‘Peu­geot’s e-Leg­end is fresh but fa­mil­iar, cool but com­fort­ing’

CAR (UK) - - From The Editor - Ben Miller

WHEN SOME­ONE glides back into the of­fice af­ter a day or two out and re­minds you that they were look­ing at a ‘fu­ture elec­tric Peu­geot con­cept’, you don’t in­stantly spring from your seat to gather around the art ed­i­tor flick­ing through the im­ages. No of­fence, but Peu­geots to fire your deep, sig­nif­i­cant lust on looks alone have been a lit­tle thin on the ground since, well, the one I own: the 205. (A 120,000-mile XS that hasn’t run for five years but that will be spot­less and re­stored and driven to the Good­wood Re­vival be­fore the end of this decade. Hon­est.)

But the e-Leg­end Con­cept is a gor­geous cre­ation. Like Honda’s Ur­ban EV, the Peu­geot swerves the idea of the elec­tric car as a pro­gres­sive, fu­tur­is­tic har­bin­ger of change and opts in­stead for the pro­por­tions of the past re-imag­ined. Fresh but fa­mil­iar, cool but com­fort­ing, the Peu­geot – like the Honda – is an elec­tric car you ac­tu­ally want, rather than one you have to try to con­vince your­self you want. Un­like the Honda (which goes into pro­duc­tion next year), the Peu­geot in a buy-able, drive-able form is years off.

Isn’t it a worry that the only time an un­veil­ing prompts a stand­ing ova­tion, it’s clearly been in­spired by a car from the past? The last big retro boom (in the late-’90s/early-2000s; Bee­tle, Ford GT, Jaguar S-Type) is now lam­basted as a dark time for car de­sign, but are we re­ally so far from those days?

Fer­rari de­sign chief Flavio Man­zoni once told me ‘we must never do some­thing that we have al­ready done. Fer­rari should not in­clude déjà vu’.

A noble no­tion, but how long can it sur­vive in the face of buy­ers more in love with the good old days than ever?

En­joy the is­sue.

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