The first test of the updated Peugeot 408: another or the same?

In modern times, when it seems that even the climate is degrading day by day, I want to go back five years ago and fix something there. The Peugeot did so.

Well, yes, the model is not new. And restyling, as you will see, is half-hearted. And you were expecting that the French automaker would immediately give us an ultramodern elegant sedan at an attractive price (in China, by the way, Peugeot did it by launching the next generation 408)? Our market gets what it deserves, because most people are not looking for something: something impressive and pathos and at the same time inexpensive, sophisticated, but unpretentious, capable of driving fast, but not choking with bad gasoline and starting in any frost. That’s why the cars produced for Russia often look like a reflection of all our not very attractive realities, greedy contradictory requests and managerial mistakes.

Do you remember the dorestyle Peugeot 408 delivered to the Kaluga conveyor in the spring of 2012? Inexpensive, but large, with a salon “like a big car,” with a giant trunk, with good equipment … But with such an angry expression “faces”, as if today’s crisis came already then. It got to the car from the brothers, already two years produced in the Celestial and Latin America, and Peugeot decided that this front end would do for Russia. But it was a strategic miscalculation. The expression of any physiognomy in our culture has always been given special significance.

In short, the company Peugeot was able to sell for five years in Russia, only slightly more than 30,000 “four hundred eighths,” explaining the weak sales by the fact that the model came on the market at the peak demand for cheap small sedans, which increased a bunch of customers from more spacious cars. But we understand that the problem was also the “overdue” design. And a big problem. An unmistakable indicator is demand in Moscow, where the customer is most averse to novelties. And all these years, he hardly rose above the plate.

But how old the “four hundred eighth” with the new front end, headlights and LED running lights got out! At least this omission is corrected. And only one thing, alas. Stylists no longer touched anything – neither to the stop signals, nor to the shape of the luggage cover, nor to the outline of the rear bumper.

Furrows do not spoil

It’s no secret that the platform of the 4.7 meter old overstroke sedan still counts from the hatchback of the Peugeot 308 of the previous generation. However, the French automaker did not only rely on proven iron and unification. The key word here is adaptation. The version of the sedan “alya-ryus”, as repeatedly stressed in Peugeot, was prepared for testing with severe frosts, deep pits, reagents and other “charms” in the most careful way, using all engineering resources and rolling tens of thousands of kilometers in tests at different parts of Russia.

First of all, this refers to the suspension. Structurally, it can be said, typical: “macpherson” in front and a simple torsion beam behind. But from the one that was on the hatchback, the chassis differs not only a wheelbase that is extended by 10 cm. In the spring racks added to the turn, picked up new characteristics of shock absorbers, strengthened the stabilizers of lateral stability and increased the ground clearance to 17.8 cm! Therefore, do not be surprised if on the most lurid road you are in full swing ahead of some “four hundred eighth.” Its driver spit on small pits and bumps. Even in such conditions, the car maintains a fairly comfortable ride and does not bother with breakdowns. And this “flight” is radically different from riding a crossover. Comparable in terms of class and price SUV in the same conditions will begin to tremble with the whole body because of the massive wheels, and in the turns, awkwardly lurching, it becomes dangerous to “jump” off the trajectory.

They say that the frost resistance of the Peugeot 408 was brought to the Arctic Circle. This affected not only the performance of the climate system and the additional air ducts and heaters introduced into the car, but also the ability of the engine to run without problems in a minus 33 Celsius. From the lumps of dirt, stones, fallen branches, the engine compartment is protected from below by a steel plate. On the bottom there are no protruding parts, so even in a deep rut you feel calm, like on an off-road car.

Of course, in the restyling model, the listed qualities are preserved. For them, “the four hundred and eighth” and appreciate all those who have it. I will even say: in this respect, he is one of the best on the market. This is partially confirmed by statistics: the demand for the model relative to the previous year has grown by more than a third today. Really, rasprobovali?

Second chance

Inside, the 408 is associated with a spacious machine. And in the top equipment – even with the car is not poor. Not very readable, but stylish white dials of instruments, soft textured plastic of the entire front panel, a new multimedia system with a seven-inch touch screen, which displays a picture from the rear view camera (it is also part of the new equipment), finally appeared in equipping sensors light, rain and parking, cruise control on the steering wheel, console with air ducts in the back row – all this works for the image of a well-equipped car.

But some little things remind you that out of the whole amount paid for chic and comfort was spent a little. Noise isolation of the rear wheel arches could be better – the inside of the cabin penetrates the sounds from the rotating wheels. There is no armrest on the back sofa. There is only one USB socket. And such long-awaited and popular options as Apple CarPlay or MirrorLink for connection to the on-board system of all the functional power of a personal smartphone, I will say straight away, came out unfinished – with one device working, with another not, with the third “friends” only with the tenth connection. If you can still get used to the peculiar logic of the multimedia system control menu, the above-mentioned section requires urgent improvement.

One less

Five years ago, the “four hundred and eighth” came with a range of three petrol engines: with a “non-slaughter” 110-horsepower 1.6 under the Euro-4 standards, with a 1.6 atmospheric 1.6 VTi close to it with 120 hp. and with a 150-horsepower turbo 1.6 THP. Later, a 1.6 HDi turbodiesel was added to it.

The last two almost unchanged moved to the restyling 408. The most powerful option is paired with a six-speed automatic Aisin, diesel – only with a six-speed manual. The initial is a modernized power unit with 115 hp, which has recently been installed on pre-stalling machines, but now it can be chosen not only in combination with five-speed mechanics, but also with an automatic machine. And it will not be some kind of prehistoric four-band AL4, but the above-mentioned modern Aisin. In addition, a well-coordinated, as it turned out, under the characteristics of the engine.

I think this modification will be of the greatest interest. Her overclocking excitement for the city is enough. And on the road, you do not have to complain about the overrun of gasoline. A real example: a fully loaded sedan with four men in the cabin makes a six-hour four-hundred-kilometer voyage across the Tver region with stops for any need and at the finish “brings” a flow of 6.8 l / 100 km. And then a 150-horsepower turbo-version is on its way and 8.2 liters / 100 km are displayed on the instrument panel. I would not say that it is much more gluttonous, but in fact it turns out so – a more powerful model provokes a more aggressive style of riding.

However, the turbo version should first of all be thought of by those who do not drive in the priorities, but the instinct of self-preservation and driving comfort. The solid moment achieved at the expense of supercharging at low speeds means in practice two things. When the nominal acceleration in the “half-pedal” machine does not begin to seed transmissions as an atmospheric version, the motor of which still requires promotion. And with a sharp acceleration you get a solid “power” additive, which will allow earlier and safer to complete the overtaking on the track.

Ruslan Tarasov,

Photo of the author.