April 22, 2024

While on my, due to the Covid outbreak, extended European trip I rented quite a few cars, every 2 weeks another one. Why? I had no car there and I wanted to get up to date with what cars were on the market in Europe. Most press departments had stopped the vehicle loans due to Covid, logically, so this was a good option.

Through Budget at AMS Schiphol airport I received Peugeot’s and Citroen’s regularly, and I was forced to tell them that I did not want any Peugeot’s anymore. The reason for that was sad but simple. Access and egress. Something you would think had been properly sorted by age old companies like Peugeot for a long time already.

I was shocked and horrified that my simplistic assumption based on 35+ years of driving was far off. To get into the car I was forced to first ensure the seat was at the most rearward and lowest position, and the steering wheel was the highest up and furthest forward. Then, when trying to get in normally, I was forced to twist my head and neck in to contortionists positions to try and squeeze in.

It was very painful, so much so that I developed an alternative way to get in, which was head first to over the passenger seat, then squeeze the right leg into the pedal area, move back and sit on the seat, and then pull the left leg in. That worked unless there was a frightened passenger in the said passenger seat.

To get out I had to rotate to the left, inhale deeply, slide as far back to the center console as possible, bent over and pull my head and neck down and then slide outwards until my head cleared the A-Pillar. Doing this over a week’s period is strenuous to put it mildly. If it was my own car and I had to do this for years, I would be displeased to say the least.

Why is all this? It is a stationwagon. Nothing super sporty. Nothing to break your neck for. Well, Peugeot designers probably thought it was a much more sporty car than it actually is. Having the front screen angled the way it is, they pulled that angle to the side and did not twist it into a slghtly more upright position, since they clearly wanted the outside A-Pillar to look a little faster than it actually is.

Add to this that inside the A-Pillar and the drivers’ side header are airbags. Airbags take up space so your inner liners have to go around those airbags, which means they get more voluminous. That clearly takes away from the opening through which people get in and out of their cars. Normally any can company has their 95% mannequins for verification and then you do a lot of practical research in R&D.

In this case I have to assume that some people decided to skip a few steps. I think they assumed that most drivers were little French midgets and race car drivers. Admittedly the average French male is certainly not as tall as the Nordic and Germanic people in Europe, but the average from what I have seen certainly aren’t slim and lanky.

End result was that my experience with this Peugeot was not what it should’ve been. It clearly influenced my opinion on the car. If whatever hair is left on my head gets to be a mess getting into the car, which I am reminded off every time I look in the rear view mirror, and it becomes even more of a mess once I get out at my destination, the words that are crossing my mind about how I like driving the Peugeot 208 StationWagon are not going to be positive.

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