French flair costs more
You need more cash at the Paris end of town, writes JAMES STANFORD
FRENCH items always come with a premium. You pay more for perfume, fashion and champagne if they’re French, and it’s the same with cars.
The entry price of the latest 308 hatch is $25,990, which places it at the premium end of the smallcar class alongside the Volkswagen Golf.
Deals have never been better on small cars. The Ford Focus is being sold for $19,990 drive-away, despite being the best-handling car in the class.
But it doesn’t quite have that European style, or a French badge.
The 308 is a refined machine that handles well.
It also looks
great, having a distinctive V-shaped smooth, flowing lines.
The new sleeker 308 is larger in almost every dimension except height. The roof is 12mm lower than that of its predecessor.
Its weight has increased about 80kg, which makes the base model 1362kg — hefty for a small car.
Peugeot has made the body stiffer and widened the track to give the car a bigger footprint, though the wheelbase is the same.
The suspension has been revised but remains largely the same. It has a MacPherson-strut front and a torsion-beam rear.
Customers can choose from two petrol engines and two turbo diesels.
The standard 1.6, which appears
and in the XS and XSE, generates 88kW and 160Nm. With a turbo, the engine has 110kW and 240Nm in the XSE Turbo manual. The auto makes do with 7kW less.
A base 1.6-litre turbo diesel has 80kW and 240Nm in the XS HDi model. Topping the range is a 2.0-litre turbo diesel that manages 100kW and 320Nm in the 308 XSE and XTE HDi.
Transmissions include a fivespeed manual and an optional fourspeed automatic for the 1.6-litre petrol cars. The 1.6 diesel is available with a five-speed manual only.
The 2.0-litre diesel is available with a six-speed manual or a sixspeed automatic.
Fuel economy is a strong point. The base diesel sips only 4.9 litres/ 100km, according to Peugeot.
In the manuals, petrol use is an average 6.7. The turbo petrol uses 7.1 and the larger diesel uses 5.5 litres for 100km.
All 308s come with front, side and curtain airbags, but the XS and XSE models miss out on electronic stability control. It’s a $450 option.
Standard gear includes dual climate control airconditioning, cruise control, trip computer, front electric windows (manual winders for the rear) and MP3 connection.
The base model XS has 15-inch steel wheels. A full-size spare is standard.
Prices range from the $25,990 base XS manual to the automatic 2.0 XTE HDi at $37,990.
Sleeker look: the new Peugeot 308 is bigger in most areas but has a lower profile. Buyers can choose from two petrol engines and two turbo diesels.