LIKE its PSA cousin, the Citroen Berlingo, the Peugeot Partner Tepee is a compact MPV derived from a van and, inevitably, it has some of the merits and some of the debits arising from that.
It can't help looking like a van, for a start, despite some interesting design work that includes sculptured windows, and the tall build exposes it not only to some roll but to the effects of side winds.
On the other hand, you gain a wonderful amount of room for people or objects or both and, all in all, the Tepee states a good and appealing case, especially as it is a spacious MPV which starts at under £11,500.
The Outdoor 110PS is top of the shop and, being full of toys, it takes the price up £4,000, which may be less enchanting but which is still a fair deal for what you get.
What may be unexpected is the quality of the ride and handling.
I've driven vans and they can be a bit raw, but the Tepee is both convincing in its grip and stability and surprisingly comforting in the way it smooths out bumps and hollows. The whole package is wrapped up with an electronic stability programme incorporating such items as anti-spin regulation and hill-start assist.
In Outdoor trim, the vehicle gains a raised suspension as well as special tyres and engine and some side protection so that it can handle some mild off-roading, though I wouldn't take on anything more challenging than a dirt track.
But the 110PS engine in this car is certainly determined, achieving 177lb/ft of pull down at 1,750 revs, and it feels a lot more virile than the 14.3 seconds sprint time would suggest.
PSA engines are among the very best diesels and this second-generation common rail unit smooths out very nicely after a burbly start. Economy is fair, although at 42.2mpg I got nowhere near the official average figure, CO2 emissions are satisfactory as well.
Peugeot has done a useful job on engine noise and vibration insulation, too, and what sounds there are permeating the cabin are from the road or wind off the tall build.
There's quite a slick short-action stick for the five-speed manual gearbox and its siting at the base of the centre console means it comes easily to hand, as well as contributing to the open nature of the cabin.
The Tepee Outdoor driver also benefits from reach and height variation of the steering column and seat-height adjustment, and while there is a slightly perched feel about the seat, it does mean there's good visibility; however, the MPV front pillars do provide a little obstruction, despite Peugeot's best efforts. I also have a quibble with the variable electric power steering, too airy at low speeds and short of sensation at higher ones, and pedals offset to the left.
Other areas of special interest to the driver include well-presented info screens and dials (fiddly audio-system buttons mar the controls layout) and the inclusion of a speed limiter as well as cruise control.
As for cabin ambience, the rather angular dash (more space saving) features plastics which are hard-touch but which are quite easy on the eye, and includes its share of the enormous amount of in-car storage space. Elsewhere, you will find stowage areas in the roof, in the floor, under the seats and who knows where else that I never discovered, and if you really need more you can buy in the Zenith roof storage, ventilation and lights console.
This package still allows for glass roof panels which, together with side windows which are generous despite the vehicle's high waist, provide a very light and airy atmosphere.
Down below, the seating has the variation you would want in an MPV, with a second row that, in standard fitting, includes a stadium 2:1-split bench with the seats foldable, stackable or removable - in fact, you can have up to an astounding total of 3,000 litres of luggage space. Individual chairs are an option, which would give still greater flexibility.
Leg, knee and foot room is excellent, head room is in a class of its own and shoulder room is good enough to allow three adults to sit in comfort (the flat floor helps, as do the van-type sliding rear doors, which allow for the easist of entries and exits). All this room and a good boot, too, with a low and protected entrance area.
I've mentioned a few of the Partner Tepee Outdoor's fittings along the way and additional items include climate control, front, side and curtain airbags, one-touch front electric windows, deadlocks, heated door mirrors, roof rails, fog lights, 16in alloys, arm rests at the front and radio/MP3-compatible CD player.
The Partner Tepee does a fine job as a versatile family carrier, technically impressive and with good all-round economics, and if you can live with the slightly oddball looks it may surprise and please you.
Peugeot Partner Tepee Outdoor 1.6 HDi 110 FAP 5dr
Mechanical: 107bhp, 1,560cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 5spd manual gearbox
Max speed: 106mph
0-62mph: 14.3 secs
Combined mpg: 50.4
Insurance group: 4
CO2 emissions: 147g/km
BiK rating: 19%
Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles, 3yrs paint, 12yrs anti-rust