First Drive: Peugeot Partner ATV

Date: Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Peugeot’s long-serving Partner light van underwent a mild facelift in 2012 and also received a number of efficiency tweaks. Running with the trend for more car-like commercials, the Partner now bears what Peugeot describes as its “marque image” familiar from the brand’s passenger cars.

  That sounds more posh than it is because it simply comprises new lion badges, headlamps and mirrors, while the tail lamps are darker and the interior has a series of minor trim changes.
Of greater note is a series of efficiency measures and its ability to better cope with light off-roading duties. Peugeot now offers a clean e-HDI variant of its 92hp 1.6-litre diesel engine, which emits 129g/km CO2 in manual guise or a range low of 123g/km when it’s coupled to the firm’s EGC automated manual gearbox. That version also returns a class best of 60.1mpg according to the manufacturer.
What Van?’s test model was a standard 92hp 1.6-litre HDI model (a 75hp unit is also available) with a not unacceptable 138g/km CO2 and 53.3mpg. It was, however, fitted with Peugeot’s Grip Control system. This isn’t a fully fledged four-wheel drive system, but an intelligent traction control unit that tailors the van’s settings to the surface (mud, sand, snow and normal – selected via a large dial). It weighs a lot less than two extra driven wheels, so it’s better for efficiency, and has the edge over rival front-wheel drive light vans on slippery surfaces.  Mud and snow tyres, an under- engine protection tray, 10mm higher suspension and a lack of wheel trims complete the ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) model’s additions. While it isn’t likely to bother the most rugged of serious four-wheel drive vans, it’s enough to make life easier for operators who regularly traverse muddy building sites and similar terrain. Drivers are unlikely to notice a marked difference between the old Partner and this new facelifted version, but suffice to say, Peugeot’s familiar tidy ride and relatively responsive handling are standard fare.



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