- A choice of efficient diesels and one petrol for now
- Automatic gearbox on top-spec diesel and petrol
- Performance is adequate rather than exciting
Cars like the Rifter are big sellers for Peugeot, especially in diesel form, so it comes as no surprise that it’s available with a choice of outputs from the 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesel. There’s also a PureTech petrol with a choice of 110hp or 130hp outputs - the latter of which comes in 2019 with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Peugeot Rifter BlueHDi diesel engines
Powering all diesel Rifters is the firm’s latest 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesel engine, available with either 75hp, 100hp or 129hp. The two lower-powered versions come with a five-speed manual gearbox only.
With 250Nm of torque to call upon, the 100hp diesel takes 12.5 seconds to complete the 0-62mph time. The engine is smooth and refined, but is let down by the notchy five-speed manual gearbox. It has a terrifically long throw and doesn’t feel all that inspiring to use.
In fact, it feels vague and not very positive to use at all. A shame, given that the six-speed manual in higher-output models feels a much more solid, well-engineered transmission to operate.
We’re yet to test the 75hp version but expect progress to be more leisurely than other Rifters.
There’s more choice with the BlueHDi 130 engine, though. A six-speed manual is standard which is much slicker to use (but still long of throw), as well as an EAT8 eight-speed automatic. It suits the Rifter’s comfy character very well, and is surprisingly responsive when you put your foot down, in part thanks to the greater 300Nm of torque on tap. There’s a set of paddles on the steering column, but we’d just leave the centre console-mounted dial in D and let the car do its thing.
Performance is more rapid than the BlueHDi 100, unsurprisingly, taking 10.4 seconds to complete the 0-62mph sprint (in manual form) and 10.8 seconds for the automatic. Again, it’s a quiet and refined engine that never feels too coarse, disguising its van roots very well indeed.
Peugeot Rifter PureTech petrol engines
If you prefer a petrol option, there’s a choice of two 1.2-litre PureTech three-cylinder petrols. Only the 110hp version is available at the car’s launch in the middle of 2018, with a more powerful 130hp version joining the range early in 2019.
The PureTech 110 is good for an 11.7-second 0-62mph sprint time, but it’s the least torquey of the bunch with 205Nm on offer. It does feel easier to drive than the BlueHDi 100, however, with a much slicker six-speed gearbox that makes it feel very different – and easier – to drive around town.
No performance figures are yet available for the 130hp version, but it will only be available with the eight-speed automatic. We expect it’ll come close to the BlueHDi 130 for performance.
- Unsurprisingly the Rifter rolls in corners
- Not as bad as you might expect though
- Light steering but decent grip, too
It would be wrong to criticise the Rifter for being a bit roly-poly in the bends. Tackling a twisty B-road isn’t what it’s built for in the slightest, but it handles surprisingly well for a high-bodied car. Some passengers may need to hang on if you take a bend a bit too enthusiastically, but roll isn’t as excessive as you might expect.
The Rifter’s i-Cockpit set-up for the interior helps it feel more nimble than you might expect too, thanks to the dinky steering wheel that requires fewer turns to get the car around a bend. It’s possibly more effective in the Rifter than many other Peugeot models, making a flat-sided MPV feel more nimble than it should.
That said, the Rifter’s steering isn’t the most feelsome, but its lightness is great for manoeuvring in car parks, while the front seats hold you in place well enough, as long as you don’t go too mad.
- Peugeot’s i-Cockpit set-up for the Rifter
- Works surprisingly well and remains airy
- Some may find it takes a while to get used to
The first thing you’ll notice when you jump behind the wheel of the Rifter is the tiny steering wheel and high-set dials on the dashboard. It’s just like the set-up you’ll find in the 208, 308, 3008 and 5008. Peugeot calls it i-Cockpit.
It works surprisingly well in the Rifter, as you sit high anyway as you would in a commercial vehicle or regular MPV, and enough adjustment in the seat to not feel hemmed in by the steering wheel. It suits some drivers more than others, so take a bit of time to familiarise yourself with the set-up, as some taller drivers may find the wheel is simply too low - even if it offers plenty of reach adjustment..
Depending on the model you go for, the Rifter comes with a touchscreen infotainment system – again, lifted from other Peugeot models – that sits proud of the dashboard within easy reach of the driver. Lower-spec Rifters get a simpler set-up with just a few buttons and no touchscreen function.
The heating and ventilation controls are also within easy reach, but almost hidden beneath the ledge the touchscreen sits on, so you’ll need to take your eyes off the road briefly to ensure you’re jabbing the correct button. The gearlever is located nice and high on the centre console so it falls within easy reach of the driver on manual versions, however, which is more useful.
If you opt for the EAT8 automatic, a rotary dial selects the gears just like in a Jaguar or Land Rover product.
- Rifter’s ride is more comfort-focused
- Deals with worst roads well
- Refinement is also impressive
The Rifter’s more comfort-focused set-up (as opposed to having any kind of sporty pretentions), means it’s a joy to drive on even rougher roads and speed humps.
It deals with imperfections in the road well and it takes the worst surfaces or holes in the road to really send shudders through to the occupants.
Diesel models feel more settled on the road than the lighter petrol-engined versions, but the ride on top-spec GT Line versions can feel a little busy with the largest 17-inch alloy wheels.
Refinement is above average with very little intrusion from the engine, but there’s some wind noise to contend with, thanks to the upright windscreen and large door mirrors. The larger wheels on the GT Line generate some road noise too, so longer journeys could prove wearisome.