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Peugeot sets out stall on upmarket drive with new models and an engine that will do 94mpg

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Peugeot 108 - signs of a move upmarket by the car manufacturer.

Peugeot 108 - signs of a move upmarket by the car manufacturer.

Well equipped: The Peugeot 508

Well equipped: The Peugeot 508

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Peugeot 108 - signs of a move upmarket by the car manufacturer.

In many ways, I felt, this amounted to far more than details about two cars on the Irish market.

It was, as is increasingly the case with distributors these days, an opportunity to put flesh on the bones of consumer information, strategy and market data at a time of great change.

Peugeot are moving upmarket. We know that. Their heavily revised 508 is testament to it - and a better car than it is given credit for.

We also drove the new-arrival 108 city car which took four burly males on a snap-shot drive to Spiddal.

But it is the manner of the upmarket move, and what it involves, that is noteworthy.

I could go on and on listing the claimed merits of both cars. How Peugeot say their 508 equipment levels are, in the main, higher than key rivals such as the Volkswagen Passat and Ford Mondeo.

But I'm not going to do that because so much of this is down to what is included as priority and what is not. That said, the Peugeot Menu v The Rest made for a strong case.

It just goes to show how important it is for buyers to cross check for what they consider the important inclusions on the equipment list of the car they are thinking of buying.

Most people are going for mid-to-top trim these days. That means spending more but I notice, and Peugeot's detailed analysis proves it, you often get a lot more equipment as part of a package than if you were to opt for a string of individual items.

So, for example, on their 508 you get the following on the first step-up from entry-level for an extra €1,000: rear parking aid, touchscreen sat nav, automatic headlights and wipers, electric driver seat lumbar adjustment, 8GB jukebox, bi-zone climate control electric/heated/folding door mirrors, 17ins wheels etc.

And there's a multitude more if you go another level (and pay €2,100 more).

We drove the 2-litre diesel to the west and the 1.6-diesel back. Plenty of smooth power in both but we mostly noticed how quiet they were. Lovely motorway drives. Looks a lot better outside and the cabin is much improved. Simpler. The 7ins touchscreen makes a big difference.

The 508 is here since January (sales up 41pc) in three trim levels with GT on special order. Prices start from €26,750 but few buy that and the real starting price is €27,750. That's €700 up on the old one but there is more equipment.

The 1.2-litre 3cyl in the 108 was excellent. They claim 4.3litres/100km (66mpg). It costs €300 more than the 1-litre and at 82bhp has 14bhp more. Prices for the 108 start at €13,290. Standard spec includes air con, MirrorLink, Bluetooth and 7ins touchscreen.

Ironically, I think Peugeot have been quite slow in highlighting the fact their cars have a five-year factory warranty in Ireland.

Five years' peace of mind is a big factor in choosing a car.

Obviously sales are up this year; the whole market is, but the level of PCPs is markedly increasing for the French maker.

They make no secret of the fact that the 3.9pc PCP deal is subvented by the distributors themselves. There is a minimum 10pc and maximum 35pc deposit. Deals are built around annual mileage of 15,000km, 20,000km, 25,000km and 30,000km.

And we're all looking forward to the arrival of the new 1.6-litre diesel which they are claiming is a world beater on fuel consumption for a production car: 3litres/100km or 94.1mpg.

It will be in the next generation Peugeot 208 from July. And expect to see it in lots of other models too. There will always be room for that sort of consumption - no matter how far upmarket you go.

Indo Motoring