Peugeot’s new Partner Grand Raid will appeal to a family thinking about buying an MPV for increased headroom and a high seating position, but also keen on an SUV with some limited off-road capability, CAR’s correspondent found at the weekend.

Peugeot’s new Partner Grand Raid will appeal to a family thinking about buying an MPV for increased headroom and a high seating position, but also keen on an SUV with some limited off-road capability, CAR’s correspondent found at the weekend.


Soft roaders with only two-wheel drive, such as the Nissan X-Trail, cost in excess of R200 000, so if the Grand Raid (R184 900) can deliver the goods it might do well. We had the chance to drive the Grand Raid over a weekend so can give some feedback on its attributes. While there was no opportunity for going seriously off-road, we can advise that this vehicle has a raised ride height giving a ground clearance of 170 mm.


The underfloor is completely flat with a steel plate protecting the engine/gearbox and another two to protect other equipment. This should make bundu-bashing an easy task. The other handy feature for the loose stuff is a limited slip diff to prevent a spinning wheel from receiving all the torque in vain.


Other than that, the tyres fitted are Continental 4X4 Contact, size 185/65 R15, which should give some added grip. On tarred roads, the noise level was quite acceptable. Judging by the thick carpet covering the load area, a fair deal of attention has been given to the NVH levels.


The engine too, was pretty quiet for a diesel. Looks wise, it is clear that Peugeot wanted to impart a rugged look, with a front end showing a resemblance to a Freelander, large black and body coloured bumpers, and stone guards over both front and rear lights.

Due to the high roof height, as needed in the van version, the windows are huge, ideal for all-round visibility, and also allowing lots of sharp sunshine to enter.


Fortunately, the sun visors are also large. Above the visors is a full-length parcel shelf that is great for storing reading material such as maps and magazines, but also for keeping valuables out of sight. Lots of other storage areas are available, in particular the front door pockets, which are capacious.


The facia is chunky in appearance with the black finish interspersed with Titanium coloured sections. Air vents are circular as in Citroëns and the instrumentation is neat and sporty as found in the 206 range. Rear doors are of the sliding type, allowing easier access in confined spaces, but the B pillars are set well back so space for climbing in and out is bit cramped. Legroom in the rear is very generous.


The rear seats fold and tumble forward after releasing the catch. The three headrests retract and do not have to be removed. This opens up a flat load area able to take most items of luggage or sports equipment such as mountain bikes. These can be stored with wheels still leaving further space above. When the rear parcel shelf is in place with rear seats in place, the high seating position means that the boot space is also large. A net would have helped to prevent luggage from being thrown around.


The two-litre turbocharged diesel engine pulls well from 1 500 r/min with most of the grunt available from just under 2 000 r/min. 66 kW is not a lot but with the conservative approach taken by the PSA group with regard to diesel engines offered in our market, the units should be long lasting and reliable.


Gear shifting was slick and the steering was not-too-light to lose feel. Handling was better than we expected for a top-heavy design and body roll was not a problem. Some feel that the price is too high, but the equipment level, space available, comfort and the overall versatility of vehicle will appeal to those who are ready to trade in their old MPVs or ‘wagons for a modern design.

Original article from Car