The All-New Peugeot Rifter Taxi
By motoring correspondent Phil Huff
People carriers might have fallen out of fashion with retail buyers but they remain a vital part of the private hire taxi sector. Fortunately, manufacturers have picked up on a new trend, that of super-practical vehicles that are perfect for the taxi market.
The practical nature of the Rifter means there’s a robust appearance to it. It rides on Peugeot’s EMP2 platform, which means much of the underpinnings are shared with vehicles as diverse as the Peugeot 308, Citroen C5 Aircross, DS 7 Crossback and Vauxhall Grandland X. Maintenance should be easy, as there are so many common parts that spares and repairs should be quick and easy to acquire. The flexibility of the platform also allows for Peugeot to manipulate things to provide more space than anyone is ever likely to use.
The bulk of the car has been well disguised with a funky ruggedness thanks to black plastic mouldings around the wheels and sills and chunky windows that look to have been carved out of a solid lump of metal. Roof rails add a bit of purpose, as well as increasing luggage carrying capabilities. It all works remarkably well and, while it may never be described as beautiful, the Rifter is undoubtedly handsome enough.
The tough stance misleads on one count though – this is no off-roader. However, an impressive set of driving modes, called Grip Control, adjusts the on-board computers to get you through snow, mud or sand. It’s an optional extra but one that might just get you out of a tricky situation.
A range of petrol and diesel engines provide the power to pull the Rifter along. Diesel rules the roost for commercial work, with the 1.5-litre turbocharged unit available with power outputs from 75 to 130hp. Top seller in the hard-working taxi market is the mid-range, 100hp model, which is tough enough for the job, with 250Nm of torque allowing the Rifter to be zippy around town, while also able to keep up with traffic on longer motorway runs. The headline figures suggest that accelerating to 62mph will take a leisurely 12.5 seconds, but the initial burst of acceleration up to 30mph or so feels far nippier.
Economy & Reliability
Fuel economy of around 50mpg is promised. Impressively, we actually beat that figure during testing, so frugality is assured and, with that, lower running costs. It’s an AdBlue engine, which means emissions are kept in check As with most modern diesels, the supplementary AdBlue tank will need topping up, but that’s required every 3,500 miles or so on the Rifter.
Any issues with the car will be covered by a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty. Hopefully there won’t be many, as Peugeot recently topped the JD Power UK Vehicle Dependability Study, with owners reporting the lowest rate of problems across all manufacturers.
That all counts for nothing in the taxi business if the car fails at being practical and useable. Fortunately, Peugeot’s onto a winner here, as there’s little to complain about in the Rifter. Space is available everywhere; as well as the 775-litre boot (with the seats up and parcel shelf in place) there’s an extra 180 litres of oddment storage throughout the cabin, from a box on the top of the dashboard to door bins and the cavernous centre console storage. Fold the seats down, revealing a flat boot floor, and load it to the roof and it’ll take an almost van-like 3,000 litres of luggage.
Taxi passengers will appreciate the doors that slide open, making entry and egress a piece of cake. Once inside they’ll find the rear bench can accommodate three people without too much arm-bashing and their own air vents and USB sockets will keep them cool and connected. There’s endless head and leg room too.
Cab drivers get plenty of equipment to make life more comfortable, with even the entry level Active model getting electric heated mirrors, DAB radio with Bluetooth connectivity, a USB socket, air conditioning, automatic lights and wipers, and a safety pack including lane keeping assist, speed limit recognition automatic emergency braking.
Cab Direct is able to offer taxi operators especially attractive discounts on the mid-level, Allure model. This adds parking sensors, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and voice recognition, amongst other cosmetic goodies. That doesn’t stretch to a classy interior, as it’s just swathes of hard plastic, but it’s neat and tidy enough and will undoubtedly be hard wearing. Peugeot’s i-Cockpit lifts the cabin markedly though, it’s tiny steering wheel and high-level instrument binnacle looking stylish. They take some getting used to, though.
It may not be the most exciting car on UK roads, but it’s just about all the car anybody could ever ask for. And for those that do need more, Cab Direct can supply you with a longer model with seven seats and an even bigger boot – though approval of the third-row seats for taxi fares will very much depend on your local licensing authority.
For more on Cab Direct’s exclusive taxi trade deals call the number at the top of this page or click Peugeot Rifter here to read more or enquire online.
Phil Huff is one of the UK’s most respected motoring journalists, with years of experience test driving new cars and light commercial vehicles for national magazines and newspapers, as well as popular online sites. When not driving other people’s cars, he can be found provoking the ire of Cambridge residents in his old Corvette.
Model Tested: Rifter Allure 1.5 BlueHDi 100 Manual Standard
|Warranty:||3 Year / Unlimited Miles|
|Car Tax:||G: £145|
|Power:||101 PS (100 bhp)|
|Torque:||250 Nm (184 ft lbs)|
|Top speed:||109 mph; 0-62 mph|
12.5 seconds: official
|CO2 emissions:||113 g/km|
|Loadspace:||775 / 3,000 litres|