Reconciling aesthetics and practicality is always a challenge. Including for the choice of a car. That said, in 2023, French manufacturers have made it their mission to make your job easier. To get out of the classic SUV silhouette, there are indeed four proposals. Four models that manage to combine convincing road performance, roominess and a marked personality. It remains to make your choice in this quartet of tightrope walkers.
1.The Citroën C5 X: from €34,340
For its return to the large road cars, Citroën obviously did not do things halfway in terms of design. Raised sedan, perched on large 720 mm diameter wheels and whose rounded stern is also reminiscent of a station wagon, the C5 X has no equivalent on the market. For sure, her look is divisive, some finding her original and slender while others cannot see her in paint. Everyone is therefore free to appreciate or not this pencil stroke behind which, on the other hand, hides undeniable talents. Comfortable as a sedan has rarely been, spacious like no family SUV of the same price, the big Citroën makes a remarkable family. Undoubtedly the best of the moment. On the other hand, the choice of engines proves to be restrictive, between a PureTech 130 sufficient for everyday use but a little difficult to charge and the rechargeable hybrid (225 hp) expensive and not easy to use without access to a charging socket.
2.The Peugeot 308 SW: from €30,420
Not livable enough for a small family going on vacation for more than 3 days, the 308 does however offer an alternative. A longer SW version of 27 cm – including 5 cm for the wheelbase -, much more livable and which manages to keep a beautiful line, Peugeot having even designed a specific tailgate for it. On the bench seat, the legroom becomes acceptable for big children while the hold swallows a lot more luggage. All without sacrificing the inherent driving pleasure of a low body. Ultra-techno in the cabin and also offering a plethora of engines – petrol (130 hp), diesel (130 hp) and plug-in hybrid (180 or 220 hp) – this 308 SW has everything of a small versatile family.
3.The Peugeot 408: from €37,350
It was not unanimous for the jurors of the Car of the Year 2023, but the Peugeot 408 remains an interesting proposal for anyone looking for a wagon with a unique look and up-to-date features. Without dwelling too much on the reinvention of the sedan that Peugeot prides itself on – whereas the C5 X was presented a few months earlier –, it is still necessary to note a remarkable silhouette in the first sense of the term. Moreover, this 408 does not leave you indifferent, as we were able to realize during our various trips behind the wheel. Spectacular lines that hide a very “digital” interior, in this case the same as the little sister 308. But at the rear, the 408 is on the other hand more habitable for the occupants, despite its receding roofline. The trunk is not outdone either. Finally, on the road, the Lioness still distills this little extra compared to its direct competitors, in this case a much less agile C5 X. On the other hand, the 408, available only in petrol (130 hp) and plug-in hybrid (180 or 225 hp) is the most expensive of our selection by far…
4. The Renault Arkana: from €31,800
It is the oldest of this small selection but the Renault Arkana still has a say despite the arrival of a slightly more modern Austral in the cabin. You only have to take a look at the numbers to realize that you like the Diamond SUV. On the private channel, it does better than the Peugeot 3008, quite a symbol… And this success is not stolen since this French product in Korea (Busan) combines a BMW X6-style silhouette with skillfully calibrated road services. between comfort and dynamism. The dashboard and the construction, inherited from the latest Clio and Captur, do not suffer criticism at this price level and the efficient and sober engines complete a flattering picture. Even in habitability, the Arkana has nothing to be ashamed of, far from it! It is only available in gasoline (140 and 160 hp) and non-researchable hybrid (145 hp).