Peugeot Rifter Review
When is a van not a van? When it’s a Rifter. Yes, Peugeot carries on its product offensive with the ushering in of its new multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) – the sibling to Citroen’s Berlingo. But is the model more than just a box on wheels? We were invited to
- Loads of space
- Efficient diesel engines
- Comfortable on the move
- Interior plastics
- Fixed rear seats
- Body roll
It doesn’t take a petrolhead to tell you that the Peugeot Rifter MPV is based on a van. At a glance, you can see the vehicle is anything but car-like. But that doesn't make it a bad set of wheels. Indeed, this replacement for Peugeot's Tepee could well be the practical family transport solution you've been looking for but never realised. So, let's dig deeper and take a closer look at this oddly named MPV.
On the Road
The Rifter has a bunch of engines on offer – the powerplants are shared with Vauxhall’s Combo Life and Citroën’s Berlingo and begin with a 110PS 1.2-litre Puretech petrol unit. There is also a trio of 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesels with 75PS, 100PS and 130PS. All Rifters come with a six-speed manual transmission, but the top diesel, that we tried, also comes with a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox. Despite its far from athletic looks, this variant has some decent shove, getting from 0-62mph in 10.8 seconds. Top speed is 114mph.
The Rifter’s ride is surprisingly good and is far better behaved than the outgoing Partner Tepee. Yes, it’s firmly sprung, but it copes with ruts and bumps well. And considering its functional focus, the Rifter steers with astonishing dexterity. The fact that the MPV houses the shirt-button sized i-Cockpit steering wheel, as seen in other Peugeots, helps with responsiveness.
When it comes to corners, the relatively tall Rifter soon lets you know you’re going beyond its limits because body roll kicks in profusely. Traction runs out rapidly if you tackle bends hard, too. But not many people who buy or lease this Peugeot are going to want to push it to its limits, as we did, along snaking coastal routes.
More usefully, the MPV’s turning circle is tight, meaning it could be the ideal vehicle for you if you do a lot of manoeuvring in car parks and busy urban areas.
The Rifter is far more refined than you’d ever guess at first glance. It is hushed on the road, even at motorway speeds. We thought it might sound boomy, considering the roomy and high-ceilinged cabin, but it was only the wind roar from the Rifter’s door mirrors that intruded on our drive from Monaco to Nice and back. The MPV comes in three levels of trim: Active, Allure and the top of the range GT Line that we were handed the keys to. You get a touchscreen and air-con in all but the entry-level model, but there are no fancy materials; instead, there are slabs of plastic everywhere. This isn’t a deal-breaker, though, because there is the odd sprinkling of colour and, more importantly, the seats are comfy and supportive.
In the car
You get a magnificent view when you're sat behind the wheel of the all-new Rifter. The elevated driving position makes you feel king of the road and, when you slow down to park, things are just as good. The MPV comes with reversing sensors that help hugely when you need to squeeze into tight spaces, often under pressure, in busy areas. Automatic emergency brakes also come factory-fitted. And, we’d highly recommend the optional eight-speed automatic ‘box. It takes the stress out of driving, leaving you feeling less fatigued, particularly when you're in stop-start traffic.
Space and practicality are the reasons the Rifter exists. You get 180 litres of cubbyhole storage, and this encompasses a substantial top-loading box set into the dashboard. There's also a compartment that folds down from the ceiling directly above the boot. The door bins are massive, too, swallowing three bottles of drink. Then there's a centre console between the front seats.
There's loads of shoulder, leg and headroom, with three seats in the back and sliding rear doors. These doors make getting in and out of the MPV a cinch. It also means you can open them in tight spaces. The rear seats aren’t adjustable, though, because they’re fixed.
The boot is, unsurprisingly, van-like. It’s accessible via a tailgate that, when raised, exposes a low loading lip. You can even open the rear windscreen, rather than lifting the tailgate.
The front passenger seat folds flat, and the rear seats fold almost flush. Doing this expands loading room to 3500-litres. Boot capacity with all seats in place is 775-litres.
For now, we’re reviewing the five-seater Rifter, but seven-seater and long-wheelbase models will be hot on its heels. These will be even more like van-like with up to 4000-litres of room available.
The Peugeot Partner Tepee was in insurance groups 10-18, so the Rifter should follow suit. The MPV is also useful when it comes to fuel efficiency. Peugeot claims the 1.5 BlueHDi 130 GT Line will do up to 65.7mpg. In the real world, we achieved late 50s mpg. This is still impressive, mind. CO2 emissions for this model are 114g/km. If you want an even thriftier model, then the 1.5 BlueHDi 75 has a claimed average fuel consumption of 68.9mpg, while emitting 109g/km of CO2.
The all-new Peugeot Rifter is solidly built, and the cabin looks like it will cope with years of use from families. It’s also likely that this spacious MPV will be used on the UK’s popular Motability scheme, so it is bound to stand the test of time. What’s more, Peugeot has a decent name for producing reliable cars, and it uses diesel engines that are based on reputable technology. This means this fresh MPV should prove dependable.
Peugeot’s Partner Tepee and Citroen’s Berlingo weren’t overly safe, achieving only three out of five Euro NCAP stars. Happily, the French motor-maker has kitted out the new Rifter with a range of up-to-the-minute safety aids, encompassing adaptive cruise control, a traction control system and automatic emergency braking. It is also fitted with blind spot monitoring, a tyre pressure monitor and an active lane departure warning system. Additionally, the MPV uses the same platform design as the DS 7 Crossback. This model was awarded a full five-star rating, so things look promising for the Rifter.