Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Fire up the... Peugeot Partner
Trips to the tip are the sort of missions where you'd want the generously-named Peugeot Partner Teepee Outdoor HDi 115 on your side; it really is family man motoring on a truly utilitarian level. Keen students of all things automotive will have already deduced it's the familiar Partner van with an additional helping of windows and seats, but if you're prepared to drop any pretensions of being sporty and go along with its load-lugging groove than you've got the perfect, er, partner. If you strip your family car requirements back to hauling five people and as much luggage as possible, then I challenge you to find a motor more geared up to the task then this one.
Stylish it ain't and it's a big thing, but the tradeoff is the simply enormous amount of room you get inside, and when you aren't using the faintly ridiculous amounts of headroom and legroom in the rear the back seats fold away and the Partner turns back into a van, offering you more luggage space than just about any other people mover for the money. True, the 1.6 version I drove will set you back £17,000 but while I don't think that's too unreasonable, there are plenty of other Partners in the range offering you the same amount of space for even less.
But the best thing about the Partner is that despite its van origins it doesn't alienate drivers who like their vehicles smaller and lower (me, basically). No, it's not going to inspire you with its handling in a bleak corner of Britain's countryside but it disguises its considerable bulk with a welcome dose of handling aplomb, and on the motorway it's a comfortable cruiser which isn't left wanting for turbocharged diesel punch. The only thing I'd ask Peugeot to give the Partner for Christmas is a sixth gear, to help improve the already none-too-bad 44mpg I averaged with it.
The Partner isn't a thriller through the corners or a work of art, but it isn't pretending to be. See it for what it is - a tool which dedicates everything at its disposal to moving people and things as efficiently as possible - and it's a belter.