Last year, Renault achieved success with the Arkana, its first coupe SUV. Peugeot intends to do the same with the new 408, a raised sedan of sorts. Before the release of the Lioness on the road, we look at the strengths and weaknesses of these two congenial models.
We forgot, but in 2015 the Qajars had a good start in their career. Until the introduction of the second generation 3008 at the end of 2016. The beefier, more modern Peugeot hit Renault, whose sales were then mixed. Almaz got some revenge by releasing Arkana in 2021.
As one of the first universal manufacturers to bet on the SUV coupe, Renault had a hollow nose. But now Peugeot is drawing the 408. For Sochaux, it’s more of a raised sedan that retains a limited height. But the silhouettes of cars are close behind the marketing speech. Some also saw in the Arcana a kind of tall Talisman on legs.
Will history repeat itself then? Will Arkana sales drop once the 408 hits dealerships? To get a first idea of the answer, we didn’t pull out a crystal ball, but looked on paper to see what the strengths and weaknesses of these patterns might be.
If we talk about these cars on Automobile-Propre, then, of course, because they exist in an electrified version. Both are hybrids, but with different levels of hybridization. Renault offers a single E-Tech hybrid engine. The technical passport is original, with a 1.6 petrol engine with a capacity of 94 hp. Battery 1.2 kWh. The maximum combined power is 145 hp. The car claims a combined fuel consumption of 4.8 l/100 km and CO2 emissions of 108 g/km.
On Peugeot’s side, we’re betting on a rechargeable hybrid with more power. And this brings out the fact that if the 408 and Arkana templates are not very different from each other, the positioning is not exactly the same. Thus, Peugeot seems to be a step up. The technical base confirms this: the 408 comes from the 308, a C segment car, the Arkana comes from the Captur, a B segment car. However, the Captur exists as a 160 hp plug-in, but the Arcana is not eligible.
Under the Peugeot’s hood is a 1.6 petrol unit with either 150 or 180 hp mated to an 81 kW electric unit mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The total power is 180 and 225 hp. Both options use a 12.4 kWh battery. Peugeot does not yet provide figures for consumption and autonomy on electric traction, but the latter is estimated at 55 km.
Two cars have one thing in common: all-wheel drive is not expected.
Having seen what was in the bowels, let’s still look around from the outside. Of course, at this level, tastes are more subjective. If the silhouette is similar, with a quick-sloping roof, a steep window slope and a tall trunk, the two models have their own style, completely different. Peugeot assumes clean lines, even very extensive work on the body panels. You just have to see the notch around the wheels to figure it out. The Renault is wiser, more rounded by comparison, in line with Laurens van Den Acker’s production since the 2012 Clio.
The 408 is 4.69 meters long, 12 cm longer than the Arkana. Peugeot has chosen a low silhouette, the height of the car is 1.49 meters compared to 1.58 meters for Renault.
Presentation – plug-in hybrid Peugeot 408: don’t call it “SUV coupe”!
life on board
Inside, a common point: economies of scale through the use of a car’s dashboard, which serves as a base, or at least a good part. In other words, like the 308 and almost like the Captur. Here, too, a matter of taste: the Losange is more refined, the Peugeot is more futuristic, also sporty with its small steering wheel and dashboard height. But both models have what it takes on the screen side. Losange uses a vertical display as the center console. The 408 adds a touch of techno with a customizable digital control panel.
In terms of habitability, the 408’s roof protection is 891 mm at the front and 850 mm at the rear, versus 877 and 862 mm for the Arkana. The distance between the elbows is 1439 mm in front and 1453 mm in the rear for Renault, 1443 and 1446 mm for Peugeot. In the plug-in hybrid, Peugeot has a boot capacity of 471 liters. Its competitor of the day points to 480 liters in hybrid. No one really uses the volumes inside!
Both are loaded with driving aids. Depending on the version, the 408 and Arkana offer adaptive cruise control, 360° visibility, parking departure warning, emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, or level 2 semi-autonomous driving. However, Peugeot is a little higher in this chapter, offering Matrix LED headlights or even night vision.
Exuberant styling to match the times, more powerful interchangeable engines, slightly more modern technology: the 408 might seem a little better armed than the Arkana. This is a reflection of the difference in the technical base and a reflection of the small difference in brand positioning, Peugeot is playing the “premium station wagon” card. But that should be reflected in pricing, which is expected to be higher than Arkana’s. So Losange will have this asset in hand, especially since the simple hybrid technology has been proven to work and is more affordable than rechargeable.
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