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26 Dec 2012 | Text and Photos by Regan Ong
The Peugeot 408 scores well for its ride but fails to attract eyeballs with its dated looks.
Despite its name, the latest car from the second largest carmaker based in Europe breaks the usual tradition of its marque's naming convention, as it turns out that the Peugeot 408 is not a direct replacement for the 407, but rather a long wheelbase saloon version of the Peugeot 308 hatchback.
The 408 is primarily targeted at emerging markets in Asia, where customers demand four-door saloons with separate boots and plenty of space for rear passengers.
Built based on the theme of harmony, elegance and dynamism, the 408 is ideal for young professionals with families. Through a combination of the dynamism typical of a Peugeot, it is set to redefine the mid-sized sedan segment with high levels of comfort and premium quality.
Draped in Peugeot's latest signature grille, which has been nipped and tucked to make it smaller than the outgoing models, the car features redesigned headlamps and bonnet to help it look sleeker, with a dash of athleticism to boot.
The structure from the A-pillar to the rear boot reminds us of an offering from a neighbouring country while the rear is reminiscent of its bigger sibling, the 508. As a result, it feels like the car is right smacked in the middle, displaying looks that are rather uninteresting.
But on the bright side, there are some details that deserve praise. The taillights are one of them. Taking on the form of three diagonal strips, the rear lamps serve as a tribute to the claws on the marque's lion emblem.
Coming from a major French car brand that created the sizzling and sexy RCZ, you would expect charming curves on the 408. However, we feel that the car lags in the aesthetic department.
4-cylinders in-line 16- valve Twin-scrolled Turbocharged
122kW (163 bhp) / 6000 rpm
240 Nm / 1400 rpm
6-speed (A) Tiptronic
Acceleration (0-100 km/h)