Make and model: Peugeot 408
Description: Medium five-door liftback
Price range: £31,225 – £43,450 (plus options)
Peugeot says: “It combines the characteristic codes of SUVs with a dynamic fastback silhouette.”
We say: The 408 merges the best bits of an estate and an SUV into a funky silhouette that oozes curb appeal and practicality.
The Peugeot 408 is in a two-car race with its cousin the Citroën C5 X. Both cars entered the market with completely new body styles that sit somewhere between conventional SUVs and sloping coupe-style bodies.
A plug-in hybrid powertrain makes the 408 an attractive choice for company car buyers and Peugeot has confirmed an all-electric version will follow soon. In the Peugeot model range the 408 sits between the 508 saloon and 3008 crossover.
As of September 2023, media reviews of the Peugeot 408 have earned the car an overall Expert Rating of 69% on The Car Expert’s award-winning Expert Rating Index.
What is the Peugeot 408?
Peugeot described the 408 as a cross between an SUV and a fastback. Essentially it’s a squished SUV with a sweeping rear roofline and large boot opening. The motoring press has dubbed it a ‘liftback’ model which is a hatchback with a sloping roof up to where the boot hinge is.
Its SUV characteristics mean it sits higher off the ground than a saloon car which means it’s a convenient height to get in and out of. There are few direct competitors for the 408 outside of the Citroën C5 X but estates like the Skoda Superb or Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake could be seen as alternatives. If the rear silhouette is the main attraction then consider the likes of the Audi A5 Sportback or BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé.
The 408 has curb appeal in spades. Take a seat inside and the stylistic bodywork is paired with a suitably swish, high-quality interior. Taking a lead from emerging EV design and Peugeot’s new corporate style guide, the 408 feels futuristic and ready to embrace an electric version. Funky metallic paint jobs really help the lines to pop and it’s the type of car you look back at in the car park.
Although the bodystyle is fairly unusual, the higher ride height makes easy to hop in and out of the driver’s seat. The sloping rear roofline is visually interesting from the outside but it does limit visibility out the back.
We like: Eye-catching exterior styling
We don’t like: Limited rear visibility
What do you get for your money?
There are three trim options to choose from: Allure, Allure Premium and GT. Starting from £31,225, entry-level Allure is fairly well equipped with rear parking sensors, a ten-inch touchscreen display and lane-keeping assist.
Allure Premium would be our pick to add adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, front parking sensors, keyless entry and 19-inch alloy wheels. This spec starts from just over £32,000 with a petrol engine or from £41,000 as a plug-in hybrid.
Range-topping GT trim includes a heated steering wheel, powered boot and styling upgrades throughout. Prices start at £35,000 for a petrol engine and rise to £43,500 for a hybrid. All trim levels come with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, DAB radio and USB ports to charge phones.
Although the 408 has standard safety equipment including automatic emergency braking, driver attention warning, intelligent speed adaption and automatic hazard lights under hard braking, it missed out on a full five-star rating from Euro NCAP.
The 408 comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty.
We like: Affordable jumps between trim levels
We don’t like: Four-star safety rating
What’s the Peugeot 408 like inside?
To complement the sporty exterior styling the 408 has a small steering wheel which drivers are supposed to gaze over to see the dashboard. For shorter drivers, this could mean the steering wheel blocks your view so we’d suggest test driving one to make sure the steering wheel doesn’t obstruct the dash. The seat offers good adjustability to tweak the driving position accordingly.
It’s a comfortable space to get acquainted with and the touchscreen has dynamic graphics that are customisable depending on the user. Different profiles allow you to set personal shortcut buttons to things like driver assistance systems, climate control and media screens. The shortcuts make it simple to navigate the system and this configurability dramatically reduces distractions out on the road – as long as they are configured before you set off.
The touchscreen and shortcut panel can smudge easily but a grubby screen is an acceptable trade-off for better accessibility. All versions come with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that connects quickly. The centre console is simple thanks to a small gear selector and a dedicated phone shelf beneath the screen. This leaves the cupholders free for cups and there’s a useful tray to put your keys in too.
We like: Accessible customised media screen
We don’t like: Shortcut buttons get smudged quickly
What’s under the bonnet?
Just like the trim options, the 408 is available with three different engines to choose from. The entry-level petrol engine is a 1.2-litre unit with 131hp and an eight-speed automatic gearbox. All engines only come with an automatic gearbox and there will be an all-electric e-408 coming soon.
The plug-in hybrid comes with a choice of 180hp or 225hp powertrains, with the more powerful option only available with Allure Premium and GT trims. The hybrid 180 has a 150hp petrol engine and an 81kW electric motor, the hybrid 225 gets the same electric motor with a 180hp petrol engine.
The hybrid battery can be charged from a 7kW home wallbox in three and a half hours using the 3.7kW onboard charger or in an hour and 40 minutes using an optional 7.4kWh charger. From a three-pin plug, it can fully charge in five and a half hours.
A manually retractable tow bar is optional on all trim levels and, if specified, comes with a trailer sway mitigation system. The petrol can tow braked trailers up to 1,200kg and the hybrids can handle up to 1,400kg.
What’s the Peugeot 408 like to drive?
On the road the petrol-engined 408 is a little less enthusiastic than its sporty styling would lead you to believe. Put your foot down decisively and the engine can be a bit noisy but for everyday driving this shouldn’t be an issue. The hybrids smooth out power delivery and give a boost of acceleration when called upon.
The petrol engine delivers between 41 to 48 mpg and the hybrids offer between 210 and 270 mpg on the official tests. A plug-in hybrid engine will always return better fuel economy and smoother performance than a standard petrol engine but plugging it in is essential. Installing a wallbox at home or having access to charging at work will make it easier to guarantee impressive fuel economy from hybrid examples.
Although the 408 has firmer suspension than the CX 5, it doesn’t make the ride uncomfortable. It feels well-planted and settled on the road. Around bends lateral grip can be a bit jerky over potholed surfaces but on smooth roads it’s composed and offers very little body roll. Despite the higher driving position, it feels well connected to the road.
Out of the back window, visibility is slightly better than the rear view from the CX 5 but all trim levels come with a reversing camera which makes manoeuvring easier. Long-range blind spot detection is included from Allure Premium upwards and helps with all-round awareness.
We like: Settled ride and minimal body roll
We don’t like: Engine can be a bit noisy
As a company car pick, a new family wagon or a car for around town, the 408 is well worth considering. Hybrid engines make it a no-brainer for short commutes and Allure Premium has a good bundle of tech and safety features so it’s the trim option we’d go for. Unfortunately, the 408 missed out on the top rating from Euro NCAP and was awarded four stars.
Nevertheless, it’s an upmarket offering from Peugeot that has an impressive, accessible media set up inside. Although it might not fit into a traditional body style, it makes perfect sense behind the wheel. It’s a funky alternative to an estate or SUV and is predicted to hold its value reasonably well.
- Standout exterior looks
- Stylish interior
- Generous rear legroom
- PHEV models offer competitive battery range
- No four-wheel drive
- Not much rear headroom
- Citroën C5 X is cheaper
- Boot space is fairly average
If you’re looking at the Peugeot 408, you might also be interested in these alternatives.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio | Audi A5 Sportback | Audi Q5 Sportback | BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé | BMW X4 | Citroën C5 X | DS 7 | Genesis G70 | Genesis GV70 | Jaguar F-Pace | Lexus NX | Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupé | Polestar 2 | Peugeot 508 | Skoda Octavia | Volkswagen Arteon | Volvo V60 | Volvo XC60
Model tested: Peugeot 408 GT
Price as tested: £35,525
Engine: 1.2-litre petrol
Gearbox: Eight-speed automatic
Power: 131 hp
Torque: 230 Nm
Top speed: 130 mph
0-62 mph: 10.4 seconds
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