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Long-term review

Peugeot 408 - long-term review

£34,825 / as tested £36,625 / PCM £458
Published: 05 Mar 2024
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SPEC HIGHLIGHTS

  • SPEC

    PEUGEOT 408 GT 1.2 Puretech

  • ENGINE

    1199cc

  • BHP

    128.7bhp

TG's long-term Peugeot 408 has been vandalised

Like when the new-car smell has gone. You just slightly care a bit less. Like after the first argument in a relationship. You can get it back… but not all the way back. When a car gets damaged for the first time, your attachment glistens ever-so slightly less.

The 408 has been vandalised. A deep and deliberate key-scratch was wrenched across both doors on the passenger side when parked in a quiet street in Oxford one night. My street in London is slightly more grimy and crimey than that one and yet I haven't had a car vandalised at home for 15 years. So this was a bit of a shock.

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Since then, the torch I carry for the 408 has just slightly dimmed. I've been feeling rather less keen than usual to keep it washed, or to look back at it as I walk away. And while the loss of the new-car smell means a gradual erosion of ardour, this was a sudden discontinuity.

This car has very busy external surfaces and an abundance of creases. Some places – wheel-arches, sills and bumpers – almost seem pre-dented out of the factory. Yet even that's not enough to lead the eye away from the scratches. They show up horribly on its sheer flanks. It's an insurance job. Too deep for T-cut. Although to make myself feel better I did magic the wounds away by retouching one or two of these photos with the heal brush cursor.

Anyway, after a few weeks I did get it washed again. That was at a place called Roni's Hand Car Wash in Milton Keynes, where I was doing another job. It's not entirely by hand – a corridor of fancy soft mechanised brushes do part of the foamy bit – but the hand part was very attentive and much better value than in the capital. And no I hadn't played the "I'm from Top Gear, can I review your carwash?" card.

Driving up the M1 to Milton Keynes there are roadworks, and with them, like all the arterials into and out of London, average speed cameras. Here's a clever little thing I discovered after driving the 408 for a few months. The factory sat nav, rather than phone mirroring, knows which roads have those cameras, and it calculates and displays your average since the start of the zone.

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It's not foolproof though, because most zones consist of several sub-sections and so you might still get a legal start-to-finish average but an illegal one in a given sub-section. So overall I find the adaptive cruise control the best way to keep yourself out of a speed awareness course. Well, not quite the best way. That'll be simply concentrating on the task in hand. Driving.

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