen and Renault in the segment.

The company had examined setting up a separate commercial vehicle sales network, but will instead use those existing Peugeot dealers who want to add vans to their portfolios.

Peugeot expects to sell 200 Partners and 140 Experts before the end of the year, rising to 420 Partners and 300 Experts next year.

The less expensive Partner range starts off at $21,990 for a 1.6-litre petrol-engined model and runs through to the $25,490 for the range-topping diesel.

It is available in two sizes, one that measures 4380mm in length and a 4630mm version that is only available with the diesel engine.

23 center imageThe Partner is all-new and its base will be shared by the next-generation Citroen Berlingo.

It is powered by three 1.6-litres engines, each of which is only available with a five-speed manual gearbox.

The $21,990 entry level model runs a four-cylinder petrol engine that generates 66kW of power and 132Nm of torque. Fuel consumption is 8.2L/100km on the combined cycle.

The next model in the line-up costs $23,990 and uses a 1.6-litre common-rail diesel that generates a modest 55kW and 185Nm of torque. It uses an average of 5.8L/100km.

A more potent 1.6-litre diesel with 66kW/215Nm and the same economy figure is available for the top two models of the range, the regular Partner for $24,490 and the longer version for $1000 more.

Peugeot designed the Partner to carry loads of up to 750kg (or 850kg for the longer model), the interior length is 1800mm (or 2050mm), the loading height is 1250mm, maximum width is 1620mm and the distance between the wheelarches is 1220mm.

The standard Partner can be equipped with an optional left sliding door for $490 or both left and right sliding doors for $950, while the longer model comes with twin sliding doors as standard.

Peugeot has fitted all its Partner vans with ABS brakes, four-wheel discs and a driver’s airbag as standard, but not electronic stability control. A passenger airbag costs an extra $250, while ESC is $450.

Standard equipment includes cruise control, electric windows, rear barn doors that open 180 degrees, power steering, a single CD sound system, keyless entry and a trip computer.

Major options include rear park assist, panelled cabin protection and hands-free phone connectivity while a Multiflex seating system, which adds a third seat in between the driver and passenger, costs an extra $380.

The larger Expert van - which is also produced as the Fiat Scudo and Citroen Dispatch - has been announced as the International Van of the Year 2008 and comes with a large sticker celebrating this feat on one of the rear doors.

There are three different sizes of the Expert van - the L1 (4800mm long and 1900mm tall), the L2 (5140mm and 1940mm) and the L2 FAP Professional (5140mm and 1890mm).

The L1 rides on a 3000mm while the L2 and L2 FAP Professional have a longer wheelbase of 3120mm. All are 2190mm wide.

Pneumatic rear suspension is standard on the FAP Professional, which allows the vehicle’s overall height to be lowered.

The width between the rear wheelarches is 1250mm in order to take a standard 1200mm x 800mm pallet.

It has a payload of 1188kg and the load floor has eight locating rings that can be used to secure loads, while the rear barn doors fold out to 180 degrees and there are sliding doors on both sides of the vehicle.

A steel bulkhead located behind the driver and passenger can be ordered as an option.

All Expert models run 2.0-litre common-rail turbo-diesel engines, but with two different ouputs. The version that powers the L1 and standard L2 model generates 88kW and 300Nm while the L2 FAP Professional gets 100kW and 320Nm.

Both engines are linked to six-speed manuals and there is no automatic option.

The fuel consumption stands at 7.2 litres per 100km for the base diesel and 7.4 litres for the more powerful version.

Standard safety gear includes ABS brakes, four-wheel discs and a driver’s airbag, while ESC is a $340 option and a passenger airbag costs an extra $360.

Standard equipment includes 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, parking sensors, a steel cargo barrier, power steering, a single CD sound system, keyless entry and trip computer.

2008 Partner range pricing:
L1 1.6 16v $21,990
L1 1.6 HDi $23,990
L1 1.6 HDi $24,490
L2 1.6 HDi $25,490
2008 Expert range pricing:
SWB 2.0 HDi $36,990
LWB 2.0 HDi $38,490
Professional LWB 2.0 HDi $41,590

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