Peugeot has launched a new car onto the Irish market this week with the arrival of the 408 model, which sets its sights on becoming a large and more prestigious model within what is called the C segment of the car market. The cars in the C segment are considered medium sized family cars and include the Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla and Volkswagen Golf, so it’s a competitive sector that also includes top-selling models from Hyundai and Kia.
What’s a little more distinctive about the new 408 is its size. This car seems bigger than most of the C segment competition because of the fastback silhouette image that’s created by the new design.
It’s also spacious because it’s built around a long wheelbase that delivers good rear legroom. The design also allows for a spacious boot, that’s surely one of the best in the class.
Peugeot is offering three engine options at this entry stage, starting with a 1.2 litre PureTech 3-cylinder petrol only version, along with two petrol plug-in hybrid options. All engine options are matched to a very smooth 8-speed automatic gearbox. In a first for Peugeot there is no diesel version available, and a 100% electric model will be introduced at a later date.
I’ve had the entry level engine version on the road for a first drive this week and its impressive. The car certainly feels bigger than most of the competition and it drives very well combining great comfort with easy road holding. This combination gives a drive that’s easy and relaxing and that was across a range of very variable road conditions that included a minimum of motorway driving.
That 8-speed gearbox also helps this neat engine to deliver impressive economy and I found that the rated economy figure of 5.9l/100km or 16.9km/litre was close to achievable. The engine is a turbo-petrol design so it’s lower in torque output than diesel cars, so careful use of the accelerator pedal will ensure economy dividends.
On the inside the car comes with the latest generation Peugeot i-cockpit dash design, which is now synonymous with the French brand. With the new 408 Peugeot claims that this sets new standards in terms of ergonomics, quality, practicality and technology with a new infotainment system, called the PEUGEOT i-Connect.
There is a new digital cluster which incorporates a 10-inch digital screen located above the compact steering wheel, that you quickly get used to. You need to give time to seat positioning and steering wheel adjustment to get this right. And it’s worth spending that time.
The more central 10-inch touchscreen is slightly lower than the digital cluster located directly in front of the driver. The system uses i-toggles which are arranged below the central screen like an open book. Each i-toggle is a touch-sensitive shortcut to climate settings, a phone contact, a radio station or application set to the user’s preference.
This new Peugeot 408 comes with Peugeot claims are the latest generation driving assistance systems, fed by information gathered by up to 6 cameras and 9 radars, depending on the model chosen. These claim to make driving, manoeuvring, and travelling safer and smoother. Despite these, the new Peugeot 408 comes with a four start Euro NCAP crash test rating.
The boot space impresses too starting from 536 litres and extending to 1611 litres. That’s well ahead of the competition including the new Citroen C5X.
Entry prices for the new Peugeot 408 start at €39,995, which Peugeot claims is competitive. While it is priced more competitively than the related Citroen CX5, it is still more expensive than the volume C segment cars such as the Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla, and Volkswagen Golf.
This new Peugeot 408 offers something different, a little more style, comfort, and distinctiveness with a lot more space. This is car that was very pleasant to drive, responsive in terms of engine performance and handling, a distinctive car and one of the better ones.
|Peugeot 408 – specifications
|1.2 litre turbo petrol
|0 – 100km/hr
|5.9l/100km or 16.9km/litre
|Road Tax Annual
|12 months or 12,500km
|Euro NCAP Rating
|4 Star (2022)
|5 years or 100,000km