What is it?
This is the Peugeot’s badge-engineered version of the Citroën Berlingo Multispace. This time around, it’s the lower-powered 89bhp 1.6 HDi that we test, since in order to get the 108bhp version that powered the Berlingo we tested, you’ll have to go for the quasi-SUV Outdoor model.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing; the Outdoor model gets six airbags, chunkier styling, raised suspension and an under-body engine guard – but at over £15,000 it’s getting dangerously close to ‘real’ MPV prives.
So while the Peugeot Partner Tepee 1.6 HDi 90 S might have a silly name, it is undoubtedly a more sensible proposition, especially if value for money is a top priority.
What’s it like?
Almost identical to the Berlingo is the short answer. And that means good refinement levels, and a generally very car-like driving experience. The Partner also shares its sibling’s dynamic flaws, which means a firm, slightly crashy ride and an awkwardly angled steering wheel (although considering its light commercial underpinnings, that’s easy enough to forgive).
The 89bhp 1560cc turbodiesel can’t deliver the punch of the more powerful 108bhp version, but the performance gap doesn’t feel that great. It’s not going to win any drag races, but it feels quicker than its 15.9sec 0-62mph time suggests. What disappoints, however, is the HDi 90’s fuel consumption; 49.5mpg on a combined cycle is actually 0.9 mpg shy of the claims made for the more powerful HDI 110.
On other MPV criteria, the Peugeot scores as well as the Citroen, offering the same combination of versatile seating and ingenious cubby holes, including a roof-mounted interior stowage compartment and a removable centre console.
However, making the Partner into the flexible MPV it ought to be requires an expensive trip to the options list, with the overhead storage, removable rear seats and ESP being extra-cost items. Even a moderate options workout is pushing the Partner towards Renault Scenic money.
Should I buy one?
If you choose your engine and options carefully, then you can come out with a versatile and effective family car, but it’s far too easy to get carried away with that options list.