2024 Peugeot 408 PHEV review


Peugeot has never made cars you could call conventional, but even by those standards the 408 is a pretty funky thing.

According to the body that categorises new cars in Australia, it’s a rival for the base Audi Q5 and mid-range Mazda CX-60… but it doesn’t really look like any of its rivals, with a rakish looking fastback design that’s unlike anything else on local roads.

Peugeot hasn’t taken a conventional path with its powertrain, either. You can’t have all-wheel drive, nor can you have a pure petrol (in Australia) or diesel, or even a Toyota-style hybrid.

Instead, just one high-end variant is on offer with plug-in hybrid power. Sometimes though, different can be better – is that the case with the 408?

How does the Peugeot 408 compare?

View a detailed breakdown of the Peugeot 408 against similarly sized vehicles.

Peugeot 408 cutout image

Peugeot

408

How much does the Peugeot 408 cost?

Just one version of the Peugeot 408 is available in Australia.

Model Variant $RRP
2024 Peugeot 408 GT Fastback Plug-in Hybrid $67,990

Prices exclude on-road costs

To see how the Peugeot 408 lines up against the competition, check out our comparison tool.

What is the Peugeot 408 like on the inside?

This is an eye-catching car from the second you open the driver’s door, from its array of screens to the stitching pattern on the leather seats.

It’s also immediately identifiable as a Peugeot, with its high-set instrument binnacle and tiny, low-set steering wheel. Just like the exterior, this interior won’t be for everyone.

The fundamentals are solid. The seats are supportive and comfortable, with plenty of electric adjustment to accommodate awkward body shapes and sizes, and there’s a real feeling of quality to pretty much everything you touch.

Peugeot isn’t necessarily a rival for BMW or Mercedes-Benz, but its interior materials and designs are every bit as special.

Even after more than 10 years and multiple iterations, the iCockpit setup from Peugeot is a good idea… that immediately precludes a chunk of the population from owning one of its cars.

The idea is sound – you set the instruments up nice and high, where most brands have a head-up display, and then put the steering wheel below it so you’re not peering through a narrow gap at critical information.

In practice though some drivers can’t get the wheel high enough, some can’t get it low enough without it impacting their knees, and some just hate the idea of the change. I could get comfortable in the 408, but it’s definitely a car you need to sit in before signing on the dotted line.

Peugeot has made huge leaps with its cabin technology, though.

The touchscreen in the 408 is high resolution, and responds quickly enough to inputs that it doesn’t feel backwards in a world dominated by iPads and iPhones.

Peugeot has finally polished its technology to the point it feels quick and modern, and the row of customisable shortcuts below the touchscreen are a handy inclusion that makes it easier to jump from function-to-function.

Wireless smartphone mirroring works reliably, and you’re now able to customise the home screen to feature fan and temperature controls for the air conditioning. Well done Peugeot.

The digital driver’s display can be set up with a funky 3D effect, but it sent me slightly crosseyed. In 2D mode, it offers attractive graphics and plenty of information including mapping.

Storage space up front is solid. There’s a shelf under the dashboard that’s perfect for a plugged-in phone, or a wallet and keys if you’re using the wireless phone charger at the base of the transmission tunnel. Two USB-C ports feature up front.

Beneath the central armrest is a space that’s heavily impacted by the lithium-ion battery pack.

Rear seat space is compromised by that stylish liftback body. Headroom is limited by the sloping roof and panoramic sunroof, and the rising belt line means it’s not a particularly light or bright space back there.

The door aperture is also quite narrow, making it tougher to load a child into a car seat or for adults to clamber back there.

It’s a shame, because legroom is up there with similarly-sized German rivals. Air vents feature back there, as do dual USB-C ports. There’s a fold-down central armrest that’s handy for keeping warring children apart, too.

The door bins will hold a 1L drink bottle, or a couple of bags of lollies for your road trip.

Boot space is impressive. There’s a claimed 471L of space with the rear seats in place, and the amount of room on offer under the massive powered liftback is impressive. It’ll take a set of golf clubs easily, or enough bags for a family weekend away.

The shape of the liftback does limit its practicality, however. If you’re often carrying awkward or bulky items, you’re better off waiting for the new E-3008 to touch down. Boot space with the rear bench folded is 1545L.

It’s also a stylish mid-sized SUV, but its more conventional shape means it’s a more practical car overall. There’s no spare wheel on offer, just a can of goo.

What’s under the bonnet?

As with all plug-in hybrids, how you use the battery in the 408 is key to achieving good efficiency numbers.

With the 12.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack charged, it’s possible to achieve between 0.0L and 1.5L/100km on a normal commute. The battery is good for 60km of EV driving on the WLTP test cycle.

It can charge at 3.7kW, at which speed it’ll take just shy of 4.0 hours to run from empty to full.

Model Peugeot 408
Engine 1.6-litre 4cyl turbo petrol
Engine outputs 132kW + 250Nm
Electric motor outputs 85kW + 320Nm
Total system power 165kW
Total system torque 360Nm
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Battery 12.4kWh lithium-ion (300V)
Driven wheels Front-wheel drive
Weight 1684kg (tare)
Fuel economy (claim) 1.5 litres per 100km
Electric range (claim) 60km
Fuel economy (observed) 1.0L/100km (full battery)
8.5L/100km (empty battery)
Fuel tank size 40 litres
Fuel requirement 95 RON

To see how the Peugeot 408 lines up against the competition, check out our comparison tool.

How does the Peugeot 408 drive?

Peugeot has been doing plug-in hybrids for a while now, and it shows. 

Whether or not you’re a subscriber to the concept of plug-in hybrids, the powertrain in the 408 is impressively polished. With charge in the lithium-ion battery pack, it does an impressive impression of an electric vehicle. 

The petrol engine is never required in normal commuting when you’ve a full charge, although the petrol engine will kick in if you bury the accelerator. When it does fire, it does so with less of a fuss than in previous examples of the breed.

There’s no awkward handover between power sources, which makes for a proper punch in the back for the traffic light Grand Prix.

When the battery does go flat, the electric motor isn’t completely out of action. Instead, the 408 acts like a conventional hybrid, cutting the engine out at low speeds and helping the car get moving off the mark. It can also still offer a performance boost if required. 

Efficiency does suffer though. Fully charged, the 408 will easily do between 0.0 and 2.0L/100km on the daily drive. With a depleted battery, we saw between 7.5 and 8.5L/100km. 

Beyond the PHEV system, the 408 is easy to drive in town. The tiny steering wheel is mated to a quick rack, and very little effort is required to twirl it from lock-to-lock. 

That makes it simple to park in tight spaces, and fun to point-and-shoot on city streets. Vision over-the-shoulder is heavily hampered by the sloping roofline, and you’ll want to be careful of those funky retro-electro wheels on big kerbs. 

Previous plug-in hybrid Peugeots felt big and heavy. The 408 is no featherweight, but it does control its weight better than its predecessors. 

Ride quality is good over pimply city streets, and it doesn’t bounce around like a barge over higher-speed crests and dips. There’s still a sense the internal-combustion platform is straining to contain the mass of the lithium-ion battery pack and electric motors, but it’s better placed to fight that fight than before. 

Even at highway speeds, the 408 is capable of near-silent electric progress. It’ll do up to 130km/h using the e-motor alone, although when the battery is flat it’ll instead cruise along with the petrol engine spinning at around 2000rpm.

Response is impressive, at least once the electric motor and transmission have had time to work out what’s happening. 

There’s a hint of hesitation as the transmission kicks down, the engine lurches into its torque band, and the electric motor offers a hit of torque – but once it’s all sorted out there’s plenty of punch on offer for overtakes. 

You get a hint of noise and vibration from the 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, but it’s never uncouth. 

The active driver assists are generally smooth and smart. The adaptive cruise control keeps your speed in check if there’s a car in front of you, and the lane-centring system takes a hands-on approach to keeping the car between the white lines. It can be too hands on at times, but it does help ease the load on long drives.

Points to Peugeot for making its warning chimes interesting, as an aside. If you open the door while the car is moving (don’t ask how we know that) it sounds like you’re a Top Gun pilot with a missile lock. 

What do you get?

A single Peugeot 408 variant is offered in Australia.

408 GT Plug-in Hybrid highlights:

  • 20-inch Monolithe alloy wheels
  • Tyre repair kit
  • Matrix LED headlights
  • 10-inch digital instrument cluster
  • 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
  • DAB digital radio
  • Proximity entry with push-button start
  • Hands-free power tailgate
  • 8-colour ambient lighting
  • 8-way power driver’s seat
  • 6-way power passenger seat
  • Heated front seats
  • Massaging front seats
  • Nappa leather upholstery
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • heated steering whel
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Electric parking brake

There’s also three free years worth of Connected Services access, which includes car park locations and space availability and fuel station locations and pricing. A panoramic sunroof is optional.

Is the Peugeot 408 safe?

The Peugeot 408 has yet to be assessed by ANCAP, but Euro NCAP gave it a four-star rating in 2022. This testing was based on that of the 308, which Euro NCAP says has a “practically identical” structure.

It received an adult occupant protection rating of 76 per cent, a child occupant protection rating of 84 per cent, a vulnerable road user protection rating of 78 per cent, and a safety assist rating of 65 per cent.

Standard safety equipment includes:

  • Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
  • Autonomous emergency braking
    • Pedestrian, Cyclist detection
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Driver attention alert
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane centring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Front, front-side and curtain airbags

How much does the Peugeot 408 cost to run?

The Peugeot 408 is backed by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty and an eight-year, 160,000km battery warranty.

Peugeot 408
Warranty 5 years, unlimited kilometres
PHEV battery warranty 8 years, 160,000km
Service intervals 12 months or 20,000km
3-year service plan $1200
4-year service plan $1700
5-year service plan $2000

CarExpert’s Take on the Peugeot 408

The 408 won’t be charging up the sales charts, but that doesn’t mean it has no merit. 

If you want to stand out from the crowd, there are few better ways for the money. This is a seriously head-turning car in person, and really does get other drivers craning for another look in traffic. 

The cabin is pretty to look at, although it still doesn’t quite deliver on the promise of its handsome design.

The flip side? That distinctive design undermines its practicality, and the plug-in hybrid setup makes this a more expensive and complicated car than it otherwise would be.

It’s Peugeot at its best and worst, all at the same time.

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