I’M in two minds about the Peugeot Partner. Mostly because it comes with an “overload indicator”.
On the one hand, it tells you if you’re about to grind the rear suspension into dust.
Which can only be a good thing. Health and safety, right? On the other hand, I know plenty of lads who’d hate it.
It’s not the first time I’ve seen new car tech that can dob you in. When I drove a Bugatti Chiron you could scroll through the memory to find your top speed: 209mph, in case you were wondering.
What if the rozzers had got hold of that data? Bragging rights could quickly become jail time and playing mummies and daddies with Big Vern. It’s the same with the Partner.
If PC Plod sees you wheelie-ing down the road with enough room to stick a football under the front arches, he’s going to stop you and say, “Let’s have a little look at your overload indicator in the back, mate,” and you are bang to rights.
But fair play to Peugeot. It is only trying to help. You don’t have to have it. And the award-winning Partner has lots of other nifty features to make life easier.
Like a bulkhead hatch to carry long things. Like a roof flap to carry even longer things.
Like a three-pin socket to charge tools. Like a jump seat that folds forward into a desktop. Like Grip Control.
That last one is a clever piece of kit because it saves on the weight of a 4x4 but keeps you moving on snotty surfaces, such as a building site, helped largely by Mud & Snow tyres.
Essentially, it’s an electric traction control system that senses if one of the front tyres is slipping and diverts torque to the other.
Grip Control also comes with feet-off-the-pedals hill descent mode. Smooth, clean and easy to drive.
Now, for those of you who don’t know, the Peugeot Partner is a Citroen Berlingo is a Vauxhall Combo, just with different badges.
Except that it isn’t. The Partner has its own snazzy i-Cockpit (high-up dash, small squared-off steering wheel) taken from Peugeot road cars.
It works nicely in a van because of the elevated driving position — but it spoiled the new 208 for me because I couldn’t see the dials clearly.
Other things to note. Small van but feels big inside. Comfy seats. Lots of driver assistance kit. Lots of handy storage. But rubbish cup holders.
The maximum payload is 983kg. As for engines, I’d point you towards the 100hp 1.5-litre diesel turbo.
That’s smooth and clean and easy to drive and has the best balance between performance and economy.
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That said, long-distance runners will want the 130hp diesel with a six-speed manual or the option of an eight-speed auto. The 100hp is five-speed manual only.