It may look like a van with windows but the new Peugeot Rifter will always a hold a special place in my heart as it was while driving it I told Isabelle she will be having a brother or a sister.
The make-up of this column will change forever come September as our ‘daddy-daughter days’ will expand and become even more adventurous and no-doubt calamitous.
But what about the Rifter?
While it is not the most appealing vehicle on the eye it certainly nails its brief of being as practical as possible. For example, how many vehicles can you think of that would comfortably take four men on a golfing holiday along with their bags, carts and wet weather gear?
With sliding doors and seven seats – which you can move forward to make a giant boot space – the MPV was the perfect vehicle for a lads outing to Celtic Manor Golf Resort. If my golf game had been as good as the Rifter was that weekend then I’d have easily broken 100 on the longest, wettest and windiest course I have ever played at.
Yet, despite the Welsh weather, playing the course made famous by the Ryder Cup was an incredible experience and great fun. And likewise, if you judge the Rifter by the same standards then it too is an awesome vehicle. That’s because both have met their brief. The 2010 golf course was purpose built for the world’s best 24 players and the Peugeot has been purpose built for being as practical as possible.
There is a lot to love about the Rifter. It has very little front overhang, which is good as parking it can be a challenge in tight spaces, and inside the cockpit is well designed, even if the steering wheel is ridiculous small.
The cabin itself is ridiculously huge. There are cubbyholes everywhere. There’s a big top-loading box in the dashboard and even a locker that drops down, aircraft-style, from the roof above the boot.
I am not going to pretend it’s the most agile car I have ever driven but driven sensibly it holds the road well and the 128bhp diesel engine offers plenty of grunt, taking it from 0-60mph in just over 10 seconds.
As a family car I can see the Rifter working incredibly. I used it a lot with Isabelle during the week and for a daddy-daughter day took her to my local driving range in the hope she will soon become a better golfer than me. She loved the feel of being in such a big vehicle and was absolutely fascinated by the large sliding doors.
As our family grows I can imagine lots of scenarios where I will find myself wishing there was a Rifter on my driveway. By flipping the back two seats forward I could get a couple of children’s bikes in the back, and if I was to leave them down we could go off on a big family holiday – grandparents included if I was brave enough – without having to have the bags on our knees.
Peugeot hit the nail on the head when they describe the Rifter as a ‘leisure activity vehicle with a distinctive style’. Whether the style is your cup of tea is down to personal choice, but at just over £20,000 it certainly ticks all the boxes required of a leisure activity vehicle.