Like swapping a thong for elasticated shorts, I have traded the compact chic of Vauxhall’s Mokka-e for a large roadgoing brick. Let’s kick off with full disclosure. They’re not going to shout this in the brochure, but Peugeot’s new and now solely electric Rifter range (this being the director’s cut seven-seater) owes its origins to Peugeot’s Partner van. My local postman is in a full-time relationship with his Partner, and seems to love it because those huge sliding doors are good for waking up the postcode. We’re not talking full Transit dimensionally, but the e-Rifter is certainly a generous medium and the inside, were you suddenly exiled there, would be liveable for two.
We have months ahead to explore the menu of seat back flip-out shelves, overhead storage, removable six and seventh seats and pockets deeper than Mrs Sunak’s trousers. But what’s most interesting for chapter one is the fact that this electric model even exists. Because, as you’ll know, as yet there are too few real-world, proper family electrics out there. Sure, if you have a budget of £80,000 and your children insist on gull-wing school drops or antennae door mirrors, Waitrose options abound, but with a very Aldi price of £34,910 for this longer model, we are talking nearly £15,000 cheaper than Peugeot’s Traveller, which is an EV option that reflects where most of the money currently hovers in the EV MPV stakes.
By and large, credible EV transport needs more real-world pricing if this crucial sector is going to conquer all the parents out there who are mostly planning on going electric not now, but once their next new wheels expire. Could the e-Rifter be their car for right here, right now?
Hence the crucial question of whether they will like it, but don’t ask me. Nope, cars like this are all about what the family think. So, to spare you any drumrolling… they love it. My preteen kids need me to drive them, with no notice, to whatever whim their WhatsApp mates dictate. If you’re a parent on a zero hours contract (newsflash: we all are), you want a car that numbs the grind of such shift-work. Well, e-Rifter ticks this box: it’s smooth, utterly un-van-like, whisper quiet and, despite so-so stats, rather fun to zoom off in, even if the line ahead isn’t straight. I’d tell you more, but at this point the far more important preteen feedback is this: because the cabin, given that far-flung third row of seats, is so vast, you can escape dad chat en route, stick on the headphones and enjoy some undeserved relaxation.
I inherited this model, in a flattering hue of gendarme blue, with no manual; Peugeot doesn’t provide paper handbooks anymore, it’s all downloadable via an online PDF. I am gradually finding my way into its technological crevices. As yet, my iPhone won’t transpose Apple CarPlay; Spotify comes up with no graphics and the navigation system doesn’t exist. You’re supposed to rely on your mobile’s resources, via Bluetooth, for that, but the dashboard seems to dislike my phone beyond permitting voice calls.
Further crucial footnotes include a shout out on range. I’ve come down from 203 miles in my last EV to an official 166 here. I’ve yet to test this in anger, but early signs are positive: the batts don’t seem batty when battered on short m-way runs. And best experience so far. Despite the v word in its DNA, I’m loving it. Some of my best driving memories for our magazine were behind the wheel of Peugeot’s 5008. Given the i-Cockpit is transplanted into the e-Rifter, they’ve come flooding back. The tea plate steering wheel is a joy; the experience ahead looks gripping.
Date arrived 4th May 2022
CO2 emissions 0g/km Range 166 miles