5 By Peugeot Concept: Où Sont Les Voitures Françaises?S

The Peugeot 505 last saw production back in 1992, but judging by the 5 By Peugeot Concept planned for a Geneva debut, Pug's 5-line's headed for a boring, generic rebirth as the Peugeot 50-something. Interesting? Peut-être. French? Non!

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Surprise, the 5 By Peugeot concept's hybridized with a 2.0-liter diesel up front and a 37 HP electric motor at the rear, providing a combined 200 HP to motivate the all-wheel-drive system. It does have low-speed all-electric capability and low carbon emissions because that's important in Europe. Yes, all of that is dull as oatmeal.

The French have long been known for their unique take on the automobile. Their styling has quite often been wildly controversial and normally pushes the edges of what avant garde means. Peugeot's almost always been a more reserved brand, especially when compared to Citroen's Sacré-bleu-look-at-me-now ways, but as of late they've been producing some proboscis-like noses that raised their share of eyebrows.

Sadly for lovers of the over-the-top French designs, Pug seems to be refocusing on a more mainstream audience with the 5 By Peugeot Concept. Don't get us wrong, it's handsome and packing quite a few recognizable design flavors — we're seeing a touch of Nissan Maxima, some Volvo S60 and some VW CC — but it's just the first time in recent memory one of their cars could be described in terms of other automaker's cars. Whither the French cars that look like they were dreamed up by laissez-faire espresso-sipping design students sketching in front of a cafe behind the Eiffel Tower. Maybe the time of exciting, crazy French designs are finally coming to an end. Car culture is all the worse if that's true.