Bipper Tepee Style 1.3 HDi Stop/Start
you ever wondered just how
all those amazing millinery master-
pieces make it intact to Royal Ascot
on Ladies Day? Actually its
a very closely guarded secret
PRESTIGE CAR-MAKERS such as Maserati and Audi have long supported major red
carpet events such as the Academy Awards, the Baftas, etc, providing their range-topping
'halo' models for the VIPs and A-list celebrities. In return they're guaranteed
plenty of coverage in the international media. But there are others who prefer
to operate in the shadows.
In fact, at this very moment, there's a startling rumour going around that every
June a secret fleet of Peugeot Bipper Tepee Style models are called up to ferry
the amazing hats (with their wearers attached) to Royal Ascot. Officially, all
enquiries about this are met with a curt 'no comment'. But there is a smoking
the Bipper Tepee Style itself.
This cheeky-looking compact people carrier is pre-eminently qualified for the
job, courtesy of its extremely generous headroom (could this explain the 'Tepee'
part of its name?) and a pair of sliding rear side doors that make entry and
exit an elegant affair whatever it is that you have perched on your head.
it doesn't, obviously, have the visual 'wow' of a Maserati, the Bipper's not
unattractive; more a cheeky-cum-quirky little number. Our test model, resplendent
in stand-out metallic light blue livery, looked pretty smart for what some people
would delight in pointing out is a van-based MPV. Nothing wrong with that
some of the very best and most luxurious MPVs have family roots buried in 'trade'.
Shorter than some
superminis at just under
four metres from bow
to stern, the Bipper
is compact enough to
physically fit in just
in fact, thanks to good
boxy corners and
light steering, it can be
slotted into most gaps
profile the Bipper Tepee's jutting jaw is what you notice first
you're hardly aware of it on Bippers painted black, but on our light coloured
Bipper the black front grille section really stands out. Offsetting it though
is the rising, almost triangular rear door and third side window styling that
gives the Bipper a very distinctive air and banishes any thoughts of 'a van
The windows in the sliding doors are side-hinged at the front. Actually not
a problem as the ample amount of air that enters when they're open isn't accompanied
by any turbulence, so rear passengers can arrive at their destination with every
neatly in place.
Shorter than some superminis at just under four metres from bow to stern, the
Bipper is compact enough to physically fit in just about anywhere
in fact, thanks to good visibility, easily-judged boxy 'corners' and light steering,
it can be slotted into most gaps without effort.
Inside, however, the Bipper is without doubt a car and not a van. The dash is
tidily laid out with all the important stuff
AirCon and audio
high up and easy to operate on the move with minimal distraction. Dials are
clear, as too is the driver's information display between them (good to see
that range-to-empty, average mpg and the external temperature are all included
on the menu).
Also set conveniently high is the standard five-speed manual gearbox's 'stick'.
also find plenty of in-cabin cubbies including a handy open bin in the fascia
top, a large and deep lockable glovebox, long door pockets with can/bottle holders,
and a glasses case above the driver's door. Fit and finish is fine, and the
trim materials look tough enough to survive growing children. Adding a sparkle
to the cabin are the painted (in matching body colour) door cappings.
The front seats are well-padded and comfortable. Outer armrests are on the doors,
and the driver gets a drop-down armrest for his, or her, gearchanging arm along
with adjustable lumbar support. The driving position is commanding, with uninterrupted
views through the big screen and to the sides, and even to the rear, making
placing and driving the Bipper in traffic a relaxing business. The power steering
also takes the strain of city driving and ensures parking manoeuvres are light.
of a different kind fills the cabin; front and back alike. The sliding rear
doors provide superb access to the rear seats, which are split 2/3:1/3. A major
advantage of them over traditional car doors is their undisputed benefit in
tight parking spaces.
For the record,
a full-size spare wheel
lives under the
boot floor (externally)
and can be removed even
with the boot full.
Another thoughtful touch
is the portable
rechargeable torch thats
part of the boot light.
Plus you won't have to worry about younger members of your tribe banging other
people's car doors when you're parked up. Good, too, is that they're light enough
for children to use without help; and they stay open until they're pulled shut.
Sit in the back seats and you are higher (but still with plenty of headroom)
than those in front, and can enjoy clear views out. More good news is that there's
room to spare for two real-world adults in the back, and those in front don't
have to give up any of their legroom to accommodate them.
A third adult can be fitted in on the middle seat and there's good foot room
for them too. The centre rear belt is integrated into the seat so no dangly
bits to watch out for; the two outer belts are well sited and stay out of the
way when folding or returning the rear seats. Whatever the 'cargo' of the day
bodies, bags or building blocks
the sliding side doors help make light work of loading and unloading.
Kit is fit for purpose: AirCon with a pollen filter, radio/CD, one-touch front
electric windows (the rear windows open an inch or so outward at the trailing
edge), electric heated door mirrors that fold in tight to the bodywork for 'no
worries' on-road parking, power steering, remote central locking, ESP stability
control, driver, passenger and side airbags, roof bars, and front fog lights.
Plus there are fitted mats covering the easily-washable floor.
The Bipper's boot and loadbay are strong on both practicality and versatility:
the basic boot is pretty accommodating, swallowing 356 litres; fold the split
rear seatbacks and this rises to 737 litres. But there's still two more stages
to go: first, tumbling the folded rear seats frees up even more room
for a new total of 884 litres.
if you remove both rear seats you'll have 2.5 cubic metres of space
in litres that's a whopping 2,500. For the record, a full-size spare wheel lives
under the boot floor (externally) and can be removed even with the boot full.
Another thoughtful touch is the portable rechargeable torch that's part of the
boot light. Neat.
top-hinged tailgate is large enough to provide good shelter in downpours; and
despite its size, it lifts up and opens with minimal effort. The full glass
area of the rear screen is heated, and there's an effective wash/wipe.
in the totally flat loadbay floor, high roof, and low loading sill that together
make transporting large items totally doable, and who needs a van. Families,
dog owners, DIYers, even disabled drivers who need a wheelchair
all their needs can easily be catered for. If you need to transport more, the
Bipper can tow a braked trailer of up to 1,000kg (or 400kg unbraked).
During our 500-mile test
we drove both fully laden
and solo, in rush-hour
town traffic, along
winding B-roads and
Wed expect most Bipper
drivers to at least
The four-cylinder turbodiesel comes mated to a five-speed manual gearbox
or, for an extra £900, you can have a two-pedal transmission with Stop/Start
that knocks the emissions from the manual's 119g/km down to 107g/km while at
the same time boosting fuel economy from the manual's combined cycle 62.8mpg
During our 500-mile test we drove, at various times, fully laden and solo, in
rush-hour town traffic, along winding B-roads and arrow-straight motorways
and averaged 55.5mpg. We'd expect most Bipper drivers to at least match that.
Worth noting too, the manual 'box version is road tax exempt for the first year;
after that you'll have to find £30 annually. So, running costs will be low.
The big surprise for many will be how driveable the Bipper is. Accepting that
it's no hot hatch, it's game
the steering is accurate; it hangs on when you chuck it about and you can have
fun bombing around. Sure you need to make full use of the revs and the gears
(it's an easy changer), but it will more than hold its own in traffic. Cruising
along motorways it quietens down and covers distances in a relaxing manner.
It also proved to be reassuringly stable when fully laden at speed.
The ride is generally composed and we heard no complaints from those travelling
in the back
it's usually them who feel the worst of a car's suspension. All-in-all, a likeable
multi-purpose machine that's easy to live with on a daily basis.
So should you chance to see a Bipper with blacked-out back windows and a guy
with a peaked cap at the wheel towards the end of June driving towards Ascot,
then look away. Quickly. We all know what happens to whistleblowers in this
country. Of course, on the basis of what's good for the goose is also good for
the gander, you could pop along to your local Peugeot dealer and try one on
for size. Wear your biggest hat!
Bipper Tepee Style 1.3 HDi Stop/Start | £13,345
Top speed: 96mph | 0-62mph: 16.8 seconds | Average Test MPG: 55.5mpg
Power: 75bhp | Torque: 140lb ft | CO2 119g/km