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Peugeot Partner 2021 review: 130 Auto GVM test

The Peugeot Partner is refined and comfortable, even with a load onboard.

Daily driver score

3.8/5

Tradies score

3.8/5

In a van market bustling with multi-skilled variants from plenty of marques, Peugeot more than holds its own.

Sure, the brand is beloved of many Europeans and Pomgolians (those who reside in the UK), but Peugeot sure has its own fan base here in the Antipodes as well.

We tested a Peugeot Partner 130 Standard for seven days to see how it fared as a daily driver and how it managed with a load onboard. Read on.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

A Peugeot Partner 130 Standard, with 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine and eight-speed automatic transmission, has a Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $31,490. It is part of a three-variant Partner line-up that includes a 1.6-litre HDI Long Partner (with five-speed manual gearbox) and a 1.2-litre petrol Standard (with six-speed manual).

Features in the 130 Standard include autonomous emergency braking (AEB), Apple Carplay and Android Auto, front and rear parking sensors, multi-view camera system offering views down the left-hand side of the van, and to the rear while in forward motion), lane departure warning system, cloth seats, glazed bulkhead (with an opening flap (multi-flex) including storage for flap), dual sliding doors and a rear opening door.

The 8.0-inch touchscreen features Apple Carplay and Android Auto. The 8.0-inch touchscreen features Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

The Partner also has an i-COCKPIT interior layout, which encompasses a compact steering wheel (with squared off top and bottom), an 8.0-inch touchscreen and an “ergonomic driving position, unique in this segment” – those are Peugeot’s words, not mine.)

Is there anything interesting about its design?

For a van, the Partner is pretty easy on the eyes. 

It eschews cliched van boxiness for an all-round more appealing look that mixes in some Euro flair with plenty of work-day suitability.

For a van, the Partner is pretty easy on the eyes.  For a van, the Partner is pretty easy on the eyes. 

Hey, Peugeot designers: nice job.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?

The front-wheel-drive Partner Standard auto has a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine, producing 96kW at 5500rpm and 230Nm at 1750rpm. It has an eight-speed automatic transmission, which has a manual-shifting mode (a button with ‘M’ on it, near the auto-shifter dial).

The 1.2-litre turbo four-cylinder makes 96kW/230Nm. The 1.2-litre turbo four-cylinder makes 96kW/230Nm.

This is a zippy van with a nice amount of get-going about it.

How practical is the space inside?

It’s impressive in that Peugeot’s designers have made the interior a roomy and work-friendly space, as well as one that is very functional and comfortable. 

The Partner’s interior is supremely useable in terms of durable surfaces – cloth seats and plenty of tough plastic surfaces – and storage spaces, of which there are plenty.

Rather than a moving work space in which daily debris is left to overflow and mess up the cabin, the Partner’s interior incorporates a deep but narrow (from front to back) glovebox, deep door pockets, two cupholders in the upper dash area, a dash tray behind the touchscreen, and there’s a plethora of nooks and crannies for notepads, iPads, pens and smartphones, including a centre console storage area behind the shifter and a centre console storage below it as well.

The three-seat front bench includes a multi-flex arrangement, in which you lift the outbound passenger seat and the middle seat fold ups making a mobile office work and storage area.

The three-seat is really only big enough for two adults. The three-seat is really only big enough for two adults.

As well as the 8.0-inch touchscreen, which is easy enough to use, there is a USB port and a 12V socket to keep everything charged while you’re on the move all day.

While build quality in the cabin is generally pretty impressive, the plastic section, on which the auto shifter and electric park brake are located, was loose enough that it would lift noticeably every time I engaged the park brake.

There is a sturdy cargo barrier on the bulkhead of the rear cargo area. This load space is accessed via either of the two sliding doors, one on each side of the Partner, or the rear.

This Partner is claimed to have a payload of 1000kg, and the rear cargo area is said to have 3.8 cubic metres of load volume, and be able to cop cargo up to 1817mm long, stretching to 3090mm with the multi-flex flap opened, so you can stick long and narrow loads through the gap.

The rear barn doors open 180 degrees. The rear barn doors open 180 degrees.

The space itself has a maximum load height of 1243mm and a load width of 1229mm between the wheel arches, and 1527mm wide elsewhere. 

There is forklift access through the rear 180-degree-opening barn doors, but with only millimetres to spare either side of the forklift tines. The rear opening doors can cop a maximum cargo width of 1241mm, and a maximum load height of 1137mm. 

The dual sliding side doors each have an opening width of 675mm, so we didn’t try to load through those with a forklift.

The rear cargo area has six tie-down points and a dome light.

The load space is accessed via two sliding side doors. The load space is accessed via two sliding side doors.

What's it like as a daily driver?

Pretty damn good, actually. This is a quiet, comfortable and refined van.

The Partner is 4403mm long (with a 2785mm-long wheelbase), 1880mm high, and 2107mm wide (including mirrors).

Driving position is nice and high – the driver’s seat is height-adjustable – and while the three-seat front is really only big enough for two adults and perhaps a skinny man-child in the middle, it’s still easy to spend time in.

Visibility in all directions is good, especially thanks to the surround-view camera which operates while in forward motion and offers views at the rear and down the left-hand side when required. Bear in mind, that camera view is rendered almost useless at night and in less-than-good weather.

The surround-view camera helps with visibility. The surround-view camera helps with visibility.

The electric power steering is well-weighted and at 1366kg (kerb weight) the Partner feels highly manoeuvrable.

Its turbocharged petrol engine is tractable enough to move the Partner along at a fair clip around city streets and on the highway, without ever being too lively. 

The auto shifter is a dial, with a manual mode button beside it and there are steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters if you get the urge.

Annoying Euro quirk perhaps? The cruise control stalk is tucked away behind the steering wheel, so I could barely see it, let alone use it.

The Partner’s interior is supremely useable in terms of durable surfaces, cloth seats and plenty of tough plastic surfaces. The Partner’s interior is supremely useable in terms of durable surfaces, cloth seats and plenty of tough plastic surfaces.

Unladen ride is mostly sound, and even though some skippy rear-end action creeps in on rougher bitumen, the Partner copes surprisingly well with harsher lumps and bumps, such as speed bumps and potholes.

There are, of course, also front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera with directional guidelines.

The Partner has 16-inch steel wheels on Michelin Energy Saver tyres (205/60 R16), plus a full-size spare under the rear.

The Partner wears 16-inch steel wheels. The Partner wears 16-inch steel wheels.

What’s it like for tradie use?

Pretty damn good.

As well as all of its appealing functionality and numerous, very practical storage options, the Partner copes well with a decent load onboard.

For our load-test we asked the friendly staff at IWP Training – “Illawarra’s Leading (HRW) High Risk Work Training Provider” – to help us out and so they forklifted a 750kg weight into the Partner via the rear doors. 

As mentioned earlier, the rear barn doors open 180 degrees, but there were only millimetres to spare either side of the forklift tines when we loaded in our weighted platform.

The staff at IWP Training  forklifted a 750kg weight into the Partner via the rear doors. The staff at IWP Training  forklifted a 750kg weight into the Partner via the rear doors.

The van has a listed payload of 1000kg, so we were under that figure by about 150kg or so, once the weight of the driver and miscellaneous gear was factored into the equation.

With the load in, positioned about mid-way in the cargo area and secured, the rear leaf springs compressed 65mm; the front suspension compressed 15mm. 

For an extended drive through an industrial estate, then through busy suburban streets and out onto the open road, ride and handling were not affected adversely; in fact, as expected, the Partner displayed even more of a compliant and settled attitude with the burden than it did without. 

Steering stayed consistently light but direct.

With 750kg in the back, we were under 150kg under the Partner's listed payload of 1000kg. With 750kg in the back, we were under 150kg under the Partner's listed payload of 1000kg.

The engine remained spot-on with the load onboard as well, although it needed heavier throttle to get off the mark, of course, but otherwise it was never troubled.

The eight-speed auto was consistently intuitive, never changing harshly up or down, even on some long gradual uphills, but the transmission's manual mode provides a bit more hands-on driving flexibility in terms of dynamic shifts to weave through heavier traffic.  

Maximum towing capacity is 950kg (braked). GVM is listed as 2320kg.

How much fuel does it consume?

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

The Partner has a four-star ANCAP safety rating. It has driver, passenger and front side curtain airbags, as well as AEB, front and rear parking sensors, multi-view camera, lane departure warning system, forward collision warning, and speed recognition and speed warning.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

The Partner is covered by a five-year warranty and service intervals are scheduled for every 15,000km or 12-months. Service costs are $441 (12 months/15,000km), $685 (24 months/30,000km), $517 (36 months/45,000km), $698 (48 months/60,000km), and $454 (at 48 months/60,000km).

Versatility and functionality count for a lot when your van is your office on the move and you spend the lion’s share of every one of your work days in it, driving and loading and unloading. 

Highly refined and functional, this compact van has a stack of standard features, clever storage spaces and driver-assist tech, and more than proves itself very effective as a work van with a decent load onboard.

But none of that useability is worth a pinch of &%#@ if the driver is uncomfortable while steering the van. Lucky for van drivers, the Peugeot Partner is very refined and comfortable and you could do a lot worse than spend your working day in it.

$23,200 - $31,570

Based on third party pricing data

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Daily driver score

3.8/5

Tradies score

3.8/5
Price Guide

$23,200 - $31,570

Based on third party pricing data

Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.