Peugeot Partner Tepee review
The Peugeot Partner Tepee is a van-based five or seven-seat MPV, offering huge practicality and low running costs
As its name suggests, the Peugeot Partner Tepee is based on the Partner van. But while the standard compact van has enjoyed huge success, this five-or seven-seat Tepee MPV version hasn’t enjoyed quite the same success.
Its van-like looks might not be to everyone’s tastes, but the vast interior and economical diesel engines take some beating. A 2015 refresh added LED daytime running lights, new bumpers and a revised grille, while inside all cars now come with cruise control, air-con and a height-adjustable driver’s seat.
Available in just two trims - Active and Allure - top-spec models get posh-car kit such as 16-inch alloy wheels, DAB radio and a MirrorLink infotainment system. Be careful, though, as speccing one of these with a powerful diesel engine pushes the price up to nearly £20,000.
For that money you could opt for one of the Tepee’s more car-like rivals. If you’ve got this kind of cash, it might be worth looking at a Citroen C4 Picasso, Ford C-MAX or Volkswagen Touran – or better still a larger SEAT Alhambra or Ford S-MAX. There’s no denying the Partner is incredibly flexible – with removable rear seats, but it can’t match its rivals for interior quality or driving experience.
Buyers get a choice of one petrol and three diesel engines, though the entry-level 74bhp petrol is a bit small for a car this big. The powerful but economical BlueHDi diesels are a much better bet – with the most frugal 98bhp version capable of 68.9mpg.
The Peugeot Partner Tepee is based on a commercial vehicle, and shares its platform with the ageing Citroen Berlingo. It’s clear from the boxy shape and chunky bumpers that this car started life as a van, with sliding doors and high roofline. The interior is more attractive, though, with a few attractive touches, like the circular air vents and touchscreen infotainment system on top-spec cars.
That said, the plastics are hard and shiny, and the fit and finish isn't great, either. If you want a functional, easy to use family car then the Tepee isn’t a bad proposition, but if you value a car-like driving position and the odd soft plastic, we’d steer clear.
There are just two trim levels to choose from. The entry-level Active comes sparsely equipped with steel wheels, five seats and a CD player. You’ll have to opt for the top-spec Allure if you want a touchscreen infotainment system, alloy wheels and dual-zone air con. A brilliant Zenith glass roof is available as an option, adding 94 litres of extra storage in the roof lining, too.
What the Partner Tepee gains in practicality, it loses behind the wheel. It feels very van-like to drive, with a raised driving position and a high centre of gravity. The steering is heavy too, with very little feel and plenty of body roll.
The diesel engines are punchy though, with the top-spec BlueHDi 120 taking just 11.4 seconds to hit 62mph. The petrol looks good on paper, but it’ll feel sluggish fully loaded, and the small performance gains are outweighed by the poor fuel economy. If you value driving fun – we’d opt for a Ford Grand C-MAX, which can still seat seven but still put a smile on your face.
The Partner Tepee hasn’t been crash tested by Euro NCAP, but the Citroen Berlingo Multispace on which it's based has a four-star rating. ABS, brake assist and a passenger and driver's airbag are fitted as standard to all versions, while top-of-the-range Allure models also get side and curtain airbags as standard.
Peugeot performed well in the 2015 Driver Power survey – placing 10th out of 32 manufacturers, and has jumped up eighteen places in three years. The Partner didn’t feature specifically, but the engines, gearboxes and electrics are shared with the commercial Partner and Berlingo Multispace – as well as other models in the PSA range, which should help lower the risk of problems.
The Partner Tepee is a fantastic offering if practicality is at the top of your list of priorities. With 675 litres of luggage space with five seats in place, and a massive 3,000 litres with the seats removed, the van-like proportions and styling lend themselves perfectly to a versatile cabin. The rear seats split, fold, recline, tumble and can be removed entirely. Plus, the flat floor and high roof will make loading easy.
There's a seven-seat version, too, which adds two seats in the boot area, but these are only really suitable for children – despite the high roofline. The sliding doors allow easy access, though, and there are plenty of cubbyholes throughout the cabin. All versions come with roof rails as standard, and if you spec the excellent Zenith panoramic glass roof, you get an additional 94-litres of overhead storage.
Despite its bluff and bulky shape, the Partner Tepee is actually remarkably cost-effective to run. The basic petrol engine is the most expensive model to fuel, returning 44.1mpg while emitting 148g/km of CO2.
We’d opt for one of the punchier diesel engines, which although slower on paper, feel faster in the real world thanks to their bigger torque outputs. The entry-level 74bhp BlueHDI gets 64.2mpg and emits 112g/km.
The most economical 98bhp BlueHDI will do 68.9mpg and costs just £20 per year to tax thanks to CO2 emissions of 109g/km, while even the automatic version returns 65.7mpg. Speed freaks should steer clear, but if power is a priority, the top-spec 118bhp diesel will still get 64.2mpg, despite its bigger engine.
Servicing costs should be reasonable, thanks to Peugeot's range of fixed-price offers.