Peugeot Rifter (2018-present)

Can a van-like MPV really be bold, dynamic and easy on the eye? Peugeot thinks it can

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

As handsome as a van-like MPVs gets
It can haul a lot of people and kit
i-Cockpit works well

Weaknesses 

Not a dynamic driving experience
Lower powered engines lack punch
There is cheaper family transport available

Now is not the best time to be a traditional MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle). Where the Renault Scenic, Ford Galaxy and Seat Alhambra once appealed to larger families, customers are now increasingly turning towards larger, seven-seat Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs).

One of the main reasons for this is exterior styling and the added cache that comes with owning a large, on-trend SUV, like a Volvo XC90, Mitsubishi Shogun Sport, Land Rover Discovery Sport or Kia Sorento.

In short many view arriving at the school gates in a people carrier about as cool as wearing grey socks with open-toed sandals.

However, practical, often van-like people movers remain popular in Europe and further afield, where customers continue to be impressed by their ability to haul up to seven people with enough kit for a week-long tour of central France's famous vineyards. And at a reasonable price, too.

Peugeot is acutely aware of all of the above factors, so has decided to replace its popular but distinctly unhip Partner Tepee with the Rifter, which more closely resembles the rugged exterior styling of a modern SUV. The Rifter is priced from £19,650, undercutting SUV rivals like the Land Rover Discovery Sport by more than £10,000.

It retains both van and people carrier mainstays, such as sliding side doors, a large loading capacity and a bamboozling amount of on-board stowage compartments, but introduces a modern front grille and more aggressive exterior styling.

One of the key design features is the incredibly short front and rear overhangs, which allow all four wheels to be pushed deeper into the corners of the floorplan to create a squat, almost Tonka Toy-esque appearance. In doing so, it removes the typically pinched, flat nose that's found on many small vans and generally affords the Rifter a more appealing silhouette.

Take a poke inside and some of the French marque's technological advances are also apparent, including the excellent i-Cockpit system that consists of an eight-inch touchscreen display and a mini LCD screen that sits between the instrument binnacles and offers a variety of driver information.

Customers will also find Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, as well as the company’s own 3D navigation system that has been created in conjunction with TomTom for real-time traffic updates, local weather and fuel station search functionality.

Available in both five and seven-seat variants, the Rifter offers an excellent package for those with plenty of equipment to transport too, as its rear can swallow up to 4,000 litres of stuff if passengers are left at home.

In fact, space between the rear arches when seats are folded flat is wide enough to squeeze in a Euro pallet (the standard sized wooden pallet used throughout Europe which is 47.2 in × 31.5 in × 5.7 inches in size) even though the height and rear packaging would generally make this difficult.

The Rifter rides well and the steering via an under-sized, flat-bottomed steering wheel feels sharp and direct, but there is a small amount of body roll through faster corners and it does have a tendency to wash wide and light up the traction control system warning system (which is displayed on the dashboard) if really pushed hard.

On-road manners might err on the genteel side but Peugeot has seen fit to throw in the option of its Advanced Grip Control, which acts on the front wheels to deliver greater grip on poor terrain and weather conditions. A number of modes, including snow, mud and sand, give greater peace of mind should you think about venturing into the unknown.

Engine choice is varied, with the option of petrol and diesel units available from launch, while varieties on those engines will be introduced throughout 2019, as will an electrified version in the near future.

All things considered, it's difficult to pigeonhole the Rifter, as it doesn't really compete with many of today's MPVs, seeing as the majority of them sport swooping rooflines in an attempt to make them more appealing.

This is a van at heart, but one that has been dressed up to look nice, feel pleasant to drive and offer the latest tech, as well as oodles of room inside and stowage space.

Niche it may be, but it's seriously worth considering if you're looking for a low cost solution to transport lots of kit in relative style.

Last Updated 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018 - 13:00

Key facts 

Warranty: 
2-years/Unlimited or 3-years / 60,000 miles
Boot size: 
775 litres
Width: 
2,107mm
Length: 
4,403mm to 4,753mm
Height: 
From 1,878mm to 1,882mm
Tax: 
From £145 in the first year, £140 thereafter

Best Peugeot Rifter for... 

Peugeot Rifter Active 1.5L BlueHDi 75 5-speed manual
This is by far the cheapest model on offer from launch, while the 109g/km CO2 emissions make it the cheapest to tax and run.
Peugeot Rifter Allure 1.5L BlueHDi 130
A more luxurious trim package sees the introduction of i-Cockpit, as well as myriad comfort features, while the more potent diesel engine better suits the vehicle.
Peugeot Rifter GT Line 1.5L BlueHDi 130
Expect an entire suite of exterior bells and whistles, including 17-inch alloy wheels, gloss black features and Advanced Grip Control as standard.

Peugeot Rifter History 

  • March 2018: Peugeot Rifter makes public debut at the Geneva Motorshow
  • July 2018: Prices and specifications announced
  • September 2018: Formally goes on sale in UK

Understanding Peugeot Rifter car names 

  • Rifter
  • Trim
    Allure
  • Body style
    5 Door
  • Engines
    1.5-litre diesel
  • Gearbox
    5-speed manual
  • Trim
    There are three trim levels on offer. Each trim level sees more specification added to the car but also sees the price increase.
  • Body style
    The Peugeot Rifter is available in both five and seven seat body styles, with the latter sporting a long wheelbase and lengthier dimensions in general.
  • Engines
    Both petrol and diesel engines are offered, with petrol models labelled PureTech and diesel sporting the BlueHDi moniker.
  • Gearbox
    Both manual and automatic transmissions are available, with the former decked out in either five or six speed depending on the engine type (petrol engines receive six speed manuals and the majority of diesels get five, for example). The automatic gearbox is an eight-speed Efficient Automatic Transmission (or EAT8) that can also be operated via paddles behind the steering wheel.

Peugeot Rifter Engines 

1.2-litre PureTech 110 petrol, 1.2-litre PureTech 130 petrol, 1.5-litre 75 BlueHDi diesel, 1.5-litre 100 BlueHDi diesel, 1.5-litre 130 BlueHDi diesel

On paper, it looks as if Peugeot offers an extensive range of engines but the reality is the line-up includes on petrol and one diesel variant, with each offered in various states of tune.

To make matters slightly more complicated, only some engines are available with the automatic transmission, while petrol models and the most powerful 130hp diesel engine receive a six-speed manual, while the rest have to make do with a five-speed variant.

To keep things simple let us say now that Peugeot's current engine line up is fantastic, offering superb performance from quiet and refined units that boast some of the lowest CO2 emissions and impressive fuel consumption figures on sale today.

With that said, we would suggest opting for the more powerful BlueHDi diesel engine, simply because it boasts the greatest torque figure and therefore is the most adept at hauling more cargo and passengers with fewer complaints.

The 110hp petrol engine feels slightly underpowered, leaving the 130hp petrol option as the most sensible choice for those covering larger distances than simply the school run.

But all units generally prove quiet and refined for the majority of driving situations, the manual gearboxes are smooth and easy to operate, the fuel economy across the range is impressive and the automatic gearbox is slick, if not the sharpest 'box in town.

 

Fuel

Mpg

Bhp

0 - 62mph

Top speed

1.2L PureTech 110

Petrol

TBC

108bhp

TBC

TBC

1.2-litre PureTech 130

Petrol

TBC

128bhp

TBC

TBC

1.5L BlueHDi 75

Diesel

68.9mpg

74bhp

TBC

95mph

1.5L BlueHDi 100

Diesel

65.7mpg

99bhp

TBC

105mph

1.5L BlueHDi 130

Diesel

65.7mpg

128bhp

TBC

116mph

Peugeot Rifter Trims 

Active, Allure, and GT Line

All models come very well equipped to deal with daily life, whether that's the hard-wearing plastics that make up the dash and interior panels, 180 litres of cubbyhole space found inside or the intuitive optional access hatch into the large rear boot, it all screams of regular, unhindered family frolics.

Perhaps the most interesting of all these interior features are the numerous storage compartments dotted around the cabin that can stow everything from an iPad or laptop (the cubicle on top of the dash) to large kids toys (the locker that resides in the roof above the boot).

Even the stowage compartments in the driver and passenger doors are large enough for two or three big bottles of water, with room left over for a sharing bag of Haribo.

Although not confirmed for the UK yet, the entry-level Allure specification will feature all of the aforementioned cubbyholes and convenience items but will lack the cutting-edge i-Cockpit touchscreen display, body-coloured bumpers and alloy wheels of its more expensive counterpart.

Peugeot claims that most customers will jump up to Allure spec, which adds USB sockets inside, electric rear windows and rear parking sensors.

The interior is decked out in premium feel cloth fabric, while the seating is manually adjustable with small plastic tray tables added to the rear of the front seats. Both driver and passenger also get a cloth-covered armrest.

On top of this, Allure sees the introduction of i-Cockpit, which consists of an eight-inch capacitive touchscreen display with Apple Car Play, Android Auto and MirrorLink, as well as USB sockets for plugging in and basic voice recognition.

Those familiar with Peugeot products will be aware of the i-Cockpit, which features a full TFT display instead of analogue instruments in some models, but here it is a simpler affair but arguably works better.

The raised seating position makes it easy to follow instructions from the small digital display nestled in-between the speedometer and tachometer and doesn't require any peering over or through the steering wheel.

Other highlights of the Allure specification include 16-inch alloy wheels, halogen headlights and LED daytime running lights.

GT Line sits at the top of the range and unsurprisingly adds plenty of sporty touches, including larger 17-inch alloy wheels, a 3D effect front grille, gloss black exterior trim and numerous 'GT Line' emblems dotted around the bodywork.

Inside, customers are treated to the Zenith Roof, which includes a panoramic sunroof, the previously mentioned storage roof case and a translucent plastic roof arch that runs from front to back inside the car. This hollow art deco-inspired feature lights up and can be used to stow even more accoutrements.

Rear seats in GT Line are also completely independent and can be laid flat via a button located in the boot, which offers plenty of scope to transport both people and bulky items without affecting comfort.

TomTom's latest connected navigation system is also present, which is bold, colourful and easy to use but we found it a little slow to react and re-route, while some junctions weren't easy to follow.

Peugeot Rifter Reliability and warranty 

It is too early to comment on the sturdiness of Rifter but Peugeot has come a long way since the days of questionable French reliability, with its 3008 SUV model ranking at the very top of the 2018 Auto Express Driver Power Survey, with an impressive 93.88 per cent of owners asked satisfied with their purchase.

Early experience suggests build quality in the new Rifter feels solid and the on-board technology is quick and responsive, while Peugeot has an extensive dealer network in the UK, should something go awry.