For many, especially younger drivers, MPVs are just plain moving boxes that one gets for a large family or when one needs something more than a station wagon. However, in recent years, perhaps this trend has been changing and some interesting looking cars are starting to appear in this segment as well. In some cases even electrified. Practicality, interesting design and interesting specifications will certainly be the domain of the new e-Rifter…
So we’ll be talking about the new Peugeot e-Rifter, which continues the French brand’s journey of electrifying its passenger cars. It is available in two versions, with 5 or 7 seats each, and at each of two body lengths: L1 (4.4m) and L2 (4.75m). In our case, we tested the shorter version with five seats. The extended version also has a longer wheelbase and overhang for an ideal spatial layout inside the car.
From the outside, the Peugeot e-Rifter needs no special introduction. The Rifter has been on our roads for quite some time and only differs from the combustion versions by the logo with the letter “e” in front of the name. Don’t expect any other changes here. You won’t find a body-coloured grille like other electrified Peugeot models, and the e-Rifter hasn’t received a new brand logo with a lion’s head on a black background, even in the updated electric version.
Not even the new Rifter has a new logo with a lion’s head on a black background.
Inside the vehicle, the crew generally has plenty of spacious and easy-to-reach storage compartments, which on some versions total up to 186 litres. They are distributed throughout the cabin – on the centre console, on the ceiling, in the doors, in both the first and second rows and also in the luggage compartment. There is also a practical table built into the rear of the front seats for the crew in the second row. There are also perfect storage bins on the ceiling at the rear and also a long, illuminated “shelf” that stretches the entire length of the car, directly under the panoramic roof.
From his position, the driver has a good all-round view and, thanks to the reversing camera, he can see exactly how far the rear of the vehicle extends. There’s also been a redesign of the centre console, which now incorporates things like a new ergonomic ‘e-Toggle’ gear selector, a switch between 3 driving modes, a rotary dial for the Advanced Grip Control system with 5 modes, and hidden underneath it all is a very bulky storage compartment where even a Yorkshire is guaranteed to get lost.
It’s also worth mentioning the ability to connect your smartphone via Android Auto or Apple Carplay, but unfortunately, it’s still cable-only. There’s also a high-resolution 10-inch digital instrument cluster in front of the driver. The animation speed is much improved over its siblings in the group, and the entire infotainment has also received some upgrades and works briskly. Just after start-up, you’d better give the car a few moments to load everything in peace before you can enter anything into the navigation or adjust the radio.
What kind of MPV would this be if it wasn’t possible to enlarge the already spacious boot. In our case, 775 litres, and simply folding down the second row of seats gives you an almost flat load area that holds up to 3,500 litres. Then you just need to put, for example, a mattress on the floor and you have room for a comfortable sleeping space, without having to unfold the tent. There is also a 12V socket in the boot area that can power your electronic devices, but unfortunately only when the “ignition” is on, which doesn’t make much sense to me with the electric version of the car.
At the same time, there is also a 12V socket in the boot area that can power your electronic devices, but unfortunately only when the “ignition” is on.
The rear door is sliding, so there’s no risk of a careless crew slamming it against the vehicle next to you. If a charging cable is currently connected, the driver’s side door, where the charging port is located, is blocked to prevent collision with the connected connector. When you need to carry longer items and want to recline the front passenger seat, you’ll encounter an armrest that won’t allow you to fold the seat flat – but just pull it out. Despite the otherwise regal interior space, there’s not at least a small space under the trunk floor to store charging cables or mandatory gear, so all the cables will be flying up and down.
The e-Rifter is a blast to get into, which the older grades can appreciate, as there’s no need to duck, weave or wriggle into the cramped interior. You practically just slide into the seat and settle in comfortably. This is true in both the front and rear seats.
The Peugeot e-Rifter is built on the EMP2 platform, which allows a specific vehicle to be built and fitted with either an internal combustion or pure electric motor. This versatile Stellantis group is known for offering virtually one engine and one capacity for the various models and brands in its portfolio.
The Peugeot e-Rifter is thus equipped with a 100kW (136bhp) electric motor with 240Nm of torque and front-wheel drive. Everything is powered by a 50kWh battery located in the floor, which has a usable capacity of 45 kWh. Thus, just like the Peugeot e-208, e-2008, Opel Corsa-e, DS 3 Crossback and many others. The claimed range of the e-Rifter, according to the WLTP methodology, is 280km
When shifting in pure city mode, the car behaves very pleasantly and is just brimming with power. No matter what car you’re in, you can enjoy acceleration thanks to the torque of the electric motor from virtually zero revs, leaving other cars far behind at junctions. Once out of the city, the e-Rifter is still decently dynamic and has no problem keeping pace on winding roads.
You can select the available power on the drive mode switch, which offers 3 options: Eco (60 kW of power and 190 Nm of torque) for maximum range and quiet driving, Normal (80 kW of power and 210 Nm of torque), ideal for everyday operation, and Power mode (100 kW of power and 260 Nm of torque), making the full power of this engine available.
There’s also the option to activate the Brake function, which is actually energy recuperation during engine braking that charges the battery and increases the vehicle’s real-world range. There are 2 modes – Standard (default mode) where the steering feel is similar to internal combustion engine vehicles, and Boosted mode (available by pressing the B button on the drive mode selector, which activates the BRAKE function) where there is greater recuperation immediately after the accelerator is released, helping to optimize range.
Nobody expects you to race a car like this, and that s why the acceleration figures aren t breathtaking. 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) takes about 11 seconds, and acceleration from 80 to 120 km/h (62 mph) takes 8.9 seconds, with a top speed limited to 130 km/h (130 mph). In practice, it goes pump up to about 136-137 km/h but you probably wouldn’t want any more than that because then the battery percentages disappear right before your eyes.
It’s the battery that’s the whole stumbling block. It’s quite adequate for the smaller EVs mentioned above, but for a heavy, nearly 1.8t, non-aerodynamic MPV, which will be even heavier once the crew and cargo are loaded, its capacity is too small. The Peugeot e-Rifter can also be fitted with a towbar, and the maximum permissible weight of a trailer, braked or unbraked, is 750kg. In this combination, however, I expect the consumption of the rig to be enormous and the range to drop deep into the 100km range.
And this brings us to the only major negative of an otherwise great vehicle. The big limitation for many drivers may just be the lack of battery capacity. The usable 45 kWh will be fine in the city and when moving between villages. Even a trip around Slovakia, with a bit of planning, can be enjoyed with the whole family. However, motorways are forbidden territory, where the inefficiency of the drive itself at high speed and especially the aerodynamics of the whole vehicle become apparent.
Although we were getting pretty decent city and county fuel economy in testing as well, in the winter months the figures will be roughly 20 to 35% worse. This brings our range down to the 200-kilometre mark. The average person drives 35 kilometres a day, so even this small portion of range will only serve you for a few days. It will be largely impractical in winter on the aforementioned motorways, when you’ll be glad to find a high-performance charger at all after 120 km. With a loaded crew and any additional cargo in the form of suitcases, consumption will definitely climb well over 33 kWh/100km. Throughout the test, consumption ranged from 16 kWh /100km in the city, to 22-23 kWh /100km on the county roads, to a highway 30-33 kWh /100km.So at least 100 kW fast charging will compensate for the poor range. We normally see this value when charging from a low state of charge. It is therefore not a theoretical value. If you run out with a few percent in the battery during your travels, in less than 30 minutes you leave again with 80% and can continue your journey. So I just can’t imagine that trip, for example, somewhere in the Alps as every 120km we take unnecessary, 30-40 minute breaks.
But let’s not take this as a problem, the Peugeot e-Rifter is designed for a different group. It brings to the MPV segment a smooth and dynamic jerk-free ride, unparalleled acceleration thanks to instant torque and very quiet operation. It will be appreciated by people who need to transport belongings or family in urban and suburban conurbations and prefer another form of mobility for highway or holiday transfers.
If you’d like a diesel or petrol engine and the spaciousness of an MPV for family use, you need to look around for a different brand, or a different concern altogether. Stellantis already plans to offer electrified Rifter models exclusively in the passenger car segment.
The Peugeot e-Rifter’s price tag starts at €32,290 and in GT trim and with extras it’s just under €39k, but at that price you get everything you need from a family MPV. Among electric vehicles, such a price is perfectly defensible and the only thing that would really be worth paying extra for would be more battery capacity. Perhaps that 75kWh battery from the Traveller would be suitable… but maybe in time.