The Peugeot Partner has been transformed into an MPV and dubbed the Grand Raid. Is it merely a panel van fitted with seats or is there more to the "versatile vehicle (VV)" than meets the eye?

The Peugeot Partner has been transformed into an MPV and dubbed the Grand Raid. Is it merely a panel van fitted with seats or is there more to the "versatile vehicle (VV)" than meets the eye?


Peugeot says the Partner Grand Raid will appeal primarily to mid-range customers, who, when buying a vehicle, "give priority to the ratio of functional benefits versus price" and its strengths are interior space, safety and good drivability (by virtue of its limited slip differential).


Compared to the LCV version of the Partner, the Grand Raid has a new SUV-like front end with a robust bonnet, smooth glass headlamps, and a grille that would not look out of place on a Peugeot passenger car. To give it a more aggressive appearance, the Grand Raid is further equipped with protective steel grilles surrounding the front and rear lights, and fog lights surrounded by aluminium trim in the lower front bumper.


The Grand Raid further has colour-coded elements in the door mirrors and door handles, as well as a modern decal design.


Inside the cabin, the Grand Raid is claimed to comfortably accommodate five adults and luggage, thanks to three rear seats and a highly accessible boot with a capacity of 624 dm³ that can be enlarged to 2 800 dm³ when the rear seats are folded down. Rear passengers can enter and exit by means of sliding doors on both sides of the vehicle.


There are numerous storage areas, three cupholders and a removable ashtray. Standard equipment includes air-conditioning, a radio CD-player (with steering column-mounted controls and a sound level indexed to vehicle speed), power steering, ABS with electronic brake force distribution, electrically-operated rear view mirror on the passenger side, electric windows, central locking, 60/40 rear split seats fitted with head rests.


In terms of safety, the front occupants are protected by safety belts (with pre-tensioners and force limiters) and two adaptive front airbags. The latter can be disconnected to allow for the installation of a child's seat at the front. The three rear passengers have three-point inertia reel safety belts while toddlers can be seated anywhere with the help of Isofix fixtures.


The Grand Raid is powered by a two-litre direct-injection common rail diesel engine that delivers 66kW at 4 000 r/min and 205 N.m at 1 750 r/min. The powerplant, which already does duty in Peugeot's 206 and 307 ranges, is mated with a five-speed manual transmission.


Looks like an SUV, but not quite an off-roader


When CARtoday.com reported on the Rover Streetwise being launched in South Africa in January, a CAR correspondent found that although the vehicle encapsulated the world's obsession with all things SUV, it was just an ageing Rover 25 with cheeky styling bits, a slightly higher ride height and some interior tweaks.


By comparison, the Partner Grand Raid was also styled to appeal to the vibey off-road leisure market, but Peugeot claims its vehicle does allow for more than just dirt road driving because of its limited slip differential. The Grand Raid, which comes standard with 15-inch steel wheels, has a limited slip differential transfers to some torque to the wheel with traction instead of no torque as would be the case with a normal differential.


Furthermore, the Grand Raid's suspension has been raised by 30 mm, resulting in ground clearance of 170 mm. The raised suspension also modifies the approach and departure angles to 28 and 37 degrees respectively. The higher ground clearance was obtained by means of longer springs that make it possible to soften the suspension travel for better grip on uneven terrain, and to cope with the vertical stresses induced by difficult conditions, the front wishbones are strengthened, a Peugeot SA spokesman said.


To protect the engine over uneven terrain, a 3-mm skid plate is fitted, further strengthening the Grand Raid's promise of a modest level of off-road capability.


The Partner Grand Raid costs R184 900 and includes a three-year/100 000km warranty and emergency and roadside assistance. Service intervals are set at 20 000km and Peugeot also offer a five-year/60 000km maintenance plan as an option.

Original article from Car