When I first drove the Peugeot 308 Turbo, it was a brilliant hot hatchback ticking all the boxes for looks with some adrenaline rush at the traffic lights. But like it or not, its 5-door layout is not the best for growing families where space is compulsory. So, does this mean that one has to move on to some sensible yet sedate family sedan? Not so, now that Naza Peugeot has brought in the 408 Turbo.
Though technically sharing the same platform as its hatchback sibling, the 408’s design is much more than stitching a boot onto its rump. In fact the 408 does seem to share some styling DNA with past and present offerings, like the 406 rear lamps, a hint of 407 at the C-pillars and front half of the 308 side-on. Throw in some sleek lines like its thin grille opening, long feline-like front overhangs, and steeply raked large windscreen, this specially prepared French for our Asian market is elegant from every angle.
Once inside, the layout and theme here creates a sense of occasion unlike many other cars. Dressed in elegant black soft-touch materials, the dashboard is stylishly trimmed with just the essential chrome and silver bits. Its piano-finished center piece combined with the unique gear shifter is among my favorite layouts, yet strangely felt half-done due to the exposed single-slot compartment below right below its audio unit. Perhaps a double-DIN unit would complete this scene better.
Like the 308 Turbo, the 408 Turbo comes with white-faced meters, great for some quick information update in a glance whenever the right pedal is floored. Like its hatchback sibling, there is a multifunction display above the tri-outlet aircon vents. Ergonomic wise, the driver’s seat location is very well thought of, within view of easily understood controls, and a generous amount of glass area to see out of. Even the firm twists of knobs and buttons will not disappoint those fussy-minded.
Traveling as a passenger is a joy thanks to the very supportive seats no matter one may be. Back seat occupants will also adore the rear air-vents even if they are neither height-adjustable nor independently controlled. Headroom is aplenty despite the slopping rear roofline, with ample more knee-room to spare for us Asians.
Typical for family sedans of this class, storage is not limited to just door pockets and the beneath the arm rests. Flipping down its 60/40 back-rest reveals a commodious 562litre boot, handy for those IKEA or balik kampung trips. Designers have even resorted to struts rather than conventional hinges to minimize space intrusions. One disappointing point however is the glove compartment which though cleverly organized, is much restricted by the ECU partition which takes up half of its total space.
Pictures from Peugeot.com.my