Supplier Spotlight

Peugeot Bipper Tepee Outdoor

This being Vehicle Dynamics International, it’s impossible to give our impressions of the Peugeot Bipper Tepee without mentioning the ADAC/Which? elk test of the car, the results of which were published just a week after our test car left the office. In short, a non-ESC-equipped version of the Bipper Tepee/Citroën Nemo/Fiat Qubo triplets rolled over, while one with ESC, did not. Take a look at the video via this link.

Our test vehicle was a 70PS, 1.4-liter diesel-powered Bipper Tepee Outdoor, without ESC. In light of the test results, PSA will now fit the Fiat-developed stability control system to its diesel Tepees and Nemos as standard from July 2010. Development of the system for the petrol-powered cars has also begun, with the technology due to hit the market later this year. Note that diesels account for more than 95% of production of these vehicles, which are all made by Fiat in Turkey.

We don't know the full procedures of the ADAC test – one source described it as particularly severe – nor the ins-and-outs of PSA/Fiat’s own dynamics development program for these cars, but it’s still surprising that they got to market in such a state in the post-A-Class era. It should come as a surprise to no-one that a high-sided (1,742mm), short-wheelbase (2,513mm) vehicle like the Nemo/Tepee/Qubo might turn turtle under extreme provocation.

We felt the Bipper Tepee we tested was excellent value for money at £12,195, although one look at the hard plastics in the cabin gave some indication that cost has been driven pretty ruthlessly out of this vehicle. If ESC was deemed non-essential – note that in the UK market, it’s still not quite the norm on smaller cars – then that’s proved a cost-cut too far in this particular case.

Active safety concerns aside, we liked the Bipper Tepee very much. There’s an old-fashioned simplicity to it: spacious, functional transport with no unnecessary frills, in the best French and Italian traditions. It's also pleasant to drive. We didn't feel it rolled excessively for a vehicle of its type, nor did it exhibit dangerous instability in everyday use.

For sure it’s not the most refined or generously equipped performer out there, but it’s definitely a car, not a van with windows. In fact, the Bipper Tepee represents an awful lot of car for the money, and given that the ESC situation is being rectified, we have no hesitation in recommending it.

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