Herald Sun - Motoring - - IN THE GARAGE - RB

A DIESEL sta­tion wagon is hardly the most sought-af­ter au­to­mo­tive fash­ion ac­ces­sory these days. Wag­ons have been over­run by SUVs and pri­vate sales of diesel cars are down by al­most a third on last year.

They do, how­ever, work in­cred­i­bly well as an open road tourer, as we dis­cover when we stretch the legs of our Peu­geot 308 Tour­ing with a 700km trip up the coast.

For a start, the 308 Tour­ing can fit a lot of gear in the back — the higher-rid­ing, chunkier look­ing Mazda CX-5 might ap­pear big­ger but it has only 403L of lug­gage space com­pared to the 308’s 625L.

With four on board, their lug­gage and a set of golf clubs, you’d ex­pect a small four-cylin­der car to strug­gle up hills and over­tak­ing.

The Peu­geot takes it all in its stride, barely rais­ing a sweat when called on to round up a semi-trailer on a short, up­hill over­tak­ing lane.

Fuel econ­omy is im­pres­sive too — roughly 6.0L/100km on our round trip. That’s a fair way off the claimed 4.2L/100km but it’s still a solid re­sult given the ex­tra load. Back in town, in heavy traf­fic, we still keep be­low 10.0L.

The seats, trimmed in Al­can­tara and leather, give good sup­port and ad­just for dif­fer­ing body shapes — the mas­sage func­tions are for show only, with lit­tle or no ther­a­peu­tic value.

Our only ques­tion mark is over the panoramic glass roof, which ex­poses the cabin to our un­for­giv­ing sun. It adds an airy open feel but on warmer days, even with the sun­shade in place, you need to crank the air­con to com­pen­sate for the tem­per­a­ture in­crease.

The best news about the 308 is that it has been fault free over our ex­tended loan pe­riod. French cars have a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing tem­per­a­men­tal but ours hasn’t missed a beat.

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