Peugeot Inception reader test team

The eye-catching Peugeot Inception concept car signals the French brand's design intent for an electric future. Our reader jury issues its verdicts...

Peugeot Inception reader test team

The car you see here won’t be appearing in Peugeot showrooms – but bits of it will. The Peugeot Inception concept car is designed to showcase the styling and technological features that are destined for future Peugeot cars you’ll be able to buy – including five pure electric models that are due to arrive from 2025.

The Inception’s layout makes full advantage of the fact that it was designed for electric power from the outset; the passenger compartment is much longer than would be possible with a bulky combustion engine up front. This enables the base of the windscreen to be pushed farther forwards, and the resultant huge glass area floods the spacious interior with light.

As you approach, an electronic information bar on the driver’s door presents useful information about the car’s charging status. Step inside and you’ll find a ‘hypersquare’ controller in place of a conventional steering wheel; this disappears into the dashboard when the car is in autonomous mode, with a huge screen taking its place to provide entertainment while occupants relax.

We asked six readers for their opinions on the Inception and the design direction it signposts.

Simon Latham

Peugeot Inception reader test team

Age 58
Job Financial director
Drives Ford Kuga, Jaguar I-Pace

“While I still think my Jaguar is marvellous after five years, I’m interested in new technology and the features that will soon be available in new cars, so I’m fascinated to see the Inception.

“I’m very impressed by the physics behind the aerodynamic diffuser on the top of the rear screen. It is a superb feature because it deflects water off the screen, so you don’t need a windscreen wiper. Owning an electric car has made me realise how important it is to minimise systems that use up the power, and this is one small example of innovative thinking that will help cut down electricity use.

“I was sceptical about the square steering wheel, but, having got my hands on it, I think it works really well, because you don’t have to turn it anywhere near as far as usual to steer from fully left to fully right.

“One thing I think they’ve got wrong is the car’s sheer size; it’s too big to be driven easily on UK roads. I also found it awkward to get into the rear seats, so access would need to be improved on a production version of the car.”

Star rating 4/5

Mervyn Jones

Peugeot Inception reader test team

Age 58
Job Driving instructor
Drives Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Volkswagen Golf

“As well as driver training, I provide familiarisation courses on electric vehicles [E Vs] for full licence holders, so I am interested in what the Inception will reveal about future Peugeot EVs.

“I love the look of the concept car; it’s very sleek and sporty looking. It’s clever because it combines some styling cues from classic French saloons from the 1970s with futuristic themes. There are some great details on the exterior, too, such as the illuminated badges behind the wheel trims. And I really like the large, long windscreen and deep windows, because they give excellent visibility – something lacking on many modern cars.

“In spite of its outlandish looks, it’s also roomy enough to transport a family. Inside, it feels like a large living room, and I can imagine it being very comfy for the long drives my family makes across France.

“I think it’ll be great when autonomous technology arrives; I like the idea that the Inception can be driven or drive itself.”

Star rating 5/5

Jacqueline Boal

Peugeot Inception reader test team

Age 56
Job Project manager
Drives Peugeot 3008

“When I first laid eyes on the Inception, it reminded me of the spacecraft in the 1970s sci-fi series Space 1999. The sharp angles and exaggerated proportions make the Inception look, well, out of this world.

“The Inception’s list of nifty features suggests that future Peugeot models might impress in the real world, too. I particularly liked the heat and UV light-resistant windscreen glass, which is designed to help keep the interior cool on sunny days.

“I bought my Peugeot 3008 because I regularly travel with tall passengers in the back, and the 3008 has plenty of rear headroom. In the Inception, however, the sleek design means rear seat space is much more limited. I’m 5ft 8in tall, and my head was brushing against the roof. I like the Inception’s styling, but I hope Peugeot avoids adding a sloping coupé roofline to all of its family-orientated models.

“My 3008 may not be as stylish or futuristic as the Inception, but it’s practical and comfy, so I’ll be holding on to it for the time being. That said, I look forward to seeing which of the Inception’s forward-thinking features have begun to appear on mainstream models by the time I start searching for my next car.”

Star rating 3/5

Ryan Standen

Peugeot Inception reader test team

Age 24
Job Editorial apprentice
Drives Citroën DS3

“I’ve never owned a Peugeot, but I’m a fan of the brand; I think it’s been a design leader in the past – both externally and inside – and its concept cars do a good job of reflecting Peugeot’s aspirations.

“It’s great to see Peugeot racing at Le Mans this year, and from looking at the Inception, it’s clear to see that there will be visual links between the 9X8 racer and future Peugeot road cars.

“The clearest design link is the large ‘claw’ running lights, which are on the Le Mans car and the Inception. They give the models a clear, distinctive identity; I think this is important because the brand’s recent previous models have been rather unadventurous to look at and not distinct enough from rivals.

“I like the recycled polyester seat fabric, which has an appealingly retro look. And the designers have gone to great lengths to use the interior space in a more efficient way than in current production Peugeots.

“There are some unusual features that I like, such as the inflatable seat cushions (which help to save weight) and the large screen that rises up across the windscreen when the square controller retracts. I’m intrigued to see how much of the interior makes it into production models.”

Star rating 4/5

Charlotte Crabb

Peugeot Inception reader test team

Age 22
Job Marketing executive
Drives Nothing right now

“I’m very attracted to the Inception’s styling. I love how the sides curve inwards and the windscreen is so long and sleek. The oversized wheels add a touch of drama, as does the angular rear end. It looks really futuristic.

“It’s great to hear that the Hypersquare controller will be on new production models soon. I used to play computer games when I was younger, so I can see the advantage of the steering wheel being replaced by something that takes design cues from gaming.

“The Inception has lots of practical features too, such as the separate air conditioning and media controls for each of the rear seat passengers.

“I’m impressed with the self-driving technology in the Inception. It will be great for taking the strain out of commuting. If you have a two-hour slog to get to work, you’ll be able to get a lot of this time back if you can let the car take over the driving for part of the journey.

“I appreciate that some people are nervous about the introduction of autonomous driving technology in cars, but I’m excited about it and think concepts like the Inception will make such tech more appealing to a wider audience.”

Star rating 5/5

Rebekah Hind

Peugeot Inception reader test team

Age 30
Marketing assistant
Drives Abarth 595

“I work for a car brokerage company with an audience of emergency services, armed forces and teaching staff, supplying them with cars from a range of brands, including Peugeot, so it’s great to see what the Inception promises for future cars from the brand.

“Many of our drivers live in urban areas and are keen to switch to hybrids and electric cars, so it’s good that the Inception has been designed as a pure electric model.

“The Inception’s interior tech will help drivers wind down after long, stressful shifts at work. The Hypersquare control system seems really easy to use. It has two side screens with icons for various systems, such as air-con and radio, and they’re easy to tap without taking your eyes off the road for long.

“The driver’s seat is roomy and comfortable, and it reclines when the car is in autonomous mode, so it would be relaxing on longer journeys.

“The technology in the glass is fascinating. I understand it’s been developed from a process that was initially used by NASA on the visors of astronaut helmets, being resistant to heat and ultraviolet light; this will add to comfort inside.”

Star rating 5/5

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