TAKE YOUR PARTNER BY THE HAND, Its proabably best of the bunch!
Road test the Peugeot Partner Tepee
IT’S probably not often that an oxyacetylene torch starts a trend, but it was certainly responsible for the rash of small¬van-turned-MPV cars that now sell so well here in Britain Back in the days when the likes of Mini, Austin 6cwt and Morris Minor vans were dirt cheap to buy, canny motorists soon learned to save cash against normal car prices by turning them into family runabouts.
It was an easy and •cheap process – the cutting torch, plus side window glass, seals and a bus seat, all sourced for peanuts from a salvage yard, were the only requirements for a quick conversion job:
Look around today and you’ll see what those early, crude family carry-ails hav~ morphed into – the likes of the Citroen Berlingo, Renault Kangoo and the Peugeot Partner.
A midsummer rerelease of the latter as the Partner Tepee, with its expensive but well-fitted flagshtp Outdoor versions, makes it the best of the bunch.
Peugeot is selling Peugeot Partner Tepees from £11,215 and offering one petrol engine and one diesel unit, both 1.6-litres in size, as the drive choices.
But the petrol has two power output levels, and the oil-burner three, but only the Outdoor model gets the greatest, 107bhp muscle.
This variant’s full title is the Outdoor 1.6 HDi 110, and it costs £15,305. But, with its two sliding rear doors, huge roof-hinged hatch (great for cowering under on our many rainy days), spot-on specification and safety, and whopping 2,800-litre maximum cargo space, it’s worth a punt ahead of any of the trendy, pricey crossovers flooding the UK car scene.
Consider, too, that the HDi 110’s 1560cc diesel unit has a caravan-towing 177lb/ft of torque on tap, yet is able to return 50Ampg from overall use. With the 60-litre/13-gallon tank, that’s a 650-mile run between fill-ups, so there’s tremendous reach to supplement the room.
The engine provides steady¬as-she-goes performance, with a top speed of 106mph and a zero to 62mph time of 14.3 seconds, and there’s no sense of urgency as you work through the five manual gears.
From the Peugeot Partner Tepee’s driving seat, the overall feel is that of sitting in a bus, but the drive is a bit more positive and fluent, and with generous headroom it would be nice to have a little more seat height to improve the view.
The A-pillar and quarterlight gets in the way a little, and the rearward upsweep of the front windows means you can’t comfortably rest the elbows on the open window ledge on warmer days.
But that’s a minor grumble in what feels like a lot of car – remember, it is just 4.38 metres long, but appears to be half as long again.
If the need for load carrying gets more serious than weekend family and leisure pursuits, then the £550 Zenith roof option is worth investing in. It means a bigger sunroof, plus extra interior storage in the ceiling, and, more importantly, a pair of external roof bars. You get a fragrance diffuser thrown in too.
Whatever the need, the restricted rearward view – typical of van-based products – means another £220 outlay on the rear parking sensor option would be money well spent. Also trotted out in the test vehicle was aluminium, or silver if you like, metallic paint at £395, folding wing mirrors at £70, Bluetooth capability at £180 and an alarm, also costing £180.
The standard specification list includes remote locking, one-touch front electric windows, overhead full-width storage shelf, under-seat storage up front, fog lights and powered, heated door mirrors
Peugot Partner Tepee
Outdoor 1.6 HDI
0-62mph: 14.3 secs
Top Speed: 106mph