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First Drive

First Drive: Peugeot Rifter

The story:
The Rifter replaces the Peugeot Partner Tepee. The all-new name indicates the French company’s aim to shift the image away from the Partner van (on which it is still based) and give it a more SUV-like image.
Key rival:Citroen Berlingo
Peugeot Rifter BlueHDi 130 manual GT-line
MPG:65.7 mpg
On sale:October 2018

Sometimes practicality is the be all and end all of your motoring needs, and if that’s the case, the new Peugeot Rifter looks tempting. It’s based on the next Peugeot Partner van, and takes over where the Partner Tepee passenger version left off, offering a huge amount of interior space for five or seven people and a boot that dwarfs many larger cars’. Peugeot has also significantly improved the car-like feel of its latest van-derived offering.

The overall design of the Rifter is boxy but a slightly raised ride height, plastic wheelarch trim and roof rails give the car a more SUV-esque look. Inside, the Rifter offers a fantastic amount of space.

As well as plenty of head and legroom in the three full-size second-row seats, all of which come with Isofix, boot space is huge. In the short-wheelbase version, there is a whopping 775 litres under the parcel shelf, and that’s before you fold down the rear seats. By comparison a Skoda Superb estate has 660 litres.

Want to treat your Rifter as a van? Then fold all seven seats in the long-wheelbase version and you’ve got 4000 litres of space. The Rifter also has 186 litres of space in cubby compartments around the cabin.

The dashboard uses Peugeot’s iCockpit design, as seen on the 3008, 5008 and 508. This brings a small, low-set steering wheel with instruments above, plus a large colour touchscreen in all but the lowest-spec versions.

There are two petrol engines and three diesels. The petrols are both 1.2-litre units and come as either 110hp or 130hp. The diesels are all 1.5-litre motors with 75hp, 100hp or 130hp. For economy and CO2 reasons the diesels are the better bet.

That said, we’d steer clear of the 75bhp diesel and its glacial 0-60mph time of 17 seconds. The 130bhp diesel has the best overall performance with a 0-60mph time of 10.4 seconds and a top speed of 114mph.

Fortunately the more powerful engine is only fractionally thirstier than the weaker one; the official 68.9mpg of the 75bhp diesel is shared with the 100bhp model, and the 130bhp only drops to 65.7mpg.

First Drive-30th July 2018-Peugeot Rifter-Image 2The Rifter drives well, too, both in town and on faster roads. Comfort levels are good at all speeds and Peugeot has done well to hide any van roots, and while the Rifter isn’t what you’d call a sporty car, body roll is kept well in check.

If you want to venture off-road, the front-drive Rifter can also be specified with Peugeot’s GripControl which maximises traction in slippery conditions.

Overall it offers a great deal at relatively low cost and as such is a highly credible alternative to opting for estates or SUVs.

tristan young

The verdict

For those that need maximum space from their car, Peugeot’s Rifter is a viable and appealing alternative to either estate cars, mini-MPVs or SUVs.