Renaultsport Clio 197 Cup vs Peugeot Partner Teepee

Stripped-out Renaultsport flier is a top-value hot hatch. Would you let your head choose the Peugeot MPV instead?

Pace or practicality. Once again, that’s the choice we face in our £15,000 category, but the extra money gives a significant step forward on both counts. Fighting for the heart at £14,995 is Renaultsport’s Clio 197 Cup. It’s a supermini – but with its spacious cabin, 197bhp 2.0-litre engine and sparkling dynamics, it competes with hot hatches from the class above.

And for the head? Few cars at any price are more practical than Peugeot’s Partner Teepee. At £14,645, the Outdoor 1.6 HDi 90 provides 49.5mpg potential and acres of space.

Our choices couldn’t look more different. The Renault has flared front wheelarches, black alloys and a diffuser at the back. It’s as racy as the Peugeot is boxy – but the Teepee has the last laugh in terms of versatility. To climb into the back of the Clio you have to squeeze through the front door and behind its sporty bucket seats.

In the Teepee, you simply slide the huge rear doors to expose three individual back seats and a vast cabin. Getting in couldn’t be simpler, and luggage space is impressive, too. With the rear seats in place, there’s a 675-litre boot; tumble them forwards, and this increases to 3,000 litres. In contrast, the Renault provides 288 and 1,028 litres respectively.

The Peugeot also features a raft of cubbies, and if you add the £550 Zenith Roof option, you get four glass panels in the ceiling, plus airliner-inspired storage lockers. Upright seats mean visibility is excellent all-round, and Outdoor trim brings raised suspension with underbody protection, making it ideal for family camping trips.

The lofty ride height does the handling no favours. While body control is decent for such a tall-sided vehicle, the Teepee trails the Renault by a long way through corners. The Clio’s Cup chassis is stiff and offers superb grip, while the excellent steering and slick gearshift are hot hatch hallmarks. Predictably, the ride is firm – and this is where the Teepee comes into its own.

While the Renault is hard and unyielding, the Peugeot glides over bumps and ruts. Only wind noise from around its lorry-sized door mirrors disturbs the peace. Getting up to speed in the Teepee takes time, however. The sprint from 0-62mph is dispatched in 14.3 seconds – more than twice as long as the Clio, which has a six-second time. If you want greater pace from your Peugeot, there’s also a 107bhp version of the 1.6-litre HDi. But it costs an extra £1,000 – blowing our £15,000 budget.

One of these cars provides thrilling dynamics and makes onlookers envious; the other is so practical and competitively priced, you wonder why people bother with traditional family models. So which gets the nod?

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