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Long-term review

Peugeot 408 - long-term review

£34,825 / as tested £36,625 / PCM £458
Published: 03 Apr 2024
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SPEC HIGHLIGHTS

  • SPEC

    PEUGEOT 408 GT 1.2 Puretech

  • ENGINE

    1199cc

  • BHP

    128.7bhp

We say goodbye to the 408 just as Peugeot drops this powertrain

I've often said I thought the 408 is a bit over-designed. The bodywork has more creases than the MCC, more features than an Odeon multiplex. But broadly the shape is handsome. I've just driven the 408 to Paris to see the studio where it was designed. It's an unusual building, with a flat roof onto which they can wheel prototypes and look at them in daylight.

You might think this would be catnip for scoop photographers' drones. But it's right next to a military airfield and clearly any snooper would obviously be shot down forthwith. I can't yet tell you what I saw there either, save to say Peugeot's head of design Matthias Hossan is a real talent.

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Another waypoint on that French trip was the AGM of Car of the Year jurors, and to drive the seven shortlisted for the trophy. One was the Peugeot 3008/E-3008, on the all-new Stellantis platform. So much for progress: I'm afraid I preferred the driving dynamics of the 408 that I arrived in. It might be older but it's lighter and more fleet-footed. So among this year's contenders I put the Renault Scenic (which won) and BMW 5 Series/i5 (second) higher up my ballot.

I filled up the 408 just before the Tunnel, and did the whole French trip of 427 miles in a tank, though it kept bonging 'low fuel' as I crossed the Pas de Calais homebound. So that was a measured (not trip computed – they lie) 40.3mpg. The first time I've actually broken the big four-oh with it.

Mostly it hovers around 35-38mpg. For a biggish petrol car vigorously driven that's not bad. The powertrain's downside is its jerkiness in sticky urban traffic. I've whinged about that at length in previous reports so won't again here.

Ironically, this version of the 408 goes obsolete in a few weeks. The engine/box will be replaced by a revised 1.2-litre, mated to a 48V mild-hybrid bolted to a six-speed autobox. It won't improve motorway economy (hybrids never do in steady-speed running) but it should save fuel in town, and make traffic running smoother too. I've tried it in other new Stellantis cars and it mostly does.

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So this 408 wasn't great for the first or last 20 minutes of every journey I do, because I live in a city centre. But the rest of the time I've really been enjoying it. I love the way it goes down twisty, difficult roads. I love the driving position, because a low steering wheel is what I always adjust for. In a Peugeot I can see the dials over the wheel rim, whereas in most cars I have to have the wheel higher than I want so I can see the clocks under the rim. The seats are the shape of my bod. There's loads of room in the back and boot so I get no family complaints. And the infotainment and controls, including the innovate configurable shortcut 'i-Toggles', make sense to me.

Plus the screen blacked out just once in the whole half-year, and quickly reset itself without my having to stop. This is a far more consistent performance than most screens today. And nothing else went wrong. Filling the washer bottle was the sole maintenance task. Goodbye and well done.

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