MPV? SUV? MUV? EV? And now Peugeot’s new LAV
McCann attempts to make sense of all the ‘algebra’
Car makers love weird and wonderful terms to describe their vehicles, don’t they? We’ve all heard of SUVs MPVs, MUVs, EVs, Crossovers… For instance, MPV means ‘multi-purpose-vehicle’ and is often regarded as a ‘football mum’ car – practical but boxy, high-roofed and utterly devoid of any style… other than the yummy mummy behind the wheel, perhaps.
Next comes the SUV or ‘sports utility vehicle’ - a combo of car and truck, often with off-road looks but generally driven around town rather than muddy fields. While undoubtedly popular for their rugged style, an SUV usually has a powerful motor under the bonnet so fuel efficiency is not a strength.
Peugeot’s new RIFTER sets out to combine the practicality of an MPV with the style of an SUV in something called an LAV - Leisure Activity Vehicle.
Do they pull it off?
Rifter – a replacement for the outgoing Tepee – certainly has a beefy appearance and because Citroen, Peugeot and Vauxhall are now one big happy family, the Rifter shares its platform with the Citroën Berlingo and Vauxhall Combo Life, so it scores immediately over an MPV in that it was designed from the ground up as a car, not a van!
But Rifter doesn’t lose the Tepee’s immense practicality in areas such as its sliding rear doors, three individual and easily folding back seats, flat boot floor and large rear tailgate.
The Rifter is well equipped when compared to rivals. Active, Allure and GT Line trims are available. All Rifters come with a DAB radio and Bluetooth. Mid-spec Allure looks to be the version most people will go for, with an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus air conditioning and rear parking sensors. The GT version adds some sporty cosmetics, sat-nav and bigger wheels.
Rifter has many active safety systems, including adaptive cruise control, traction control, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and a tyre pressure monitor. Oddly, an alarm is extra.
The Rifter shares its engine range with the Citroën Berlingo and Vauxhall Combo Life, and it starts with a 109bhp 1.2-litre Puretech petrol engine. There are also three 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesel options and all engines come as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox, plus the most powerful diesel is also available with a new eight-speed automatic unit.
Overall refinement is impressive, with a comfortable ride and little road noise echoing around the spacious, lofty interior. I took my mother out for a ride and she really liked the high-set and commanding seating position. When I told my friend I was seeing mum he asked ‘As a young boy was your mother good to you?’ I was confused. ‘My mother was never a young boy…’
The funky dashboard has clear instruments and quality is better than in the old Tepee; but durability rather than luxury is what’s offered here.
Presumably, if you’re thinking of buying a car of this type, you’re looking for space. And with its tall roofline, Rifter has lots of space up front, even allowing for the aeroplane-style overhead stowage space. In the back are three individual seats, and leg room is good enough for a six-footer to sit behind another. Sliding rear doors for those in the back make jumping out easier when in narrow parking spaces.
The Rifter's boot is, quite simply, massive. I’ve seen smaller flats than this! There’s also a clever option to open up only the rear screen, enabling you to access the boot without opening the tailgate.
The Rifter is slightly more expensive than its siblings, the Citroën Berlingo and Vauxhall Combo Life, but it still massively undercuts mainstream MPVs such as the Volkswagen Touran.
Insurance costs should be low, too, and the Rifter should return economical mpg figures for most drivers. Prices start at £18,755 and I’ve seen lease deals of around £215 pm over four years.
I took the Rifter to that new Egyptian shop to buy a glyphic. ‘Sorry,’ said the owner, ‘you can only hire a glyphic.’
Now I’m using it to drive to the Health Centre. The doctor says I’m a hypochondriac. I’m not surprised; I’ve had everything else.