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Driven: 2023 Peugeot e-Rifter. Image by Peugeot.

Driven: 2023 Peugeot e-Rifter
Even Peugeot reneged on plans to make the Rifter electric-only, so does the e-Rifter make any sense at all?


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2023 Peugeot e-Rifter

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If you were tasked with coming up with a car that's the ideal candidate for electrification, it's unlikely that a van with windows and seats would be top of the list. Yet in the e-Rifter, that's exactly what Peugeot has done. But after Peugeot decided to row back on a scheme to make the Rifter range electric-only, the question of whether the e-Rifter really makes sense is still a burning one.

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2023 Peugeot e-Rifter GT 'Standard'
Price: From £33,270
Motor: 100kW electric motor
Transmission: single-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Battery: 50kWh lithium-ion battery
Power: 136hp
Torque: 260Nm
Emissions: 0g/km
Range: 173 miles
0-62mph: 11.2 seconds
Top speed: 84mph
Boot space: 775-3,000 litres


Spotting the difference between an e-Rifter and a conventional combustion-powered version isn't easy, but Peugeot has left a few helpful clues lying around. There's no exhaust pipe, for a kick-off, and you get 'e' logos kicking around. But other than that, it's standard Rifter stuff, which means the car looks exactly like what it is: a Partner with seats and windows. In standard form, seen here, it looks a bit stubby and upright, whereas the longer version feels a bit overgrown. Neither is what you'd call pretty, but the e-Rifter does have a bit of chunky style about it that makes it easier on the eye than some van-cum-people-carrier alternatives. Still, a family SUV will probably be more visually pleasing...


Although the e-Rifter's cabin is basically the same as that of the Partner van, in that you get the small steering wheel and high-set instrument display, as well as the central touchscreen, it doesn't feel that van-like in terms of materials. Sure, the plastics aren't as tactile as they might be in a 508, but the design is smart enough and the GT model gets bronze-effect trim to lift the mood a little. It's solid, rather than premium, but it feels well suited to family life, and not just because there are storage features everywhere.

It gets a fair amount of tech, too, although that is slightly dependent on the trim level. Allure models 'make do' with an eight-inch touchscreen, but the GT tested here adds a digital instrument cluster. That's a useful improvement that certainly makes the e-Rifter feel more modern, and it works well enough with the steering wheel controls, even if it isn't exactly class-leading. The same goes for the touchscreen, which won't win any prizes for modernity, but it does the job reasonably well.


Practicality is the e-Rifter's raison d'etre, and with its roots in the Partner van, it's no surprise to find the Peugeot delivers on the space front. Not only is there an enormous amount of headroom, but there's plenty of legroom in the back and there's ample storage space, too. It seems every time you look you find a new cubby or compartment you never knew about. And then there's the boot. While long-wheelbase versions of the Rifter are offered with a third row of seats, the five-seat 'Standard' e-Rifter just gets a cavernous luggage bay. A total of 775 litres are available, and that's with all five seats in place. Switch to two-seat configuration and there's a whopping 3,000 litres on offer.


The e-Rifter’s getting old now – indeed, Peugeot has already confirmed a replacement model – and this outgoing car comes with Peugeot’s previous-generation electric powertrain. That means there’s a 50kWh battery and a 136hp electric motor that drives the front wheels. It’s hardly enormous power, and a 0-62mph time of 11.2 seconds is barely adequate, let alone exemplary, but it’s just about enough. Thanks to the immediate punch of the motor, you never feel as though you’re being left behind by other traffic.

The battery is a little small, too, and that means the electric range is mediocre at best. Considering it has the aerodynamic properties of a house brick, the e-Rifter does well to coax 173 miles from a full battery on the official economy test, but you won’t manage that in the real world. Keep most of your miles urban, and you might get 150 miles, though. If you’re just pottering around town, that should be more than enough, but with a motorway range of around 130 miles or so, long journeys are destined to be even longer.

Ride & Handling

Remarkably, despite being a bit heavier, the e-Rifter is better to drive than its combustion-powered stablemates. The steering feels that bit more precise, and the decision to house the batteries under the floor means most of the weight sits lower than in a more conventionally powered Rifter. The result? Reduced body roll in corners. Admittedly, the switch to electric power has not turned the e-Rifter into a rally car overnight, but the e-Rifter is better to drive than its siblings. If not by all that much.

And it rides fairly well, too, despite the weight. Again, it's far from perfect, but it soaks up most bumps without too much trouble, and there's a sense that it's quite composed and relaxed, even when it must be working fairly hard. And on the motorway, or around town, the ride remains similarly mature, perhaps because Peugeot hasn't been too ambitious with its wheel sizes.


Prices for the e-Rifter start at £33,570, which isn’t bad when you consider an E-308 – a significantly less spacious car – costs more than £40,000. Admittedly, the E-308 goes further on a charge, and it’s better equipped as standard. Basic Allure models only get manual air conditioning, for example, but rear parking sensors, an eight-inch touchscreen and a height-adjustable driver’s seat are all thrown in. The GT model we tested ups the amte with automatic climate control, ‘keyless’ entry and a reversing camera, as well as a 10-inch digital instrument display. Tinted windows and 17-inch alloys are thrown in, too.


In many ways, the Rifter is entirely suited to a diesel engine, rather than an electric motor, but if you take range out of the equation — for people who only use the car around town, for example — the e-Rifter is a more convincing product than its combustion-powered siblings. Smooth and surprisingly pleasant to drive, this is the Rifter variant to go for. As long as you can live with the range, that is.

James Fossdyke - 5 Dec 2023    - Peugeot road tests
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2023 Peugeot e-Rifter GT. Image by Peugeot.2023 Peugeot e-Rifter GT. Image by Peugeot.2023 Peugeot e-Rifter GT. Image by Peugeot.2023 Peugeot e-Rifter GT. Image by Peugeot.2023 Peugeot e-Rifter GT. Image by Peugeot.

2023 Peugeot e-Rifter GT. Image by Peugeot.2023 Peugeot e-Rifter GT. Image by Peugeot.2023 Peugeot e-Rifter GT. Image by Peugeot.2023 Peugeot e-Rifter GT. Image by Peugeot.2023 Peugeot e-Rifter GT. Image by Peugeot.


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