Eddie Cunningham takes three new Peugeots for a drive: Peugeot 508, Rifter, Partner
First Irish drive: Peugeot 508, Rifter, Partner
Against a backdrop of general gloom in the new-car motoring industry, Peugeot struck a stridently confident note as they unveiled three new models for the Irish market this week.
How well-founded that confidence turns out to be awaits real-world response that's shaped by the current factors affecting demand.
The trio comprise the new 508 Fastback, Rifter people carrier and Partner van.
The distributors claim they have a distinct edge on price/spec over most competitors on all three fronts and expect that to improve market share. We'll see, but it was good to see such confidence at a particularly trying time for buyer and seller.
The one of main interest to me was the 508 Fastback family/fleet car. It is one of the nicest looking motors on the road; seeing it in the flesh confirmed that.
It will take something special to stem the flow from saloon to SUV but Peugeot, perhaps more than any other, present a strong case. And, they rightly say, not everyone wants an SUV.
It's a car you'd like to be seen in I think. It has already been voted Most Beautiful Car of the Year 2018. Prices start from €32,400 and, like all three models unveiled, it has the latest generation of the brand's i-Cockpit.
It has four trims: Active, Allure, GT Line and GT. Depending on trim, there are two petrols and four diesels: a 1.6 petrol 180bhp auto 8spd, a 1.6 petrol 225bhp auto 8spd (GT only); a 1.5 diesel 130bhp 6spd manual, 1.5 diesel 130bhp auto 8spd; a 2.0 diesel 160bhp auto 8spd and a 2.0 diesel 180bhp 8spd auto.
As you can see there is a preponderance of automatics - in line with growing demand.
There will be an estate version by summer and a petrol plug-in hybrid from the autumn.
The new Rifter people carrier (MPV) has also just gone on sale. It is a practical piece of work (you can have five or seven and the Long version is tipped to attract most attention) with a bit of style thrown in. They describe it as "a rugged, stylish car".
I can see it appealing to growing families - based on the queries we get here for seven-seat accommodation. It costs from €23,540 ex-works.
There are three trims (Active, Allure, GT Line), two petrols and four diesels: a 1.2 petrol 110bhp 6spd; a 1.2 petrol 130bhp 8spd auto (April); a 1.5 diesel 75bhp 5spd; a 1.5 diesel 100bhp 5spd, a 1.5 diesel 130bhp 6spd and a 1.5 diesel 130bhp 8spd auto.
The new Partner van completes the triple unveil. It is the brand's first light commercial to have the i-Cockpit as standard.
It starts from €16,700 ex-works or from €13,615 ex-VAT.
There are Standard and Long body versions to cater for goods up 2.16m in length. There is a load capacity of up to 4.4m3 (two Euro-pallets) and payloads from 650kg to 1,000kg.
There are six trim levels (Access, Active, Active Plus, Professional, Professional Plus and Grip). The latter adds effective 4x4 when warranted but avoids the heavy machinery usually required for such traction.
There is one petrol, four diesels: a 1.2 petrol 110bhp 6spd from mid-year; a 1.6 diesel 75bhp 5spd; 1.6 diesel 100bhp 5spd; 1.5 diesel 130bhp 6spd and 1.5 diesel 130bhp 8spd auto.