by Seán Creedon

Peugeot launched their impressive new 508 in February this year and naturally it garnered most of the news and reviews.

However, at the same event in Cork Peugeot also launched their new Rifter people carrier, which comes with five or seven seats and their new Partner Van.

Last week I got to drive the Rifter and it got me thinking of maybe becoming a taxi driver as I noticed a lot of taxi men driving this spacious car.

Taxi drivers loved the Peugeot Partner and now many drivers are switching to Rifter which is so easy to access even in a tight space, thanks to two sliding doors. Also ideal for children who can climb on board.

‘Rugged stylish car’

Peugeot describe the Rifter as a ‘rugged stylish car.’ I think that’s a fairly good description. I drove the seven-seater version and it proved very popular with all the family.

When you leave down the two back seats you have plenty of room to clear out the shed if necessary and ferry some items you no longer need to the recycling centre.

The Rifter, which is basically a van-based MPV, replaced the Partner Tepee MPV, with a focus on practicality and versatility at good value pricing.

Externally the front has a chunky look to it with the famous Peugeot lion embedded in the grille. Normally you see workers clutter up the dash area of their vans with diaries, invoice books and note books.

In the Rifter there is plenty of overhead space in the cabin to keep those important diaries out of view. It’s a bit like the overheard compartment on an airplane.

Inside the layout is fairly simple with black the dominant colour. However, a cream roof does brighten the decor. The Rifter also gets a version of Peugeot’s famous i-Cockpit and there is an impressive looking seven-inch touch screen in the centre of the dashboard.

The steering wheel is really cute and is fitted with a plethora of slave controls. My automatic version also had toggle switches at the side of the wheel, if I wanted to change gears manually.

I drove the automatic version and really liked the control to select the driving positions which was located in the column that separates the driver and front seat passenger. It was very simple design, but also very efficient.

There is plenty of storage space and cubby holes throughout the cabin and there are also ‘secret’ underfloor storage places. You get a wide boot opening and you also get a spare wheel, which is located underneath the car. Plenty of room for seven people with ample head and leg room. Two roof rails add to the people carrier look.

Prices start at €23,540. As usual with Peugeot there are tree trim levels: Active, Allure and GT Line, two petrol and four diesel options and naturally the price rises the higher the spec required. Road tax is only €200.

The only complaint I got was from my wife and daughter, who both said they could have done with a vanity mirror on the front seat passenger’s side

It was very comfortable car to travel in and the seats are so flexible. You also get a very frugal 1.5-litre diesel engine. However, I still think I might not be opinionated enough to become a taxi driver!