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The new Peugeot 408 is neither a sedan nor an SUV

  • Sleek fastback shape
  • Gasoline and hybrid powertrains – electric model coming soon
  • On sale end of 2022

The new Peugeot 408 answers a question that many car buyers have, according to the manufacturer. The question is whether to buy an SUV, hatchback or sedan, so Peugeot offers consumers all three bodies in one vehicle.

This all-new model sits between the 3008 SUV and the 508 hatchback in the French marque’s range and combines a swoopy sedan-like silhouette with the high suspension of an SUV and a hatchback hatch. The Peugeot 408 will offer a mix of petrol and plug-in hybrid powertrains, with an all-electric model set to debut in 2023.

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Pricing for the new car has yet to be revealed, but we expect it to start at around £30,000 when it goes on sale this winter. Due to arrive in showrooms in early 2023, the 408 is very similar in concept to the Citroën C4, which also belongs to the parent brand, Stellantis. Other rivals in this niche segment include the Renault Arkana and the more premium DS 4.

Peugeot 408 fastback 2022: design and exterior

While the Peugeot 408 seems like an odd concept on paper, the French marque’s designers have done wonders to create a sleek and cohesive design. Like all current Peugeot models, the front of the car is recognizable by its fang-shaped daytime running lights, a nod to the lion present on the brand’s emblem. All things considered, the 408 looks a lot like its little brother 308 in this regard.

However, more drastic changes can be seen in the profile, as the unique shape of the 408 becomes apparent. The 408’s wheel arches are reinforced with plastic body cladding to give it a sturdier appearance, and the rear features a steeply raked tailgate window. This sedan is flanked by LED taillights designed to symbolize a lion’s claw.

Measuring just under 4.7m in length, the 408 is slightly shorter than the 408 saloon, but is over 3cm longer than the 308 on which it is based. Despite its raised ride height, it’s less than 1.5m tall, which should be a plus for aero efficiency.

Interior and technology

Peugeot has created some of the most striking interiors of recent years, and the new 408 appears to continue that trend. Its cabin features the marque’s i-Cockpit digital instrument cluster, which sits above an unusually small square steering wheel; the aim is to provide a much clearer view of the dials and the road ahead.

Alongside the i-Cockpit is Peugeot’s i-Connect infotainment system. Just like in the 308, this is split into two individual screens: a main 10-inch touchscreen and a smaller angled touchscreen that displays several shortcut ‘buttons’. Unfortunately, Peugeot has buried the climate controls inside the infotainment system, which can be tricky to adjust while driving.

For greater peace of mind, the new Peugeot 408 offers up to 30 different safety and driving assistance equipment. These include adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and even night vision.

Despite the 408’s mid-level positioning in the range, Peugeot claims it will offer the most rear legroom of all its models; however, we have yet to see if the car’s sloping roofline will impact headroom. The 408’s hatchback hatch offers easy access to its spacious 536-litre boot, which is on par with what’s found on the larger Citroën C5 X. Plug-in hybrid models will offer slightly less space to 471 litres, but those who need more can fold down the rear seats to open up a total of 1,611 liters of space.

Engines and powertrains

At launch, the new 408 will be available with two types of engines: petrol and plug-in hybrid; both will come with an eight-speed automatic transmission as standard. The petrol option is the entry point to the range and includes a 1.2-litre turbocharged three-cylinder producing 128bhp. However, that option will be short-lived as Peugeot has confirmed it will replace it with a more efficient mild hybrid before the end of 2023.

Next are the PHEV models which use the same 1.6-liter four-cylinder petrol engine and electric motor configuration as the 308, which produces 178 or 222 hp depending on specification. Both models’ electric motors are powered by a 12.4kWh battery which, although Peugeot hasn’t released official range figures, should give the 408 an electric-only range of around 35 miles.

What Peugeot has confirmed, however, is that an all-electric version of the 408 will arrive a few months after launch. Likely dubbed the e-408, this model will share its parts with the upcoming e-308, giving it a range of over 200 miles. Still, given the 408’s extra bulk above the hatch, it could be fitted with a larger battery, allowing for longer range between charges.

What does this mean for car buyers?

In a rapidly changing automotive market, manufacturers are scrambling to find niches to attract new customers. The 408 is a prime example of this as it combines the lofty driving position of an SUV with the sleek looks of a saloon or saloon. Of course, you’ll have to pay for it, and the 408 seems to be more expensive than the even more practical Peugeot 308 SW. Nevertheless, demand for SUVs remains high and the 408 should sell well if Peugeot can offer competitive financing offers; plug-in hybrid variants will also be a hit with company car drivers.

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