12.5.2009 Peugeot Partner Tepee review
Here’s a thing, the new 4x4 sector is currently dying on its wheels, although car buyers still want spacious cars offering a good view out, factors that Iain Robertson suggests could be combined in just one thoughtful vehicle.
If you had said to me a few years ago that I would recommend a van-based car to somebody, I would have laughed. Yet, I am going to ask you to consider one vehicle that meets many different parameters, while remaining so clean and moderately green, that you will wonder why it never fell within your choice before.
Classified as an MPV, the Peugeot Partner Tepee Outdoor (PPTO) is actually based on a 308 hatchback platform, which is available in various designations, as well as a light commercial vehicle. Having created a van body for it, the removal of metal panels and replacement with glazing is not only quite elementary but eminently logical. However, because the PPTO is based on a hatchback frame, its ride and handling qualities are also biased towards passenger carrying.
Powering the PPTO is a familiar 1.6-litre HDi engine, complete with particulate filter. This is the same unit that powers several Peugeot, Citroen, Mini and even Ford, Mazda and Volvo products. Developing 110bhp, with a slight over-boost facility that is useful for additional overtaking urge, it is a unit that declares a CO2 emissions figure of just 106g/km, which makes its less potent 90bhp alternative look like an enemy of the state at 150g/km (the 1.6-litre 110bhp petrol emits a whopping 195g/km, so it is not even worth consideration). It is also capable of returning an Official Combined fuel economy figure of 50.4mpg, which is enough to make most SUV owners cry into their steering wheels.
As the ‘Outdoor’ model, it comes exceedingly well-equipped, with overhead and below-floor storage within the cabin and glass panels in the roof. It is fitted with a cracking stereo system, air-con, electric front windows and a plethora of airbags, including seat and head/thorax units along the flanks. There are individual seats for five and I am reliably informed that a seven-seat variant is likely to be introduced by the end of 2009. There is certainly more than enough space within the tall, yet wide body and, while the load cube is practical and provides 1,000-litres of space ‘seats-up’, removal of the flip/fold/recline rear seats will treble the load area, which means that the PPTO can double confidently as a ‘load-lugger’.
The ‘Outdoor’ designation also provides the vehicle with an extra 3.5cm of ride height and 17-inch chunky alloy wheels for a more commanding view from the cabin. The side-sliding doors allow remarkably easy access to the back seats that feature their own picnic tables, while the hatchback at the rear opens to reveal the massive load platform, complete with load cover that also provides great outdoor seating, if required.
Driving the PPTO is no less taxing than the regular family car and it handles as crisply as the 308 hatchback, with pleasantly weighted steering and reassuring brakes. The high-mounted gearstick slips quickly through the five forward manual ratios and there are also rear-mounted parking sensors that activate upon selecting reverse gear. If it is raining, the rear wash-wipe operates automatically to clear the view still further. The car is also equipped with auto-on headlamps and rain-sensing wipers, as well as an on-board computer, cruise control and remote stereo operation.
If it all sounds too good to be true, then I feel I would have to agree with you, with the notable exception that it IS true, what’s more, prices start at £11,555, rising to £15,645 for the PPTO. Now, if that does not make the 4x4 look positively sick as a vehicle choice, then I do not know what does. In just one vehicle, in which I am still discovering storage spaces, I can tell you that its equipment level (including a rechargeable/removable flashlight in the boot area) betters most 4x4s and most MPVs, while its overall road-space is minimal and interior space is maximal.
For what it is worth, having used a Peugeot 4007 crossover vehicle for the past year, I am now running the PPTO and feel that I am not losing out in any way. In fact, it is a delightful vehicle to drive and surprises most observers with its moderate zest, excellent refinement and remarkable frugality. As a complete package, I have to say that I do not believe that it gets much better.
Model tested: Peugeot Partner Tepee Outdoor
Body-styles: 5-door hatchback
Engines: 1.6 (P4), 1.6 (TD4)
Trim grades: Urban, S, Zenith, Outdoor
Prices: from £11,555 to £15,645
In the showroom: Now
Review star rating: 5 STARS
Warranty: Three years, 60,000 miles
Website: www. peugeot.co.uk
Iain Robertson © Next Green Car.com 2009
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