Peugeot is breaking fresh ground with the launch of a compact cargo shifter that's set to become a familiar sight on Britain's roads.
Ideal for city centre delivery work, the highly manoeuvrable and easy-to-park Bipper represents an all-new class of light commercial vehicle destined to take the market by storm.
With fuel prices rising every day, customers will be delighted to hear that Peugeot's new baby is available with a frugal 70bhp 1.4-litre HDi diesel engine that can achieve over 62mpg. With only 119g/km of CO2 emissions, the New Bipper is a very environmentally friendly van.
For greater ease of driving in congested urban streets the diesel can optionally be married to a user-friendly 2-tronic automated manual gearbox. A 75bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine is on offer too.
Anybody who needs to shift a bit of weight won't feel short-changed. Bipper can handle loads weighing up to 610kg and it doesn't matter if they happen to be bulky as well as heavy.
Small on the outside but big on the inside, the newcomer boasts a 2.5m3 cargo area. What's more, it can be extended to a roomy 2.8m3 if you specify the optional Multi Flex passenger seat (available in Q4 2008). It folds into the floor, extending maximum load bed length from 1,500mm to an even more generous 2,500mm.
Talking about generosity Peugeot has not stinted on equipment. ABS, a driver's airbag, a radio/CD player, power steering and a load restraint frame behind the driver's seat are all standard.
Opt for the Plus Pack and you get all that along with electric windows, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors and remote central locking with deadlocks.
Customers can pick from a host of handy options. Aside from the Multi Flex passenger seat, the list includes a variety of different bulkheads, sliding side doors for the load area, an alarm, cruise control and air conditioning. That's in addition to Bluetooth connectivity, passenger and side airbags, front fog lights, rear parking sensors, glazed back doors and Electronic Stability Programme.
If you are planning to take your Bipper across rough roads, then order the Tough Pack. It includes raised suspension and a guard beneath the engine to make it less likely that the underside will be damaged by rocks.
Bipper slots neatly between 207 Van and a familiar friend. Traditionalists will be delighted to hear that despite the launch of the exciting New Partner, they will still be able to obtain the previous model. Marketed under the Partner Origin banner, the sturdy workhouse is on offer with a cost-effective 75bhp 1.6-litre HDi diesel engine, and can handle payloads of either 600kg or 800kg depending on which version you select.
With 3.0m3 to play with, the solidly-built and dependable Partner Origin does not lack carrying space. A driver's airbag, a radio CD player, power steering and a load restraint frame mounted behind the driver are all included in the price, while cost options include a sliding nearside load bay door, remote central locking, electric windows, a variety of bulkheads, cruise control, air conditioning and a passenger airbag.
If you need even more load capacity, then the New Partner will be difficult to beat. Unlike Partner Origin, it's being produced in two different lengths.
The more compact of the duo (L1) comes with a 3.3m3 cargo bay — 3.7m3 if you specify the Multi Flex passenger seat (only available on SE models) — and can tackle payloads of either 625kg or a hefty 850kg depending on which version you pick. Using Multi Flex boosts cargo bed length from 1,800mm to a useful 3,000mm.
With a 750kg payload capability, the longer Partner (L2)offers a 3.7m3 cargo box, rising to 4.1m3 if Multi Flex is specified. Load length increases from 2,050mm to 3,250mm.
Load width between the wheelarches is 1,229mm whichever variant you choose making it easy to slide a Euro pallet aboard.
Peugeot has an enviable reputation for the quality of its diesel engines and once again New Partner does not disappoint. It is marketed with a 1.6-litre HDi at either 75bhp or 90bhp; a 16-valve 1.6-litre 90bhp petrol engine is offered as an alternative.
A truly unique feature on a vehicle of this size is the ability to carry two passengers in the cab if you choose the Multi Flex passenger seat. Just what you need if you've got to shuttle a small crew of workers across town.
Entry-level S specification New Partners arrive complete with ABS, electric windows, central locking, a driver's airbag, a radio/CD player, power steering and a restraint frame to protect whoever is at the wheel if the load slides forwards.
Invest in a New Partner SE model and you benefit from the Multi Flex passenger seat, a sliding side door, heated and electrically-adjustable door mirrors and remote central locking. Like Bipper, New Partner is marketed with a comprehensive selection of cost options.
If you need something larger than Bipper, Partner Origin and New Partner, then check out Expert and the even bigger Boxer. There's a light commercial vehicle to suit every need in the most comprehensive and flexible line-up Peugeot has ever had.
*From £23 per week + VAT. Rentals payable monthly. Deposit and final payment also payable. Business users only. Peugeot Contract Hire. For full terms and conditions call PCH Quoteline on 0845 0800 528.