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Long-term review

Peugeot 408 - long-term review

£34,825 / as tested £36,625 / PCM £458
Published: 06 Feb 2024
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SPEC HIGHLIGHTS

  • SPEC

    PEUGEOT 408 GT 1.2 Puretech

  • ENGINE

    1199cc

  • BHP

    128.7bhp

What category does the Peugeot 408 belong to?

These days most cars come with a linked phone app. They're usually a bit, er, crapp. It tends to be a near-insurmountable faff to get the car to link to your phone. Besides, the benefits are marginal.

In most, you can check the car is locked and sometimes actually lock or unlock. You can parp the horn remotely if you've lost it in a car park. Perhaps remotely read fuel tank level and mileage. And sometimes send a destination to the car from your phone that you copy-pasted off a website or email or text, which is quicker than prodding the dash satnav when you want to be driving away. But all in, some way short of life-changing.

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I'm not sure the Peugeot's app can do even those things. Despite my road-testerly compulsion to try it out I haven't managed. I went through the complicated rigmarole of setting up an online account and entering the VIN number and setting a password and stating my inside leg and blah blah, but it didn't work. Kept telling me to try again later.

I asked Peugeot, and it turns out trying again later would have been a waste of time. The car doesn't actually belong to me, so – understandably – the system is set up to prevent unattached users unlocking cars from their phones. Why didn't the app tell me I was ineligible, rather than just sending me into a 'try again' loop. Which I stupidly entered, ignoring Einstein's definition of insanity: doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. I suppose I was hoping for a Robert the Bruce outcome: if at first you don't succeed, try try try again.

(There is one solid exception to the rule that you needn't bother with connected apps. When the car is electric, you really should. If you're public charging you can know when the battery's full, and also check that the charge is still proceeding properly. It's not unknown on a DC charger for some scamp to hit the charge post's stop button.)

During the past four months of using the 408, I've pretty much stopped wondering what category of car its bodywork belongs to. Whether it's a crossover or a hatch doesn't matter, as long as it doesn't drive like an ungainly tall car. It doesn't. The other day we came out of the front door and my child said, 'Dad there are two Peugeots'. A keen and understandable observation, but wrong. Someone had parked a Cupra Formentor next to the 408, and the two have pretty much identical silhouettes. Yet one's hyped as a coupe-crossover, the other as a tall hatch.

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The Citroen C5 X is a similar idea, though with an agreeably squishy emphasis on comfort. There aren't many more. Oddly, the 408 reminds me of a BMW 3 Series GT that I once ran. Not a good omen for Peugeot, as BMW (and its customers) gave up on that after a single generation.

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