Some new vehicle debuts we expect ahead of time. Others come as all but complete surprises. Then you have some that fall in between – predictable arrivals that nonetheless hold a surprise or two. That’s where Peugeot’s new van comes in.
You see, when the PSA Group revealed that it was planning to roll out a new family of “leisure activity vehicles” (read: small passenger vans), it indicated there’d be three versions: one for Citroën, one for Opel, and one for Peugeot. The latter we figured would be called the Partner Tepee, as it was before. But now it’s been revealed as the Rifter instead, putting the old name to bed. But that’s about where the surprises end.
The Lion marque‘s counterpart to the new Citroën Berlingo Multispace and Opel Combo Life that we’ve already seen. So the parameters are more or less the same: we’re looking at a little people-mover (as in, a little mover of people, not a mover of little people), available in two sizes with five or seven seats.
There will be two essential engine options that combine to offer five levels of output: a 1.2-liter gasoline engine with 110 metric horsepower and a five-speed manual, or 130 ps with an eight-speed automatic, and a 1.5-liter diesel in 75-, 100-, and 130-ps states of tune – the lower two with a five-speed manual, and the top version with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic.
All-wheel drive will be offered as well, and there’s a whole host of driver assistance systems. An eight-inch infotainment system syncs with your phone, an electric handbrake frees of space, and a variable cargo configuration enables up to 141 cubic feet of capacity (depending on the version specified). That’s slightly more than you could fit in a significantly larger American-style minivan like the Chrysler Pacifica.
Those being the same basic parameters as its corporate counterparts, the Peugeot sets itself apart with a more sophisticated design approach to the quirky Citroën and the understated Opel versions. It also embraces Peugeot’s i-Cockpit dashboard configuration, with a compact steering wheel, eight-inch touchscreen, and head-up display teaming up to put the focus on the driving experience – even with all that space in the back.
The Rifter will also be offered in a GT Line model, with blacked-out trim, 17-inch wheels, and a more upscale interior. Expect cargo versions of all three models to follow, the Peugeot potentially to continue the Partner name (sans the “Tepee”) or perhaps adopt another handle altogether (as this passenger model has). In the meantime, Peugeot is showcasing the new van at the Geneva Motor Show next month – along with an undisclosed “unique version” – before production kicks off in Spain and Portugal for deliveries starting in September.
Article has been updated with live images from the Geneva auto show floors