Good load-carrying ability in compact package
SMALL VANS THAT DRIVE LIKE CARS ARE POPULAR IN EUROPE, but though such vehicles used to sell well here, over the past couple of decades New Zealand buyers have opted for larger vans, regardless of the amount of space they actually need.
Small car-based vans make good sense. They’re easier to manoeuvre in traffic, easier to park, easier on fuel and the environment, and generally speaking, unless a copious amount of cargo space is called for, are easier to live with all-round.
So why have Kiwis developed a love affair with large vans when often, a small one will do?
It seems to have happened progressively, without anyone paying too much attention to the whys or wherefores.
But the main reason seems to be that we’ve transitioned steadily from European- or British-sourced vehicles, to models that come from Japan.
Ford Escorts, Morris Minors, Minis, Marinas and other car-based vans graced our roads in big numbers in days gone by.
But the Corollas, Mazda 3s, Civics and other small Japanese passenger cars that are so popular now, aren’t offered in van form.
European manufacturers have continued making little car-like vans, and they’re enormously popular throughout Europe.
With businesses starting to focus more on leaner operation and lower environmental impact, they’re starting to make something of a comeback locally.
Peugeot’s Partner is a great success in Europe, and is available in New Zealand with a 1.6-litre HDI common-rail turbodiesel engine, producing 66kw of maximum power and 215Nm of peak torque, It drives the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox.
Only one model is available here, the long wheelbase (LWB) variant with sliding doors on both sides and asymmetric hinged rear doors.
The side door openings are 640mm wide by 1100mm high and the rear doors open to 180 degrees for good loading access, even with a forklift.
The cargo area is quite cavernous for such a small vehicle, with a clever passenger seat arrangement that Peugeot calls a Multi-flex bench seat.
It can fold away to free up additional floor space and extend the loading area to accommodate long items like ladders, lengths of timber or anything up to 3.25 metres.
Maximum payload is 750kg, there are six tie-down hooks in the cargo area, and an overhead storage compartment above the driver and passenger.
Creature comforts include a height- and reach-adjustable steering column, Peugeot Connect Cd/audio system with USB and Bluetooth, and cruise-control with speed-limiter.
Other features included in the standard package are central doorlocking with deadlocks controlled by a remote that offers separate locking for the cab and cargo areas.
There are also front and rear foglights, courtesy lights in the passenger and cargo areas and electrically-operated windows with a one-touch function.
The Peugeot Partner is a neat little package, and like others in this sector, is a logical choice for many business applications.
And with a retail price of $31,990 and offering frugal fuel economy, a decent amount of kit and a car-like driving experience, it’s a practical city delivery van that offers cost-effective running.