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Peugeot Tepee

Lion’s MPV is a fine sub-£15,000 option

As a budget MPV, the Partner Tepee is a compelling choice – but that hasn’t stopped Peugeot from improving it. And the addition of a third row of seats makes it even more versatile.

No external changes are needed in the transformation to a seven-seater, so our Outdoor model has the familiar look of five-seat versions. Its raised suspension, roof bars and alloy wheels provide a tougher appearance – plus the Partner’s rounder body is more attractive than the boxy Doblo.

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The seven-seat option pack can only be specified on S and flagship Outdoor variants, and adds £800 or £570 to their respective prices. So, if you want a Tepee that can carry seven within our £15,000 price bracket, you’ll need to specify the S – the 90bhp 1.6 HDi model costs £13,845.

The third row comprises two individual seats, which can be folded and removed independently. They’re easy enough to access, but after pulling a lever to fold the backrest of the seat in front, you then have to pull a strap to unlock the seat base before tumbling it forward. So, the Doblo’s clever second-row seats are easier to use if you need to get to the third row.

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The rearmost seats are more cramped than in the Fiat, with limited footspace, but children won’t complain about the room on offer. Plus, unlike the budget-priced Doblo, you get a decent boot even with the rear seats in place. This 100-litre load area expands to 470 litres when you fold the rearmost chairs; take them out altogether, and it frees up a 650-litre capacity.

Up front, the Peugeot is full of neat stowage solutions, from cubbyholes and door trays to the removable storage bin between the front seats. What’s more, our Outdoor was also well equipped, with cruise control, curtain airbags and air-con as standard. Choose the cheaper S variant, and you miss out on all of these features, as well as alloy wheels and the useful centre storage cubby.

On the test track, the 110bhp 1.6-litre HDi diesel engine was easily upto the job of hauling our Tepee. It covered 0-60mph in 12.3 seconds; the same sprint took only 1.9 seconds more with a full load of passengers on board.

Equally impressive was its braking performance. With every seat occupied, the Tepee stopped from 70mph in 53.9 metres – that’s 3.5 metres sooner than the Fiat managed with only two people inside.

The seven-seat option includes uprated suspension to cope with the extra load, and it does an excellent job. The ride is superb, especially as the Outdoor stands higher to the ground. Cruising progress is serene.

Body control is better than in the Doblo, although you still get plenty of lean around bends, and the gearshift has the slack feel for which we’ve criticised other Peugeot models. The extra seats clearly haven’t compromised the Tepee’s dynamics, and add a welcome extra dose of practicality.

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WHY: French car is now available with a seven-seat option for the first time and prices start under £15,000.

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