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Peugeot Partner Tepee Outdoor 1.6 HDi 115

Click to view picture gallery“The first thing you notice about
s Partner Tepee Outdoor
  is the amount of glass. The second
  is the amount of space enclosed
  by it. Space and versatility: precisely
  what this multipurpose vehicle
  is all about

FOR FAMILIES OR JUST LONE WOLVES with an active outdoors lifestyle, the Tepee Outdoor makes a good and practical partner. So far as family units go, it offers an affordable solution to any number of familial transport needs; and as far as pandering to the needs of a group of lifestyle-oriented adults, it's got it covered whether it's mountain bikes, golf clubs or surfboards.

The latest generation Partner Tepees feature a more rounded look, with defined wheel arches and a distinctive nose treatment that's unmistakably Peugeot. Slightly bigger all round than its predecessor, the stance is wide and, from the front, almost off-roader-like.

Actually, the Outdoor spec models come with raised ground clearance and under-body engine protection — specify the optional All Terrain pack (Grip Control) and you really can go off-track as this electronic limited slip system adapts to mud, sand, and snowy conditions with nothing more strenuous on the driver's part than a turn of the dashboard-mounted selector.

“It’s a smooth and willing
motor, this 115bhp
turbodiesel. And you
don’t need to work it
hard to run with
the pack — just make
good use of the five
gears. Do so
and it flies along.
And it’s quite fun to
Under the bonnet, depending on spec, you can choose petrol or diesel — all 1.6-litre engines. Petrol power comes with either 98 or 120bhp; diesel units start at 75bhp, rising through 92 to 115bhp. The Outdoor model tested here can only be had fitted with the strongest diesel: 115bhp backed-up with 199lb ft of torque on tap at 1,500rpm.

The diesels are the most obvious models to choose whether you're lugging loads or carting bodies around. The punchy 115bhp Outdoor runs to 107mph and despatches the 0-62mph dash in 12.1 seconds.

It's quiet at tickover and it's low-down pull makes it feel quicker than its paper figure. On the move the cabin is relaxing and you barely notice the turbodiesel as it hums along at 2,500rpm at 70mph in top gear on the motorway.

Officially it averages 53.2mpg while emitting 139g/km of CO2. A week mostly spent hauling cargo in and around town resulted in 47.1mpg. Lightly laden, there's no reason not to crack 50mpg, which is good enough for most.

It's a smooth and willing motor, the 115bhp turbodiesel. And you don't need to work it hard to run with the pack — just make good use of the five gears. Do so and it flies along. Actually, it's quite fun to drive thanks to decent grip, game handling and an accurate helm.

Even on twisty back roads it lets you press on if needs must, and although there's a bit of body lean if you push hard (this is, after all, a taller than average vehicle) it's not a problem. Overall the driving experience is far more entertaining than the Tepee's bodyshape would have you believe. The Tepee also comes with good anchors — stopping power is strong and calls for little effort.

More important, given its likely family duties, is the ride. The Outdoor rides well over virtually all surfaces, its suspension doing a good job of keeping most shocks out of the cabin and even speed humps are not to be feared.

Entry and exit to and from the Outdoor's cabin is easy; once there it's a welcoming home-from-home with comfy, well-padded and supportive patterned cloth-upholstered seats made better by wide outer armrests and padded drop-down 'Captain's chair'-style inner armrests — in fact there's almost enough room for a third seat between the front two. Also appreciated by those in front is the generous room in all directions — including enough headroom for an Ilda Di Vico Royal Ascot hat!

“Not only is there ample
room for five grown-ups
but there’s plenty
of storage for your entire
tribe’s combined
Not only is there ample room for five grown-ups but there's plenty of storage for your entire tribe's (sorry, family's) combined bric-a-brac: plenty of fit-for-purpose cubby-holes are spread around the cabin where you'll also find a capacious, full-width, roof-mounted interior stowage compartment above the windscreen, a handy lidded 4-litre driver's glovebox in the upper fascia behind the steering wheel, a storage drawer under the driver's seat and 'secret' underfloor bins in the rear footwells.

The high-set driving position is a boon, and thanks to the deep windows visibility is excellent all round making the Tepee easy to place on the road. The three-spoke steering wheel adjusts for reach and height and combined with lots of seat adjustment ensures the driver is always well settled. The commanding driving position and the very wide and deep rear screen (it extends down below the top of the rear backrests and the three headrests all 'park' low when not being used) together help make light work of parking.

The gearlever, mounted on a buttressed centre stack with two 'pockets' and bag hooks, is comfortably close to the wheel. The change action is fluid and the clutch pedal nicely-weighted, and together they make for hassle-free gearchanges even in ragged stop-start traffic (there's a comfortable left footrest for when you're cruising). The well-sited handbrake is a traditional item with a long arm so it's effortless to apply.

The SatNav, if specified (750 and includes Bluetooth), is perfectly sited, centred high up on the fascia where it's always clearly in the driver's sight-line. The fascia is logically laid-out with foolproof controls and switchgear; and the instruments are easy to read both in the daytime and when orange-lit at night. The driver's computer covers all the important data; range, average mpg, etc. The AirCon is fast to react whether it's hot or cold air you crave, and the four any-which-way vents in the dash ensure it's delivered where it's most needed.

Outdoor standard kit includes AirCon, one-shot front windows, electric heated door mirrors, remote-operated child locks on the sliding doors (very reassuring if you're carrying young children), radio/CD player, drive-away auto central locking, height-adjustable front seatbelts, front, side and curtain airbags, LED daytime running lights, front foglights, raised suspension, body protection, roof bars, and 16-inch alloy wheels.

“Access to the three
separate adult-sized rear
seats couldn
t be easier
thanks to the wide,
sliding side doors —
re light and
effortless to use and
perfect in today
s tight
car parks or when
loading or disembarking
Access to the three separate adult-sized rear seats couldn't be easier thanks to the wide, sliding side doors — they're light and effortless to use and perfect in today's tight car parks or when loading or disembarking children, and provide both extra convenience and safety when parallel parked alongside the pavement.

The three individual rear seats are good to travel in and there are flip up picnic trays with cupholders on both front seatbacks as well as magazine pockets.

Another thoughtful feature: the middle seat's backrest folds down flat to create a temporary table. Those in the back also benefit from reclining backrests and acres of foot room along with A1 views out.

The side-hinged windows provide draught-free ventilation without the buffeting at speed you get with drop-down glass. That noted, and unusually amongst cars, you can drive at speed with the front windows fully open without any turbulence.

The Tepee's rear top-hinged tailgate is massive — so big you can shelter under it in a downpour! Surprisingly, it's also very light to lift. The rear cabin's practicality goes one step beyond most of its rivals because all three rear seats can be completely removed if you need to use the maximum 3,000 litres for carrying cargo.

Even with rear passengers in situ, the boot can swallow 675 litres of luggage, and that's only loaded to below the easily removed and stowable parcel shelf; stack to the roof and this doubles to 1,350 litres. Between them the wide boot opening and low and perfectly flat floor make loading and unloading heavier items a no-sweat operation.

Sure, many family hatchbacks and estates offer practicality but they can't touch the Tardis-like space of Peugeot's Partner Tepee. So, another practical, versatile, easy-to-live with, good-looking multipurpose vehicle from Peugeot; and at a price that will suit the family budget. — MotorBar

Peugeot Partner Tepee Outdoor 1.6 HDi 115 | 16,795
Maximum speed: 107mph | 0-62mph: 12.1 seconds | Overall test MPG: 47.1mpg
Power: 115bhp | Torque: 199lb ft | CO2 139g/km