The new Peugeot Partner is a hugely impressive light van that has raised the bar in its sector for both drivability and practicality, facts that are endorsed by it claiming both the International Van of the Year Award and What Van?’s Light Commercial Vehicle of the Year Award for 2019, alongside its PSA siblings the Citroen Berlingo and Vauxhall Combo.
The Partner is currently available with a pair of diesel engines – a 1.6-litre Euro6.1 with outputs of 75hp and 100hp, which due to emissions regulations will be phased out in September this year – and a smaller-capacity but more powerful 1.5 Blue HDi Euro6.2-compliant unit with a 130hp output, which will take over the lower outputs when the 1.6 engine is withdrawn.
A 1.2-litre Puretech petrol engine with outputs of 110hp and 130hp will also join the line-up this year.
Driven here is the 100hp version of the 1.6 diesel, which although arguably less impressive than the 1.5, is still likely to prove to be a credible option during its limited period of service. The 1.6 gets a five-speed gearbox in manual mode whereas the 1.5 comes with a six-speed ’box.
We found the combination of powertrain and transmission worked smoothly enough, particularly in handling urban situations without fuss, although a sixth cruising gear would always be welcome on long-distance trips.
The short-wheelbase L1 in Professional trim we drove offers a useful payload of just over 1.0t, which is joint class-leading with the Fiat Professional Doblo Cargo, together with a load space of 3.3m3, which extends to 3.7m3 with the Multi-flex modular passenger seat folded down.
This also provides an additional 1,273mm of load length on top of the standard 1,817mm.
Kit levels are generous throughout the Partner range.
The entry-level S trim gets DAB radio and hands-free Bluetooth, for example, but Professional adds aircon, rear-parking sensors, an eight-inch colour touchscreen with MirrorLink smartphone connectivity, six-way adjustable driver’s seat, cruise control with programmable speed-limiter and an automatic electronic parking brake.
The passenger car-derived i-Cockpit cabin is contemporary and stylish with a high-mounted instrument cluster and an eye-catching steering wheel that is flattened top and bottom. Our only gripe is with the centre seat, which allows very little legroom for the passenger.
Peugeot Partner BlueHDi 100 S&S Professional manual
Price (ex VAT) £18,500
Insurance group 34E
Service intervals 12,000mls
Load length 1,817mm
Load width (min/max) 1,229/1,558mm
Load bay height 1,236mm
Gross payload 1,050kg
Load volume 3.3m3
Engine size/power 1,560cc/100hp
Combined fuel economy 67.3mpg
1.6-litre not the range best but still a competent and stylish light van