Just occasionally, us journalists get things wrong and when we do, in my experience it’s best to hold your hands up and say sorry.
And that’s exactly what I’m going to do here and now for the way I dismissed as virtually useless the second passenger seat in our long-term test Peugeot Partner without actually having tried it out.
A week or so after that report was published, the mem sahib and number two daughter needed to be transported to London, some 50 miles away, and the only vehicle available was our trusty long-termer.
So we all piled into the Partner and despite the fact that the middle passenger seat appears to have absolutely no legroom thanks to the intrusion of the dash-mounted gearstick, my partner simply swizzled her legs round to the left a bit and everyone was as happy as Larry as we sped off to The Smoke.
Even at the end of the trip both girls commented on how comfortable the trip had been, a far cry from my bleatings about lack of space in the last issue.
Now it must be stated that the two females in question are both willowy blondes and I wouldn’t like to vouch for the comfort of two burly workmen but, suffice to say, this dual passenger seat is not the white elephant I’d assumed it to be.
The Partner is pleasing in a lot more ways than this too.
The old model (still on sale but now called the Partner Origin) which we had before this one was pretty noisy in comparison and the driver’s seat was a bit squishy and uncomfortable on long journeys.
With a chassis based on the 308 people carrier, this new van is something much better. Noise levels in the cab are little different from your average car and the driver’s seat is bang up to scratch with plenty of support all round.
And carrying on with the seat theme, I had my first chance to use the natty folding passenger one the other day when I bought a tall plant at the local garden centre.
The outside seat either folds down into the floor to make extra load length or up to allow for high loads, and that’s exactly what I did – a quick flip of a lever and my plant was safely in place for its journey home (see picture).
We still haven’t managed a pukka fuel economy test on the van yet but first suggestions are that we aren’t quite managing the claimed 48.7 mpg.
Our figure is more in the region of 42mpg, but having said that a lot of our trips so far have been short-haul stuff, so our figure isn’t maybe an entirely fair one.
After all, in the old Partner we managed 50mpg at one stage – and it has the same engine as this model.
We’ve got a few longer trips in the offing with some heavyish loads to bear, so we’ll be giving you an update in the next issue.
But even 42mpg isn’t to be sneezed at for a vehicle of this size, which boasts 10% more loadspace than the old Partner and a very pleasing set of road manners, which make it a delight to drive.
Gross vehicle weight (kg): 1,960
Power (bhp/rpm): 90/4,000
Torque (lb-ft/rpm): 158/1,750
Load volume (cu m): 3.7
Payload (kg): 850
Combined fuel economy (mpg): 48.7
CO2 emissions (g/km): 195
Price (ex-VAT): £11,965