Peugeot Rifter

Peugeot’s new Rifter leisure activity vehicle combines the sportiness of a SUV with the practicality of a people carrier.

It comes with an automatic 8-speed gearbox and driving features such as Advanced Grip Control, which is designed to optimise traction in low-grip conditions. There are also five driving modes (Standard, Snow, Mud, Sand and ESP Off) so you can optimise handling for any road conditions.

As is expected these days, the dashboard is crammed with technology. For instance, there is an 8” colour touchscreen, from which you can access numerous features including DAB radio and 3D satellite navigation with TomTom live updates. You can also mirror a compatible smartphone screen with it. Again, for smartphones that are compatible, there is a charging plate.

Another neat feature is Peugeot’s Visio Park 1, a 180° colour reversing camera linked to the touchscreen. This means you have a full view of where you are reversing so you’ll not have to crane your neck to try to see where you’re going.

The Rifter also has a range of modular features, such as sliding doors and an opening rear tailgate window. It has two lengths – standard and long – and can be fitted with five or seven seats. There are three individual folding rear seats with Magic Flat function. The storage capacity in the boot space totals 3,500 litres with extra space on the roof – so it is practical as well as fun.

DS 7 Crossback

The DS 7 Crossback enters an increasingly congested compact premium crossover market.

Outside, its sleek lines give the Crossback a modern look. Inside, the cockpit has been designed to have all the controls within easy reach.

One thing that marks the Crossback out from the competition is its Night Vision function. As the name suggests, it helps you to see better when driving at night. It uses an infrared camera placed in the grille to detect pedestrians and animals in the road up to 100 metres in front of the vehicle. In the digital instrument display drivers see the road ahead, and any potential hazards are highlighted in yellow, changing to red as they get closer. An audible alert can sound depending on how close they are.
Another clever safety feature is DS Driver Attention Monitoring, which detects when the driver’s concentration is depleting. Infrared cameras sited above the steering wheel and at the top of the windscreen monitor three signs of distraction or drowsiness: movements of the eyes, eyelids and neck.

The DS 7 Crossback succeeds as a premium choice, combining comfort, drivability and innovative safety features.

Smart ForFour

Smart has updated its established ForFour. It retains the four-seat, rear-engine, rear-drive configuration and its USPs – a small turning circle (just 8.65 metres) and despite its compact dimensions (3.49 metres), the interior space isn’t compromised. There isn’t too much legroom if the front seats are pushed back some way and the boot isn’t huge – but then nobody buys a Smart car for the boot space. That said, the rear seats can be folded flat to boost load space.

The ForFour comes with a 5-speed manual gearbox as standard, but there is an option to have the Twinamic 6-speed dual-clutch automatic.

The rear doors also open to 85°, which is welcome if you are transferring from a wheelchair, for example. Once inside, standard features include: climate control, Bluetooth, crosswind assist and tyre pressure monitoring system. There is also a range of optional extras, such as rear parking assistance sensors, 7” capacitive multi-touch display and 3D navigation system to consider.

The Smart ForFour works best as a city car but is perfectly happy on motorways and over longer distances. It is also fuel efficient; its three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine, can do an average of 67.3mpg, according to Smart.