A HOT LIT­TLE PERCOLATOR

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page - Craig Duff

1. HOT HATCH HAS A HOT PRICE

The Peu­geot 308 GTi costs $44,990 on the road right now, or $1000 less than its reg­u­lar sticker price be­fore dealer de­liv­ery and reg­is­tra­tion fees. That should in­stantly earn it a place on hot hatch short­lists, given it un­der­cuts the likes of the Hyundai i30 N in most states (Hyundai’s drive-away deal ranges from $44,000-$48,000) and comes with the re­as­sur­ance of a five-year, un­lim­ited kilo­me­tre war­ranty, the in­dus­try stan­dard these days un­less you’re buy­ing a Toy­ota. Ser­vice in­ter­vals are 12 months/ 15,000km and the first three ser­vices come to a less-than-stel­lar $2020.

2. FEA­TURE LIST IS EX­TEN­SIVE

Peu­geot hasn’t skimped on the fea­tures in the GTi, with a 9.7-inch in­fo­tain­ment screen pack­ing smart­phone mir­ror­ing and sat­nav, auto lights and wipers, air­con­di­tioned glove­box and front seats with a mas­sage func­tion. The safety suite has six airbags, lane keep as­sist and blind spot mon­i­tor­ing. AEB is an ob­vi­ous omis­sion on the go-fast 308, sim­ply be­cause it uses a man­ual gear­box. Ma­te­ri­als in the pas­sen­ger’s line of sight gen­er­ally look and feel classy; the plas­tics lower down in the cabin are less vis­ually im­pres­sive but solid.

3. IT’S FAST AND FRU­GAL

The 308 uses a 1.6-litre turbo (200kW/330Nm) to pro­pel its 1178kg from rest to 100km/h in just 6.0 sec­onds. The en­gine is docile enough low in the revs to be un­ob­tru­sive around town but comes alive as the tacho nee­dle sweeps (an­ti­clock­wise) beyond 3000 revs. As with the Hyundai, a man­ual is the only trans­mis­sion and the ra­tios are well cho­sen to keep the en­gine per­co­lat­ing on up­shifts, though the throw is a touch too long for mine. Claimed thirst is just 6.0L/100km and we re­turned 7.8L.

4. THE CABIN IS COM­PRO­MISED

Peu­geot’s ap­proach to a head-up dis­play has been to el­e­vate the in­stru­ment panel to the top of the dash­board, the ra­tio­nale be­ing that it keeps the speedo in the driver’s line of sight. The re­al­ity is that the small steer­ing wheel ob­scures ei­ther the speedo or the di­als de­pend­ing on where it is set — most own­ers will set it low to avoid im­pair­ing vi­sion. It isn’t the most in­tu­itive set-up.

5. CARGO CA­PAC­ITY IS CLASS-LEAD­ING

The 470L boot makes the 308 GTi a ver­sa­tile per­former rel­a­tive to its hot hatch op­po­si­tion. Flip down the 60-40 fold­ing back seats and that space ex­pands to 1309L. The rear seats just ac­com­mo­date three adults, which is what you’d ex­pect from a car this com­pact, but rear legroom is tight if those up front have the seats set back. Stor­age space is limited and the sin­gle cup-holder nes­tled be­tween the front pews won’t take larger bot­tles.

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