Peugeot 408 long-term test: report 3

Can the sleek Peugeot 408 deliver substance to match its style? We're living with one to find out...

Jonty with Peugeot 408 in Scotland

The Car Peugeot 408 1.2 Puretech GT Run by Jonty Renk, senior videographer

Why it’s here To prove that an executive car can turn heads and still be a fantastically comfortable and practical companion for long journeys

Needs to Be spacious enough for both passengers and video equipment, frugal in town and on the motorway, and as inspiring to drive as it is to look at

Mileage 10,678 List price £34,695 Target Price £31,347 Price as tested £28,085 Official economy 48.1mpg Test economy 36.6mpg

1 February 2024 – Automotive vs locomotive

Taking a train up to the Scottish borders from London can be fantastic (barring any strike action, of course). You get to sit back and stare out of the window as the view transforms from congested concrete into a rolling patchwork of green fields. But having recently returned from a break up north, I would now argue that my Peugeot 408 is an even better way to do that sort of journey, for three main reasons.

First, and most obviously, cost. I was holidaying in a party of four and a bit of research showed that the price from London's Euston Station to Carlisle one way (without a railcard) would be £69.60 each – making for a whopping total of £278.40.

408 at the border

In my 408, even heavily loaded with luggage and people, we averaged 36.6mpg across the 329-mile journey to our destination. At the current UK average petrol price of £1.42 per litre, that made the total fuel cost £57.62. Split between the four of us, we each paid about £14.40. One nil to the 408.

Second, there’s the issue of comfort. Long haul trains are often fitted with pretty great seats, and you have the option of walking up and down the aisle when you fancy stretching your legs. But, again, I think the 408 has the edge, thanks to its heated and massaging front seats, which give a real first-class feel. My passengers took turns sitting bedside me to sample this luxury, but even when in the back they had no complaints about the amount of head and leg room on offer.

408 trip after journey

True, trains don’t have to worry about traffic, but even when we were faced with a slow stretch of roadworks through Staffordshire, the 408’s adaptive cruise control took the stress out of the stop-start delay. Plus, the car feels planted on the motorway and benefits from a drive assist system which automatically keeps it in the middle of the lane, making long hours spent behind the wheel a breeze.

Finally; there's the sheer convenience to consider. In a previous report, I was extremely enthusiastic about the boot of the 408, and my attitude has not changed after this very demanding practicality test.

If we were taking the train with our holiday luggage, then we would all be sweaty messes having hauled our suitcases through stations and carriages, hoping there’d be somewhere to store them on the train itself. However, thanks to the fantastic 536-litre load area of the 408, luggage for four fitted in with ease.

408 in congestion on M6

Admittedly we didn’t have a trolley service, but thanks to my forward planning, the ski hatch allowed very easy access to the much-needed bag of snacks in the boot which kept us fueled throughout the journey. Plus, let's not forget the ultimate convenience of going by car: being able to leave when it suited us, rather than having to fit in with a train timetable.

All things considered, then, I think we’re looking at a comprehensive win for the 408.

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