And we'd love to see it come to America.
It's taken us some time, but we've come to terms with the fact that Peugeot won't return to the United States. It may not sound like such a big deal, but the Paris-based brand has been turning out some head-turners of late; the 508 Sport Engineered is a real stunner. But we found ourselves pining for the French automaker's offerings yet again when it teased an exciting new model called the 408.
Initially described as a "new species" of Peugeot, we were quite perplexed as to what form the 408 would arrive in since models with a single '0' in the middle are typically sedans or hatches and double-0 derivatives are crossovers. It turns out our guess was on the money. The newcomer is a fashionable crossover coupe, styled to take on the Renault Arkana and, to an extent, the Toyota C-HR. It certainly looks promising, with its extensive range of efficient powertrains and upmarket interior.
But, before we get into the finer details, let's take a closer look at the eccentric design.
Peugeot is no stranger to building elegant vehicles and the 408 is no different. The traditional fang-shaped headlights appear as if they're flowing into the intricately designed grille, lending plenty of dramatic flair. The rear is equally appealing, uplifted by the three-claw LED taillights and prominent bumper. Is it just us seeing the faint resemblance to Lamborghini Urus?
The side profile is particularly striking. It's a shame that Peugeot elected to go the crossover route, as the 408 would have made a handsome fastback sedan. The black plastic cladding detracts from the clean lines but, then again, this is what modern-day consumers desire. Seen here are the geometric 20-inch wheels that are exclusive to the GT Hybrid models. They may not be to everyone's taste but, in typical French fashion, they are distinctive.
Aside from the newly launched Obsession Blue seen here, the 408 will be made available in five additional shades.
The most interesting powertrains are the two plug-in hybrid options. A lesser Hybrid 180 e-EAT8 makes use of a 147 horsepower engine, with the more powerful 225 derivative receiving a more muscular 177 hp. It may not sound like much, but both receive further assistance from a 109-hp electric motor. Power is sent to the wheels via an eight-speed auto 'box. A less powerful 1.2-liter three-cylinder will also be made available.
While it's a bit down on power for American tastes, the 408 cannot be faulted for its gorgeous interior. The angular cabin is both modern and inviting and filled with visual and tactile delights. As part of the i-Cockpit, the 408 receives the quirky compact steering wheel that, says Peugeot, "increases driving pleasure by enhancing the sense of agility and providing precision of movement." Based on our experience, it takes a while to get used to.
Sited just behind the tiny tiller are the digital dials. Upgrading to the GT trim nets you Peugeot's 3D technology. Naturally, it's customizable and has several display modes for the driver to choose from. The 10-inch touchscreen (which is angled towards the driver) is positioned lower than usual for ease of use. As you'd expect, the 408 is stuffed full of the latest driver assists, including adaptive cruise control and night vision.
But still and technological gimmicks can only get you so far. As a European family car, it needs to provide ample occupant space. Peugeot says the 408 is its most commodious offering for rear-seat passengers, with 7,4 inches of knee room at their disposal. The trunk and cargo area are capacious; 56.9 cu ft of luggage space is impressive.
The new French crossover will hit European showrooms in 2023, and will be followed by a fully electric e-408. While it won't come stateside, there is the potential for this to form the basis of another Stellantis product that could, as Chrysler, Dodge, or Fiat could leverage badge engineering for a new model.