Peugeot Rifter

Allure BlueHDi 100

Peugeot Rifter, front
Peugeot Rifter, dynamic
Peugeot Rifter, rear
Peugeot Rifter, interior
Peugeot Rifter, boot

VANS are made to move lots of stuff, with their boxy shape and high roofs, and we regularly hire them in our tens of thousands to do just that.

So when we have lots of stuff to move on a regular basis - kids, pets and all the paraphernalia that comes with them - a car that is based on a van is surely worth considering, right?

After all, performance and driving dynamics are not really the priority here, the emphasis is on having as much space as possible to travel in reasonable comfort.

For people in the market for such a motor, Peugeot has come up with the Rifter, an up-to-date take on its previous offering of this ilk, the Partner Tepee.

With a raked windscreen, short bonnet and fashionable SUV style cues such as roof rails, chunky bumpers, muscular wheel arches and black cladding, the French designers have done their best to soften the Rifter's light commercial vehicle underpinnings.

Nevertheless, robust rather than sleek is probably the best description and for it's week with us my kids steadfastly referred to it as ‘the van'.

But if van-like space and practicality is what you need, the Rifter has plenty going for it.

Good leg room all around and great head room, thanks to that high roof, mean five adults will fit comfortably, with no intrusive transmission tunnel for those in the rear to negotiate, while sliding doors make getting in and out of the back so easy, especially in tight parking spaces, that I am amazed they're not standard on all vehicles aimed at multiple passengers.

Offered in familiar Peugeot Active, Allure and GT Line trim levels the Rifter can be specified in standard length, with five seats, or you can add on an extra 35 centimetres for two extra seats and even more space.

The boot, as you'd expect, is absolutely huge, ranging from 775 to 3,500 litres (4,000 in the long version) with the rear seats folded flat, while a wide, square tailgate and low lip make loading and unloading simple.

Generous cabin storage includes two glove boxes, underfloor compartments in the rear and a full-width overhead shelf above the windscreen, which is supplemented in all but entry-level cars with a spacious centre console and under-seat storage beneath the front passenger seat.

And if that's not enough cubbies for all your bits and bobs, range-topping cars also get the Zenith roof storage system in conjunction with a panoramic glass roof.

Engine options, dependant on trim, are a 1.2-litre, three cylinder turbo petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel, each with a choice of two power outputs. The lower powered diesel comes with a precise five-speed manual gearbox while the higher one can be had with an eight-speed automatic. The rest get six-speed manual transmissions.

All offer decent economy, with the entry-level diesel I drove claiming 65.7 miles per gallon on average, and performance which is perfectly acceptable for a motor of this type.

Acceleration is steady, not spectacular, but once up to speed the Rifter cruises along nicely and the ride is surprisingly comfortable, although not as refined as in a more traditional family car.

Given it's extra height, there is some roll in the bends but, driven sensibly, it feels settled on the road and light steering makes manoeuvring straightforward.

The use of Peugeot's i-Cockpit layout, featuring a compact steering wheel beneath a raised instrument panel, also makes it feel less van-like to drive while, on Allure grade cars and above, equipment levels are good, including an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, DAB radio, air conditioning, automatic emergency braking and rear parking sensors.

FAST FACTS

Peugeot Rifter Allure BlueHDi 100

Price: £21,489

Mechanical: 101ps, 1,499cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 109mph

0-62mph: 12.5 seconds

Combined MPG: 65.7

Insurance Group:14

C02 emissions: 113g/km

Bik rating: 27%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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