So what exactly is the 408? In essence, it’s effectively Peugeot’s version of the Citroën C5 X, a car that aims to combine coupé looks with plenty of practicality and a smattering of SUV style. Not only do they share a similar fastback profile (I’m pretty sure we used to call this type of design a hatchback), it’s underpinned by the same EMP2 V3 architecture and offers an almost identical line-up of powertrains, including the petrol-electric plug-in hybrid (PHEV) tested here and a forthcoming all-electric version.
That said, while the two are closely related, there’s no doubt that Peugeot’s stylists have done a fine job of giving the 408 distinctive visual appeal. Bold surfacing, particularly the sculpted rear wheel arches and bold LED lighting signatures, help the 408 stand out, while it being a little shorter than the C5 X gives it a tauter and more muscular stance. Neat details include the retro-inspired script for the badging and the eye-catching asymmetric design used on the optional 20in alloy wheels. Even quirkier are the ‘cat’s ears’ at the top of each C-pillar, which are said to improve airflow as well as hide the extra metal needed to balance head room against the desired coupé aesthetic.
As ever, i-Cockpit remains a bone of contention, with many drivers finding that the top of the small steering wheel impedes their view of the instrument cluster, which is a shame, because the 3D-effect display looks pretty cool.
More successful is the new 10.0in infotainment touchscreen, which has already been seen on the Peugeot 308. Not only does it look slick and respond fairly crisply to your inputs, but also its strip of large touch-sensitive hot keys for the various menus make it simpler than most to use while you’re driving.
For most people most of the time, it will be a comfortable, hassle-free and stylish companion. It’s also remarkably spacious, well equipped and well built – plus we have to give thanks that it’s not just another SUV. Whether it’s worth more than £2000 over an equivalent C5 X is up for debate, but there’s no denying that for fleet users, this Peugeot’s numbers do add up – even if the ones on its bootlid don’t quite.
Full details and more photos at the link….