Before the new Peugeot Rifter van has even hit the road, it's going overlanding into the great unknown. Peugeot, reigning Dakar king that it is, has built up one of the meanest competitive off-roaders out there, and now it's designed a 4WD camper van for the everyday off-road adventurer. Debuting right alongside the new Rifter van, the Rifter 4x4 Concept is a compact, off-road-ready multi-adventure tourer with 4x4, off-road LEDs, a fold-out roof-top tent and more.
Groupe PSA sure knows how to dazzle show goers with camper van concepts. A few months ago it was the slick, surfy Citroën SpaceTourer Rip Curl, and now it's Peugeot's turn to show how a humble passenger van can become a mobile base camp.
Peugeot's new concept camper is based on the all-new Rifter, which will also make its world premiere in Geneva (more on that in a moment). The key upgrade from standard Rifter to 4x4 Concept is of course the 4x4 system, provided by the good folks at Dangel. The system has 2WD (front), 4WD and 4WD with rear axle lock modes. A BlueHDI 130 engine and six-speed manual help distribute power.
The 4x4 Concept also has BFGoodrich all-terrain tires and 3 in (80 mm) of added ground clearance. The roof wears a 100-LED light bar up front and carries an Autohome Overland fold-out tent farther back, perfect for weekend camping trips or multi-day off-road expeditions.
Styling-wise, the 4x4 Concept is designed to be seen, whether rolling to camp through the pitch-black wilderness or posing at the Geneva Motor Show in an effort to pull attention toward the new Rifter. Its spangled grey paint is highlighted by bright anodized yellow satin and black accents. There's also a diagonal striping design over the rear wheels, spilling over onto the rear windshield. Both the vehicle interior and roof-top tent are styled to match.
The 4x4 Concept has one more surprise for modern-day explorers ... a Peugeot eM02 FS PowerTube electric mountain bike mounted on a rear rack. The full-suspension e-bike makes for a sleeker, more modern answer to the adventure motorcycle or dirt bike on the back of an off-road motorhome (see the Unicat MD77h).
When 4x4 tracks slim down to snaking singletrack, the eM02 keeps the adventure going. A member of the new generation of low-profile electric bikes, it takes advantage of Bosch's new PowerTube frame-integrated battery. Peugeot calls the bike the precursor of the next-generation of Lion eBikes, so we suspect the production eM02 will be running with a frame-integrated battery in the future.
And, of course, the e-bike is painted into the color scheme of Peugeot's greater adventure vehicle vision.
The 4x4 Concept will be the flashiest Rifter on display at Geneva, but it won't be the most important. The Rifter itself will make its entrance at the show, debuting as the spiritual successor to the Partner Tepee. The new name is designed to evoke the spirit of the outdoor world, giving the van a mystique of capability and adventure.
Peugeot looked to the SUV world for inspiration, adding a higher ride height, wheel arch, sill and rear bumper protection, and large wheels. The Rifter looks the part, too. As compared to the Partner Tepee, it has a sturdier front end, straighter, more defined lines and angles throughout, and more definition down low.
They even rolled out 2016/2017 Dakar winner Stéphane Peterhansel to give the new van some extra credibility.
"My daily life is an endless exploration of what nature and cities have to offer: skiing, mountain biking, hiking, skateboarding, jet skiing, car/motorcycle racing ... and I was lucky enough to try the all-new Peugeot Rifter," Peterhansel says. "Its dynamic capabilities, precise driving experience and agility impressed me. I can tell you that it was designed to support me in all circumstances."
Peugeot Sport announced that 2018 would be its last Dakar, so we're not sure Peterhansel will be whiling away his weekends Riftering over dirt and gravel too much longer.
The Rifter has a versatile interior, with both five- and seven-seat configurations available. The trunk area offers up to 4,000 liters of floor-to-ceiling storage. Two sliding doors make rear access easy, and the rear seats fold individually and include Magic Flat capability. Peugeot's i-Cockpit with 8-in infotainment touchscreen and head-up display dials the driver in up front.
The Rifter will come with a variety of gas and diesel engine options, including the 1.5-liter BlueHDI 130 S&S and the 1.2-liter PureTech 110 S&S. Transmissions will run the spectrum from a five-speed manual to an eight-speed auto. Dangel 4WD is more than just concept jewelry, and a joint-developed system will be available as an option.
Peugeot will also offer Advanced Grip Control, mud & snow tires, and Hill Assist Descent Control. Driver-assistance features like adaptive cruise control, active lane departure warning and active safety brake will also be available.
The Rifter will go on sale worldwide in September and will be offered in 4.4- and 4.75-m (173- and 187-in) lengths. If you're wondering what a quirkier Citroën version might look like, you're in luck – Citroën revealed the all-new Berlingo, complete with Cactus-inspired bubble styling, last week. That van will also be debuting in Geneva, and you can have a look at it next to the Rifter and Rifter 4x4 Concept in our gallery.
We know the Rifter and Berlingo are the lasting story here, but we're really most excited about the 4x4 Concept, thanks in large part to this video clip.
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