The Partner Tepee is Peugeot’s badge-engineered version of the equally convolutedly sounding Citroën Berlingo Multispace. It might look like a van with windows but the Partner Tepee/Berlingo Multispace has been designed as a passenger car from the outset.
Unsurprisingly, the Peugeot Partner Tepee is almost identical to the Berlingo to drive. And that means good refinement levels, reasonably sophisticated handling and generally a surprisingly car-like driving experience. The Partner also shares its sibling’s dynamic flaws, which means a firm, slightly crashy ride and an awkwardly angled steering wheel (although considering its light commercial underpinnings, that’s easy enough to forgive). Otherwise, the seating position itself feels quite car like.
Three diesel engines and a pair of petrols are offered, all with a capacity of 1.6-litres. The diesels are the most obvious models to choose, and we'd recommend the second of the three outputs. The 92bhp version is offered in three of the four trim levels and is backed up with 169lb ft of torque at 1750rpm. Even so, it takes a leisurely 14.2secs to reach 62mph and almost a second longer if you choose the seven seat option. It can’t deliver the punch of the more powerful 118bhp version, but the performance gap doesn’t feel that great. It’s not going to win any drag races, but it feels quicker than its acceleration benchmark suggests.
Below the mid-spec engine is a 75bhp variant, sporting 136lb ft at 1500rpm and is by far the slowest in the range, taking more than 17secs to reach 62mph from rest. With a full load of passengers and luggage, this engine will quickly find itself out of its depth.
Petrol choices comprise of 98 and 120bhp versions of Peugeot's VTi engine line-up, but with performance no better than the equivalent diesels, there seems few reasons to tick the box for one. They are cheaper to buy, but the diesels are of course the more economical options. Peugeot quotes the same 53.3mpg on the combined cycle and 139g/km of CO2 for all three versions of the 1.6-litre oil burners. The two petrols fare less well, returning 39.8mpg/164g/km and 38.87/169g/km for the 97bhp and 118bhp versions respectively.
Gearboxes are either a five-speed manual, or a five-speed auto available on the 89bhp diesel only.
The Partner Tepee comes in three trim levels; entry-level Urban, midrange S and Family. Standard kit isn’t exactly generous, but Bluetooth comes as standard on all but the Urban model. Based on other MPV criteria, the Peugeot scores as well as the Citroën, offering the same combination of versatile seating and ingenious cubby holes, including a roof-mounted interior stowage compartment and a removable centre console.
An Outdoor model gets six airbags, chunkier styling, raised suspension and an under-body engine guard – but it’s not cheap, and in danger of getting close to ‘real’ MPV prices.
However, making the Partner into the flexible MPV it ought to be requires an expensive trip to the options list, with the overhead storage, removable rear seats and ESP being extra-cost items. Even a moderate options workout is pushing the Partner towards Renault Scenic money.
If you choose your engine and options carefully, then you can come out with a versatile and effective family car and flexible load carrier, but it’s far too easy to get carried away with that options list and price the Partner Tepee out of contention.