Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Driveway - Chris Ri­ley

PEU­GEOT's new gen­er­a­tion 308 small car has ar­rived with a $5000 price cut and a new three-pot petrol turbo en­gine.

Peu­geot seems fo­cused on cap­tur­ing more sales in Aus­tralia with its new model.

They bench­marked VW's Golf and want Mazda3 buy­ers to con­sider the all-new Pug small car and that just might hap­pen this time around.

The new 308 won this year's Euro­pean Car of the Year award, and the company points out its added value and class as well as com­fort as im­por­tant fac­tors, along with four mil­lion kilo­me­tres of test­ing and a body that's 140 kilo­grams lighter.

But the first mod­els to ar­rive here miss out on a rear-view cam­era as stan­dard equip­ment.

The price kick-off is $21,990 – pretty good when com­pared with the com­pe­ti­tion, though some are less and have drive­away pric­ing.

The base 308 has steel wheels and a mono in­fo­tain­ment screen.

At the other end of the scale, the Allure tour­ing wagon runs a 110kW diesel and auto and sells for $37,490.

The car is avail­able else­where in a choice of hatch­back and wagon bod­ies, five equip­ment lev­els, six-speed au­to­matic and man­ual gear­boxes, and three en­gines with six power out­puts.

Per­haps the most in­ter­est­ing is the new PureTech three-cylin­der with self-shift­ing six-speeder that helps it meet com­ing Euro6 emis­sion reg­u­la­tions.

Sime Darby, the lo­cal Peu­geot/Citroen im­porter, has to con­tend with a two-stage launch phase for the 308 with the 1.2litre turbo triple and 2.0-litre four-cylin­der turbo diesel here now and 1.6-litre petrol en­gine due in March.

The en­try level is the $21,990 hatch with Ac­cess pack, PureTech 1.2 (96kW/ 230Nm) and five-speed man­ual.

Kit in­cludes six airbags, air­con, the usual elec­tronic aids and a com­pact leather-wrapped wheel.

Thank­fully the 308 has soft­touch plas­tics, new switches, and sound­proof­ing to deaden un­wanted sound from the wheels, a driv­e­train and wind.

The pre­view was in France over mixed driv­ing con­di­tions de­signed to high­light the 308’s strengths.

Most in­ter­est was on the base model which doesn't re­ally feel ‘base’ in the ac­cepted sense.

The triple has stop-start and de­liv­ers plenty of pep while the six speed auto cap­tures avail­able torque ef­fi­ciently.

The cabin has ad­e­quate room for five inside and it feels big­ger than a Golf in this area.

Ride and han­dling are up to Peu­geot's high stan­dards, but the en­try level 308 couldn't be con­sid­ered sporty at all.

Eas­ily the best new Peu­geot in a long time.

The 308 is Peu­geot’s best in a long time.

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