If you were heading onto the business battlefield what would you want at your side? A good partner – definitely. An expert of some kind – probably. And, if the going gets really tough, maybe even a boxer.
Well, with Peugeot you can have all three. Peugeot’s range of commercial vehicles is complete, thanks to the introduction of the medium-sized Expert van (a payload of 1 200 kilos and a volume of five cubic metres) in October, which along with the big Boxer and the compact Partner, has Peugeot poised to capitalise on the continued buoyancy in the commercial vehicle sector.
The Partner revealed at Johannesburg International Motor Show is in fact an all-new model, available locally immediately after the show. It will continue where its predecessor left off, namely providing an affordable, secure and practical solution to the mobility needs of business users. Internationally, nearly 1,5-million Partners have been sold since 1996 in a segment which continues to grow.
The Partner is available in Europe in two lengths (built on a common wheelbase), with a load volume of either 3.3 or 3.7 cubic metres. It is the slightly more compact version which is destined for South Africa. This still makes it bigger than the outgoing model, which had a load volume of three cubic metres and a payload of 750 kilograms. The newcomer is rated to carry 850 kilograms.
Significantly, the width between wheelarches is sufficient to accommodate a standard Euro pallet, which measures 1,2 by 0,8 metres.
With a 1.6-litre multivalve, turbocharged HDi engine the new Partner is going to show its rivals a clean pair of heels. This Euro 4-complaint engine makes 66 kW and 215 Nm – a significant hike compared to the 51 kW/125 Nm of the outgoing model. With the Partner’s sleek exterior and a host of features to ensure maximum efficiency, overall consumption of just 5.8 litres per 100 km is possible in mixed driving.
Dual airbags and ABS put it at the cutting edge of safety in the segment. Disc brakes are fitted both front and rear and electronic brake assist ensures maximum stability irrespective of the load or the conditions.
Every aspect of the Partner – from the lashing hooks in the luggage compartment to the finishes of the seat to the plastic bumpers and side protection mouldings – have been designed with rugged, long-term durability in mind, making this vehicle, well, the perfect Partner.
The Expert boasts an interior designed by Pininfirina to minimise driver fatigue, while a wind-cheating profile coupled to an efficient 2,0-litre HDi turbodiesel ensures low fuel consumption and emissions.
Its compact dimensions, high manoeuvrability and the fitment of sliding side doors on both sides makes loading and unloading as easy as possible. A 2,25 metre luggage compartment length, 1,45 metre loading height and 1,6 metre interior width coupled to a low sill height and minimal intrusion of suspension and mechanical components means its interior volume can be put to good use too.
Comfort features include electric front windows, height and reach adjustable steering, and automatic door-locking. A lockable glove box and generous storage compartments in the doors highlight its practical nature. Both crew members face an airbag, and the driver can call on ABS brakes with EBD if necessary.
With six ratios to choose from, keeping the 88 kW/300 Nm powerplant on the boil is no chore. An 80-litre fuel tank capacity and an overall fuel consumption of just 7.2 litres per 100 km in mixed driving, little time is going to be wasted at the pumps.
The Boxer heralded the start of Peugeot’s assault on the local van market, going on sale at the end of 2002. Since then, more than 1 420 units have been sold, changing the face of the market in the process.
The range comprises seven derivatives, with three wheelbase choices, a pair of roof heights for the van models and chassis/cab configurations on the medium (3,2 metre) and long (3,7 metre) wheelbases. Two engine derivatives are available in South Africa – the 2.2 HDi turbodiesel engine which has 88kW, and the 3.0-litre, which has a punchy 115 kW and 400 Nm, is available with the long wheelbase van and long wheelbase chassis/cab.
All Boxers have a height-adjustable steering column and a four-way adjustable driver’s seat. The electronic instrument cluster wouldn’t look out of place in a Peugeot passenger vehicle and the large, clearly-marked gauges have plenty of class. Every aspect of the cabin layout and design was shaped by one consideration: minimising the driver’s load. Therefore convenience features include an A4 storage compartment, ashtray with cigarette lighter, and a 12 Volt power point. There is plenty of additional oddment space in the doors too.
Driver’s airbag with seatbelt pretensioner and a full-house of stopping technology (ABS, EBD and BAS) is standard on all Boxer models.
But loadability is the crux of the matter in this segment, and Boxer vans boast a 1 870 mm wide load area, with a minimum width (between the wheelarches) of 1 422 mm. Double rear doors open to a width of 1 562 mm. The loading sill – both for the sliding door on the left-hand side of the vehicle and the rear doors – is just over half a metre high. Depending on the derivative, up to 15 cubic metres can be carried, with a payload of up to 1 900 kilograms.
And with the availability of chassis/cab versions, business users have the option of fitting a body which suits their specific needs, making this a Boxer which punches above its weight.