Peugeot Partner Tepee 1.6 HDi 2015 review
The 7-seat Peugeot Partner Tepee could be well worth a look if practicality is the top of your list of priorities
The practical Partner Tepee is a semi-worthy rival to conventional car-based MPVs. While it’s not much fun to drive, the diesel engines are remarkably economical and there’s little this side of the SEAT Alhambra that can offer as much outright space. It can’t compete for interior quality, but standard equipment is fine and list prices low – so if you want maximum practicality for minimum cash, the Partner Tepee is well worth a look.
If you want a seven-seat MPV, sense might tell you to look at cars like the SEAT Alhambra, Ford S-MAX or Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. But if practicality is top of your priority list, Peugeot offers something a little less mainstream and altogether a bit different.
The Partner was first conceived back in the nineties, and has gone on to sell more than two million units worldwide. It’s Peugeot’s best selling commercial vehicle here in the UK, but the latest seven-seat Tepee hasn’t enjoyed quite the same success. Peugeot is hoping a light mid-life facelift will attract new customers and boost sales of the slow-selling MPV.
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Visually its commercial vehicle roots are still recognisable. Despite the addition of bright LED daytime running lights, new bumpers and revised grille, the high roofline, boxy shape and sliding doors fail to hide the fact that this people carrier started life as a van.
On the inside though, that boxy shape translates well, offering bags of interior space and enough headroom for six-foot adults to squeeze in the very back. Legroom isn’t quite as good in the third row, but it more than matches its conventional MPV rivals for outright passenger space.
Each of the five rear seats fold flat, and can even be removed entirely to carry larger loads. It’s a shame the Tepee doesn’t get the standard Partner’s innovative through-loading folding front seats, but it’s unlikely to put many family car buyers off considering the otherwise exceptional practicality boons.
The huge, square hatchback allows even the bulkiest items to slide in with ease – though the split tailgate on the standard Partner would no doubt work better in tight spaces. Outright bootspace with all five seats removed stands at 3,000 litres, or 675 with the middle row in place. You won’t fit much more than a pair of squashy bags behind seats six and seven, but that’s a common trade-off for cars like this. The Citroen Grand C4 Picasso suffers the same fate.
In terms of kit, Peugeot has simplified the range, offering only two trims in Britain: Active and Allure. Entry-level Active get cruise control, LED daytime running lights and air-con, but for around £2,000 you can upgrade to the higher-spec Allure, which comes complete with the seven-inch touchscreen display, climate control and a reversing camera.
Our left-hand drive car was a European top-spec model, so while it offered many of the options featured on top-trim Allure cars, it missed off the 16-inch alloy wheels. UK buyers get these as standard from launch in June.
Opting for the admittedly well-equipped Partner Tepee Allure with this most powerful diesel engine is a dangerous game, though. It pushes the MPV’s list price dangerously close to £20,000, opening it up to much plusher and more car-like rivals – such as PSA’s very own Citroen C4 Picasso. That’s before you’ve added the brilliant £700 Zenith glass roof (only available on Allure cars) – which lights up the cabin and in turn adds 94 litres of extra storage bins aligned above your head and down the centre of the car.
It won’t cost much to run, though. The old diesel engines have been replaced by new BlueHDi units, with the flagship 118bhp returning 64.2mpg and emitting 115g/km for annual road tax of £30. The most economical 98bhp diesel betters this still, posting figures of 109g/km and 68.9mpg. The entry-level car is also available with a 97bhp naturally aspirated petrol and 74bhp diesel – as well as an auto gearbox option for the mid-range 98bhp oil burner.
But what it wins in practicality and running costs, it loses on the road. The Partner Tepee doesn’t feel particularly car-like to drive, with heavy yet lifeless steering, lots of body roll and a vague manual gearbox. It’s not overly slow, but keen drivers will soon tire of the upright driving position and high centre of gravity. Those used to conventional family cars will remain better off with a Ford S-MAX.
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