While Toyota fights to maintain its pole position, there are a few car brands which have quietly emerged from the shadows in recent years. And they look very interesting indeed.
Peugeot is one of them. The French company’s 3008 is a delectable number, offering a level of driveability, comfort, refinement, style and fun which would make the folks at Munich or Ingolstadt green with envy. The 5008 which follows is another winner, imbued with all the positive qualities seen in the 3008. It proves that the 3008 was not a flash in the pan.
It is probably too early to say how the French cars would fare in the long run, but with Japan’s Aisin supplying the gearbox (a component which used to be troublesome in Peugeots past), I would wager that the modern Pugs are more dependable than their predecessors.
Ford is another fringe brand worth a second look. Its build quality, equipment level and price-performance ratio is pretty high. And going by its 1-litre Fiesta, it knows a thing or two about making cars which are enjoyable at the wheel but which do not cost the earth. The new Mustang is proof that it has not lost its old-school mojo, either.