Peugeot 408

Specifications: Peugeot 408 PHEV

  • Run by: Phil Hall since December 2023
  • Price when new: £42,375 (£43,765 including options)
  • Engine: 1.6-litre plug-in hybrid
  • Power: 225PS
  • Torque: 360Nm
  • Claimed economy: 269.5mpg
  • CO2 emissions: 26g/km
  • Insurance group: 30

Report 1: Meet our new long-term test Peugeot 408 PHEV

Can Peugeot's left-field hatchback do enough to tempt you away from a generic family SUV? We're living with one for three months to find out...

Date: 18 December 2023 | Current mileage: 7021 miles | Claimed economy: 269.5mpg | Actual economy: 57.2mpg

As we way goodbye to one large French family car, we welcome another one. After three months with our Citroen C5 Aircross long-term test car, we've swapped it for a Peugeot 408. And just as the C5 Aircross took a slightly quirky approach to a family SUV, the Peugeot 408 is a bit of a left field choice as well. 

You see, you can't really describe it as an SUV. In fact, it's pretty hard to pin down what kind of body type the Peugeot 408 is. Essentially it's a jacked-up hatchback that looks a little like a coupe above the waistline, but at the same time has its fair share of plastic cladding round the wheel arches and rear. A bit like an Audi A4 Allroad or Volvo V60 Cross Country. But it doesn't have four-wheel drive like those two.

Put all of that together and it might sound like a bit of a confused design, but it somehow works. Our Peugeot 408 long-term test car is finished in Pearlescent White (an £850 extra) which probably doesn't do the design justice (we'd plump for either blue or red), but it still has plenty of presence. 

Our Peugeot 408 long-term test car comes in Allure Premium trim. This middle of the range trim sits above Allure, but below the snazzier GT trim that's dripping with features. That said, our Allure Premium 408 comes with a good amount of kit as standard, including a 10-inch digital instrument display, reversing camera, front/rear parking sensors, keyless entry/start, electric folding door mirrors, adaptive cruise control and long-range blind spot detection. 

There's also some funky looking 19-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, a 10-inch touchscreen with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard (and wireless connection for both). The seats are finished in fabric, which takes some of the chill away on cold mornings as there's no heated seat option on Allure Premium cars (or a heated steering wheel for that matter). 

The Peugeot 408 is available with a 1.2-litre 3-cylinder PureTech engine with 130PS, but there's also the choice of two plug-in hybrid engines and we've got the more powerful of the two. The 1.6-litre petrol engine and electric motor combine to deliver 225PS, with 62mph achievable in 7.8 seconds. What's more, it promises up to 40 miles from a fully-charged battery. Our 408 is fitted with an optional 7.4kW Monophase on-board charger (£400 extra) that means we should be able to top the battery up in five and a half hours from a 3-pin plug socket. 

Official fuel economy figures are claimed to be between 211.3mpg to 269.5mpg (provided the battery is kept topped up), while the petrol tank is a modest 40 litres - some 12 litres less than a 408 with a 1.2 PureTech petrol engine. 

The Peugeot 408 is also pretty big as well. Measuring 4687mm it's not much shorter than a Skoda Superb, while it's longer than SUV rivals like the Cupra Formentor. These dimensions are good news for passenger and boot space, but I'll cover that off in more detail in my next update. 

Add this all up and our Peugeot 408 comes in at £43,765 with options, pitting it against a number of plug-in family SUVs and estate cars. We're going to be living with it for the next three months to see how it copes with family life. 

Report 2: Getting to grips with our 408

Almost a month in to running our long-term Peugeot 408, how's it going so far?

Date: 2 January 2024 | Current mileage: 7522 miles | Claimed economy: 269.5mpg | Actual economy: 42.7mpg

Our Peugeot 408 long-term test car arrived just before Christmas and the festive break gave me a chance to really spend a good chunk of time with it. 

With a three-pin charging lead I was able to keep the battery topped up from the off, but just like the Citroen C5 Aircross PHEV I ran before it, I was disappointed to only find a range of under 20 miles when I jumped in the car after charging all night, and not quite the 40 plus miles claimed. Not the best start, but the optional 7.4kW Monophase on-board charger does mean charging times are pretty brisk.

With a decent trip round the M25 and up the M1 Christmas day, that wasn't going to touch the sides, but it did give me a chance to see what the 408 was like on a long run. Android Auto connected easily (and more importantly for me at least, wirelessly), while once on a moderately quiet M25 the adaptive cruise control was easy to engage and adjust. Unlike some other systems that tend to be a bit overzealous when braking and taking an age to accelerate again, the 408's adaptive cruise control adjusted speed smoothly. 

The driving position is good and while you initially feel like you're sitting too high with the Peugeot 408's i-Cockpit, I found I quickly got used to it and it works well, with a clear line of sight to the digital instrument display. 

Below the 10-inch touchscreen is another nice feature in the form of i-Toggles. In essence, this is a sub-screen display that provides shortcuts to some of the 408's settings and features. No big deal perhaps, but the fact that you can tailor these to your liking is pretty cool. Especially as you've got a further row of physical metal buttons just below that with controls to things like the heated rear screen and the car's climate control.

This means that the default i-Toggles duplicate existing physical controls, allowing you to have shortcuts to things like BBC 6Music or Google Maps. 

After a relatively sedate trip north, the return leg was a bit more of a challenge. Heavy rain on the M1 is never fun and after trying and failing to find a control to trigger the rear windscreen wiper to clear the spray that had been thrown up, the realisation quickly dawned on me that our 408 doesn't have one. A curious omission, but despite this the 408 never felt unsettled on a pretty miserable run home.

There's also bags of space for everyone - the long wheelbase of the 408 means there's ample room in the front and back, with my two girls having plenty of space to stow extra presents they'd acquired that day in the back with them. The boot is great too at 471 litres, though you're losing out about 55 litres to the petrol car without the battery to conceal. It's a useful shape as well and passed my 'can it fit two kid's bikes' test that other family cars struggle to do.

I tried to use the battery charge on the 408 wisely on the trip and only when in low-speed areas, but still only managed just under 43mpg on a long run. Not something that would be massively economical if I was doing that drive regularly, but fine for a one off, and overall the 408 has impressed so far. 

Report 3: Plastic trim saves the day

The plastic trim round the wheels isn't just for show...

Date: 19 January 2024 | Current mileage: 7982 miles | Claimed economy: 269.5mpg | Actual economy: 47.8mpg

Winter has come with a bit of a thud in 2024 and we've been greeted by some pretty chilly mornings. In the past I've been able to crank up the heated seats (and in some cases, heated steering wheel) and let the warmth from these cut through the cold. 

I'll be the first to recognise that this is very much a first-world problem, but out 408 comes with neither. If you want such luxuries you'll have to opt for the top-of-the-line GT version of the 408, and then select it as an optional extra. Just like the missing rear wiper, it seems like a strange omission on a £40,000+ family car. 

Instead, I'm having to force the petrol engine to spring into live to heat the car, as relying solely on the battery to do this means I'll have a long wait to see the temperature creep up and at the same time, see the range shrink as the battery takes the strain. 

Something I need to do to avoid this is set-up the 408 with the MyPeugeot app as this will allow me to pre-condition the temperature of the cabin while it's charging - something I'll update you on in a future update.

Heated seat grumble aside, the Peugeot 408 has been slipping nicely into family car duties...until it picked up some damage.

Let's get the excuses out of the way first. It was dark, on a farm and the 408 was trying to be coerced out of a tight space. However, we hadn't factored in a low-lying wood post and as we reversed out, there was a horrible sound of wood on bodywork. 

Getting out and expecting to see a big gash along the side of our 408, we were relieved to see that the plastic trim round the wheel arch had taken the brunt of the impact, leaving the bodywork unblemished. I don't know why I'm surprised really, as it did exactly what it was designed to do, with only 3-4 internal clips the real victims of this little incident. 

If there was a good time to have a ding like this, then this was it. With the 408 booked in for its first year service in the next few days, replacement clips are on order so this can get sorted at the same time.