Car review: Peugeot 408 Allure
When Peugeot revealed its new 408 last November it used words like ‘mould-breaking’ ‘feline’ and ‘new age’.
While you can often dismiss such claims as corporate speak, in the 408’s case they are true. It really is all of the above and a lot more.
You first notice how long it is - 4.69m - and how wide - 1.85m - but it never feels unwieldy.
The second is that it is a cross between a coupe and an SUV, the raised ride height giving it a dominant stance and the sloping roof and tinted rear windows a sleek profile. Two ‘cat ears’ sit at the edge of the roof guiding the airflow towards the boot lid spoiler.
The front view is similarly impressive with a striking grille. In the middle is the newly designed Peugeot emblem, which is made of indium metal and allows radar to pass through to the concealed equipment necessary for many of the onboard safety systems.
There are three trim levels Allure, Allure Premium and GT. Prices for the 408 start at £31,050 for the Allure 130, reaching £43,200 for the 225 in GT trim.
We drove the middle-ranking Allure Premium with a 221bhp 1.6-litre hybrid turbo petrol engine and an electric motor.
In electric mode the range is a decent-enough 40 miles and, if you have a wall-box charger (as most owners probably do) this can be replenished in one hour 40 minutes. With a domestic three-pin socket, this increases to five hours 30 minutes.
Until the infrastructure improves, plug-in hybrids offer the best of both worlds.
Use electric mode if you have a short commute, plug in each night to replenish and then use the petrol engine for longer trips.
Equipment levels are suitably impressive with a raft of safety and comfort features across all models. All have navigation and a superb reversing camera and our Allure had keyless entry and ignition
The cockpit is typical Peugeot with physical knobs and buttons kept to a minimum. The steering wheel is compact - for that read small - and, once you get used to it, is a pleasure to use and adds to the sporty perception of the drive. Despite its size, it still manages to incorporate many multimedia controls and driving aids. For a £150 premium, you can have it heated.
The 10in touchscreen can be customised in a number of ways to suit the needs of the driver with shortcuts for the most-used controls.
The centre console is angled so the passenger can also operate the navigation and media controls.
It’s often the simple things though that make a car stand out such as the split armrest/centre cubbyhole so the driver doesn’t have to lift their arm up whenever the passenger wants to use the USB or access the storage.
The suspension is a little stiff on the 408 but not uncomfortably so and acceleration to 62mpg is a punchy yet smooth 7.8 seconds. It’s a real pleasure to drive on both urban roads and motorways
Seating is adequate for five, but better with four, with loads of leg and headroom.
Peugeot 408 Allure premium hybrid
Price: £42,225 (£43,490 as tested)
Engine: 1.6-litre turbo
Transmission: eight-speed automatic
Top speed: 124mph
0-62mph: 7.8 seconds
CO 2 emissions:26g/km
EV range: 40 miles