Partner Grand Raid
dates : 1st August 2004
5th August 2004
of a European version of Toyota’s Condor and you have got a
pretty good handle on the Peugeot Partner Grand Raid.
Essentially based on a no-frills commercial van, the Partner
is fitted out with accommodation for five adults and various
luxury items to make life on the road that much easier.
And in the case of the Grand Raid version, life off the road
is easier too, or at least just a little off the beaten track.
The Grand Raid version not does pretend to be a 4X4, according
to Peugeot. But it does have some bundu-bashing cred, thanks
to a limited slip differential and ground clearance raised by
some 30 mm, over the standard model.
And a couple of off-road-image items that are also practical,
such as headlight protectors and a reshaped front bumper
designed to minimize snagging on rocks or tree stumps. In
addition, there is a sturdy sump guard fitted beneath the
In a way this type of vehicle makes a lot more sense for
casual dirt riding than the very expensive MPVs known as soft-roaders.
One would feel far better about brushing up against a thorn
tree in the Grand Raid than you would in a BMW X5, or a
Mercedes M-Class with 10 layers of pearlescent paint.
What’s more, there is nothing low-profile about the tyres
fitted to the Partner Grand Raid.
Rather than easily-scuffable alloy rims, the Grand Raid comes
with plain old 15-inch steel wheels behind those rather
convincing alloy-look hubcaps. And the black scratch-resistant
edgings on the front bumper, wheel arches and door scuff
strips will also add to peace of mind when the going gets a
In fact, with a high glass area, plenty of leg and luggage
room, the Partner Grand Raid is perfect for a game-viewing
And the two-litre diesel engine is ideal for long hauls to
holiday destinations. It provides plenty of torque, relaxed
cruising at the speed limit with plenty in reserve and, driven
sensibly, fuel consumption under seven litres/100 km.
Top speed is rated at 160 km/h, and you wouldn’t really want
to travel faster than this, given the hike in ground clearance
to a total of 170 mm.
The engine is rated at 66 kW at 4 000 rpm, quite moderate for
a two-litre diesel these days, but 205 Nm of torque makes
overtaking brisk when the engine is in the powerband
The diesel clatter is there at idle, but presumably, because
Peugeots carry the Lion crest on their bonnets, the Grand Raid
was accepted at face value.
The limited slip action is designed to prevent excessive
wheel-spin on dirt, or when one of the front wheels breaks
traction. This works on fast dirt roads as well as on tracks,
and longer springs give increased travel on difficult dirt
But there is no way that this will compete with a pucker 4X4,
or even a rear-wheel drive 4X2 in serious off-roading. Front
wheel drive is fine for level roads, but on steep inclines,
the weight transfer to the rear, makes this system inferior to
a rear-wheel-drive vehicle.
The interior trim on the Partner is a lot more sophisticated
than your average van décor. The plastic dash trim is
functional and just misses looking cheap. Upholstery is in
sensible cloth and access to the rear is easy via a sliding
door on each side of the vehicle.
With the rear seats upright there is an excellent 624 litres
of luggage space. And this rises to 2 800 litres with the rear
seats folded down.
Numerous storage areas abound in the Partner, and there is a
removable ashtray, three cup holders, and handy stowage in the
Safety is taken care of via two front, multi-stage airbags.
But being a relatively low-cost family vehicle, the rear
passengers have to do without curtain airbags, and no side
airbags are fitted.
However the accent is on fun and comfort is providing by
standard air-conditioning, an audio system with a CD player
and steering wheel-mounted controls and electric windows.
The Toyota Condor is a very successful player in the
low-to-medium priced MPV market and this version of the
Peugeot Partner gives family motorists an interesting
Priced at R184 900, we have to say that if it’s fun and
practicality you are after, rather than image, the Partner
Grand Raid makes lots of sense.
Car Torque is