Variety is the spice of life in the new car world. While a few years ago the more ‘traditional’ body styles reigned supreme, these days it’s less about hatchbacks and estates and more about crossovers and compact SUVs.
The Peugeot 408 and the Cupra Formentor are two cars dialled into this new-found love of slightly off-the-wall creations. Here, we’re going to take a look at what each has to offer.
If you’re after head-turning looks then you’ve come to the right place. Both of these cars offer a design which is quite noticeable against ‘traditional’ hatchbacks and carve quite the niche between a traditional SUV and a more modern crossover.
The Peugeot, in particular, is striking thanks to its claw-shaped headlights and ‘fastback’ stance on the road. The Formentor, meanwhile, is equally eye-catching through its upright positioning and copper-coloured elements which have become a Cupra hallmark.
Though a cracking design is always good, you do spend more time inside a car than looking at its outside. The Formentor has some really clever touches inside, from a nicely-shaped multifunction steering wheel to seats which provide a good amount of support and cushioning.
The 408’s interior is a fine example of how far Peugeot cabins have come in recent years thanks to its great blend of good materials and well-thought-out ergonomics. It’s comfortable, too, mainly thanks to the well-padded seats.
You still want a decent amount of practicality from any new car, which is why the boot space that you get from both the 408 and the Formentor is handy. In the Cupra you get 420 litres of boot room, plus there’s a handy ski hatch which allows you to load longer items inside easily.
The 408 goes a step above, mind you, with a 536-litre boot that’ll swallow up pretty much anything you can throw its way. Just be wary that boot space does shrink slightly on hybrid models.
If you’re after some clever tech then you’re unlikely to be disappointed with either of these cars. The 408 uses Peugeot’s latest i-Cockpit setup, which gives the driver a more involving experience via digital instrument cluster which replaces the conventional dials. On certain models, this gets 3D graphics, too.
The central screen in the Formentor is huge - it measures 12 inches in total - while, as in the 408, there’s a digital setup for the main dials, too. You control everything from the Cupra’s screen as well, including the heating and ventilation controls.
Both cars here are available with a good choice of engine setups, with all providing clean performance. With the 408, there’s a pair of plug-in hybrids for drivers who want the option of travelling for up to 40 miles on electric-only power. Peugeot has already stated that a fully electric 408 is on the cards over the coming years, too.
There are plug-in hybrid Formentor options available, too, while at the top there’s a punchy 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine that allows the Cupra to go from 0-60mph in just 4.7 seconds. It’s got all-wheel-drive for better traction, too.