They call it the Star of the Show and the Peugeot 408 GT PHEV burns brightly
Car Reviewed: Peugeot 408 plug-in hybrid GT
It is the first new model the French company have launched in 13 years and it has been worth the wait for it blends SUV design features with a lovely fastback that makes it immediately striking. This exciting new Peugeot brings a range of features that are sure to make your driving experience safer, more comfortable and more enjoyable.
Likely to be the most popular model is the 1.6-litre GT hybrid in either 180PS or 225PS. The petrol 1.2-litre PureTech will be available through most of the trim levels, Allure, Allure Premium and GT.
The car itself is a wonderful piece of French chic and looks particularly good in the launch colour of Obsession Blue.
In profile, the fastback gives it a smooth, sporty look; from the front, it looks strong and muscular with, in the GT version, the body-coloured vertical accents on the grille. I am sure someone from Peugeot told me there were 130 of these little metal bits, and they must have counted them at some point.
Also worth mentioning on the grille is the new, redesigned Peugeot badge made with a unique metal called Indium. It is the only metal that allows radar waves through to allow the nine radar driver aids to be situated behind it.
This new 408 is more elevated than its little brother, the 308, with better ground clearance and a higher driving position with a lovely rear spoiler above the three claw-like signature red lights, which now have a more modern design.
There is a skid plate at the back and you cannot miss the long sabre tooth light at the front – all just adding to the unique look of the 408.
Inside, it has a premium feel and edges that are smooth to the touch and bags of tech onboard.
The Peugeot–Cockpit has been brought up-to-date with the i-Connect advanced infotainment system on all trim levels and raised digital instrument panel, which is fully customisable.
Indeed customisation is at the very heart of this car. It comes with many features and systems, but Peugeot, knowing that drivers all look for very different things, has created a way of letting each motorist personalise the 408.
The five icons under the infotainment screen can all be changed to which one you use the most – the radio or the heated steering wheel, for example, but wisely the toggles for the heating, air-con and hazard warning lights are all on traditional switches below.
One feature that distinguishes the French from the rest of Europe is how they combine immense practicality with style and flair. It is a gift.
I drove the hybrid GT and the 1.2-litre PureTech petrol and my money is on the GT.
The petrol engine was excellent and has been one of Peugeot’s big success stories, but the silent and powerful hybrid is a real winner. It has a pure electric range of 40 miles for city driving – we will need it for all those ULEZ zones popping up – but the hybrid mode performs very well, and in sport, it really is a great car to drive.
As well as the nine radar on this car, there are also six cameras making it safe and secure for both the occupants and those outside the vehicle.
The Peugeot 408 is a from a new breed, but one that is very welcome and a great harbinger of things to come.
Maggie Barry is an Award winning journalist, she regularly travels in Europe and beyond to test drive cars. A former lecturer in journalism and motoring editor of Media Scotland she has written for and contributed to the Daily Record and Sunday Mail among others. She is on the panel judging the Scottish Car of the Year and Women’s World Car of the Year. She lives near Glasgow with her husband and several cars.