I know, I know. A write-up about Peugeot? Just bear with me and all will become clear.
Whilst badge-snobbery against the French brand is commonplace - understandably so for an annoyingly noticeable amount of time - something seems to have happened recently and we felt the note to tell you about it.
The extra exciting news? Peugeot is now making… wait for it… oh, I can barely contain myself… ok, they’re now building… DECENT CARS!
I know, I’m just as shocked as you are. For a time, Peugeot was favoured as cheap to buy and run cars for families and first-time-drivers. But, with the Volkswagen-fuelled renovation of the SEAT and Skoda brands, along with an increase of impressive brands coming in from Eastern Asia, it seemed the Peugeot was being rapidly relegated.
However, it would seem that the core company of the PSA Group has begun to turn things around and a new power is rising!
Who is Peugeot?
I’m sure you’re kidding, but I’ll humour you anyway. Peugeot is a French-based car manufacturer that was founded as a family business (no prizes for guessing the family name) in 1810… yep, they were in business a long time before carriages were unhitched from horses and replaced with horsepower. What did they do whilst waiting for their motoring-filled destiny? They built bicycles and coffee grinders. Yes, one of the world’s oldest and most recognisable car brands started off making manual household coffee grinders. Anything is possible if you just believe, right?
From Grinding Coffee to Gears
A substantial length of time after making a device that helps to create the world’s favourite pick-me-up - including chance encounters with Gottlieb Daimler (German inventor of the internal combustion engine and founder of Mercedes-Benz) and multiple records and titles in the world of motorsport - has led up to the present day.
In the past few decades, Peugeot has had a rollercoaster of popularity. The Peugeot 205 GTi was one of the top dogs of the hot hatch arena; desired by car modifiers and first-time drivers alike. A new generation found the Peugeot 106, 206 and 306 being highly desirable too, for first-time drivers and small families.
What Went Wrong?
Well, not much really. Other than the rest of the motoring world powered ahead; whilst poor little Peugeot carried on doing their thing, other brands did it better, advancing their styling and driving experience further.
The “07” series of Peugeots seemed largely unchanged - or inferior - from the “06” models, which meant they were woefully dreary and dull in comparison to alternatives in the market. Where the 106 was a cutesy and curvy small first-timers car, the 107 was lumpy looking and disproportionate. The 207 and 307 looked almost identical to the 206 and 306 respectively, albeit bulkier and more ungainly. Then there’s the 406: a regular, no-fuss, standard kind of saloon car. Nothing special, nothing horrible. The 407 managed to be even more uninspiring and ended up looking like the unholy offspring of a manatee and a basking shark.
Don’t get me started on the abysmal, ill-conceived and poorly executed 1007…
The Peugeot Renaissance
Despite the original “08” series appearing to be heading further into the motoring industry’s version of a lost and found box; the new facelifted range has hit the brakes and pulled a long overdue ‘U’-turn.
Instead of the gormless perma-grin on the front end of recent Peugeots, they now seem to be wickedly baring their teeth. There’s also more muscular angles, sleek and bold headlight styling, colour contrasting and altogether a more ruggedly styled look - like David Beckham’s beard. It seems that now, dare I say it, Peugeots have an edgy look.
They have also saved themselves by going against the French grain and dropping out of the increasingly unpopular MPV category; favouring the world of SUVs and launching the 2008, 3008 and 5008… all of which are actually good.
Overall, there’s some fight left in the rampant lion yet!
What Are The Alternatives To A Peugeot?
With the revamping of the hatchback and saloon range and the new venture into SUV territory, there is a whole host of worthy competition for Peugeot. We’ve investigated where Peugeot is now pitching themselves; not only among its regular reasonably-priced competitors but also the premium brands that they are now facing up against:
Peugeot’s entry-level city car, the 108, costs less than £10k for the standard hardtop. It’s small, simple and chic; the 108 or 108 TOP! cabriolet variant would look happily at home in the centre of Paris, London, Milan or Madrid.
The City Car category is dominated by the cheaper brands, with few of the premium brands going in whole-hog.
Top 6 Competitors for the Peugeot 108:
Peugeot 208 (2019)
Built on a new modular platform, the new generation of the 208 will be available with a petrol engine, diesel or as an all-electric e-208.
Little is known at the time of writing regarding price and trim levels at the time of writing, but we do know that the excellent styling changes are being accompanied with revamped technology; including the latest version of Peugeot’s 3D i-Cockpit. This user interface will work alongside the optional multifunction steering wheel, 3D Heads Up Display and 10” HD touchscreen. There’s also some interestingly gimmicky ‘piano’ toggle switches.
The e-208 can supposedly do 0-60mph in 8.1secs. This is not a bad result, but will likely be outshone by the hot hatch GTi version when released next year.
The small hatchback category is almost full to the brim with worthy contenders - including the UK’s best-selling car, the Ford Fiesta - but I think the styling of the 208 will stand it in good stead.
Top 6 Competitors for the Peugeot 208:
The 308 may not be as head-turning as the newly made-over 208 or 508, but it’s still a good looking car. Spacious, economic, practical and fun to drive are all the traits that you want from a family hatchback - characteristics that the ever-popular Ford Focus and VW Golf have in abundance. The 308 hatchback and its “SW” estate variant seem to be equipped to take on the might of the much more established models in this category.
The 308 GTi is especially exciting as it’s created with Peugeot Sport, the subdivision responsible for the many racing cars that Peugeot enter into various motorsport series - with particular success in rally and endurance racing.
Top 6 Competitors for the Peugeot 308:
BMW 1 Series
The all-new 508 won the ‘Style Award’ at the 2018 carwow awards. It’s not hard to see why with the implementation of the same bold, daring and unique French styling that has made Paris a centre for fashion.
However, with prices from £25k and styling the 508 as a “Fastback” (a sort of 5-door coupe body shape) and an “SW” estate, means that it is pitched up against some very big players in the executive saloon class. Well-established competitors in the division are the Jaguar XE and Volvo S60. Conquering the category are entries from “The Big Three” from Germany: the Audi A4 & A5, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the BMW 3 & 4 Series.
From the look of this car, it is ready to go toe-to-toe with its direct rivals - the Kia Stinger, Vauxhall Insignia and, more ambitiously, the Volkswagen Arteon; but it is almost certainly going to remain out of its depth against the more prestigious models.
Top 6 Competitors for the Peugeot 508:
BMW 4 Series
Finally! Peugeot is ditching the MPV for the SUV… MPVs (Multi-Purpose Vehicles) are designed primarily as people carriers. This means that they are big, bulky cars that can easily and comfortably accommodate a greater number of passengers - usually between 4 and 7 people. However, they don’t look attractive. They lack the rugged shaping and preferred higher ride height of an SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle), which is designed to be driven off-road and still have enough cabin space for extra passengers.
French manufacturers have historically loved the MPV - Citroen, Renault and Peugeot have pumped out many over the years. This has now all changed, with all three of the aforementioned marques focussing more on sportier and spacious SUVs - with Peugeot leading the charge.
The smallest SUV in the stable, the Peugeot 2008, now seeks to shake things up in the compact SUV/Crossover group and rival some really popular vehicles.
Top 6 Competitors for the Peugeot 2008:
Vauxhall Crossland X
Now, this model is really going to challenge your badge-snobbery. The 3008 is a very accomplished, adequately-equipped, good looking and reasonably-priced small SUV. Existing in the same realm as the Nissan Qashqai, the Kia Sportage and the Audi Q2; it’s not likely to challenge the more premium brands, but it’s likely to upset the status quo and rise through the ranks of popularity.
Expect a full complement of options, but research your trim levels carefully. Don’t expect the quality of materials and interior styling that you’d find in an Audi (although the Peugeot still offers a pleasurable driver’s seat). You can, however, expect a decent vehicle that will tick most boxes and most budgets.
Top 6 Competitors for the Peugeot 3008:
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
The big sibling of Peugeot’s new generation of SUVs. The Peugeot 5008 looks just as stylish as its smaller relative, the 3008, but boasts greater size and practicality (unless you wish to park in a local council-owned car park with spaces big enough only for a horse-drawn cart).
With its enhanced size, styling, technology and equipment, the 5008 is sizing itself up against some BIG (pun intended) members of the Large SUV series. Vehicles draped in the badges of BMW, Volvo, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and the holy-grail of Land Rover all do battle in this arena. Despite the popularity of these aforementioned cars remaining cemented in the leasing world, I still have a feeling that we’re going to see more 5008’s on the UK roads.
Top 6 Competitors for the Peugeot 5008:
Alfa Romeo Stelvio
Hyundai Santa Fe
Land Rover Discovery Sport
What do you think, do you like the new look of Peugeot? Let us know below.