Peugeot Rifter - an

MPV that can

Peugeot Rifter, 2018, front
Peugeot Rifter, 2018, side
Peugeot Rifter, 2018, rear
Peugeot Rifter, 2018, side, doors open
Peugeot Rifter, 2018, interior
Peugeot Rifter, 2018, instrument panel
Peugeot Rifter, 2018, display screen
Peugeot Rifter, 2018, console
Peugeot Rifter, 2018, grille
Peugeot Rifter, 2018, roof rails
Peugeot Rifter, 2018, roof storage
Peugeot Rifter, 2018, underfloor storage
Peugeot Rifter, 2018, boot
Peugeot Rifter, 2018, boot, maximum
Peugeot Rifter, 2018, badge
Peugeot Rifter, 2018, seats
Peugeot Rifter, 2018, picnic table
Peugeot Rifter, 2018, short and long wheelbase

AS van-based crossovers go Peugeot is about to up the ante with its new Rifter MPV.

Derived from the latest Partner van the Rifter looks rugged but nicely stylish.

Following on from the Partner Tepee the Rifter comes as either a five or seven seater and it's an incredibly versatile vehicle, ideal for action families.

Good ground clearance, plenty of body protection and Peugeot's Grip Control traction system make this an MPV that can go places.

The Rifter is going to be the sister ship to the new Citroen Berlingo and Vauxhall Combo but Peugeot's offering is the only one that can tackle rougher conditions.

And when it comes to practicality the Rifter is hugely accommodating with boot space ranging from a cavernous 775 litres to an astonishing 4,000 litres on the longer wheelbase versions.

There's also a double glovebox in the dash, fold-down tables on the back of the front seats, a deep centre console aft of the gear lever, underfloor boxes in the rear and roof compartments aplenty.

In total there is 186 litres of space inside and that is almost as much as you get in a city car boot.

And on high specification GT Line models there's an opening tailgate window which gives quick and easy access to the luggage compartment.

As a five seater the Rifter cabin is roomy and spacious. The longer wheelbase model, which at 15ft 7ins is some 15 inches longer, is positively enormous in this class of car and while the rearmost seats are best left for youngsters they can be used by adults.

There are plenty of power outlets and plug-in points front and back and the Rifter can be had with a wireless phone charger to keep clutter to a minimum.

Unusually for a van-based MPV the rear doors have electrically operated windows instead of pop-out ones - and that's another plus point.

From a driver's point of view the cabin is very car-like with a central display screen, Peugeot's i-Cockpit with smaller steering wheel and an SUV-like high centre console between the front seats.

The Rifter range is likely to start at around £19,500 when it arrives in September and top out close to £25,000 - so it is by no means a bargain basement model.

Sitting on smart 17-inch alloys and with de rigueur side mouldings and wheel arch protectors plus roof rails it looks the part and sliding back doors help when it comes to loading.

However, the doors are not powered and neither is the tailgate which opens high and is on the heavy side.

The front grille is purely for decoration and the air intakes are in the bumper.

The Rifter is powered by a 1.2-litre PureTech turbo petrol engine developing 110bhp or one of three BlueHDi diesels with outputs ranging from 75 to a healthy 130bhp.

All have manual gearboxes although an eight speed automatic will come later on the higher powered diesel engine and on a 130bhp version of the PureTech.

In 110bhp petrol guise the Rifter is quite capable with a 0 to 60 time of 11.7 seconds and top speed of 105mph.

Expect around 35 to the gallon overall although the petrol Rifter is officially rated at 55 to the gallon with emissions of 126g/km.

The 130bhp diesel is livelier through the gears - and there are six to go at - and that is reflected in a 0 to 60 time of 10.4 seconds with a top end of 115mph.

It also has an official fuel return of 66mpg with a CO2 figure of 114g/km although on our runs it showed a similar figure to that of the petrol.

Compared to the van on which it is based, the Rifter has its own suspension and steering settings and there is no problem with the drive - although sporty it is not.

It is also very quiet going about its business and noise levels throughout the cabin are impressively low.

Both cars we sampled were set up with glass panoramic sunroofs complete with a central storage zone which is cleverly designed so that items will not fall out if packed correctly.

With a retractable blind that is electrically operated it makes for a nicely bright interior - and that's bound to keep everyone on board happy.

Demand for such versatile crossovers is growing - the Partner Tepee proved that for Peugeot - and the Rifter will set a new standard as a leisure vehicle that won't break the bank and can handle every family's needs.

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