PUG HAS LOTS TO LOVE
REIGNING EURO CHAMPION DELIVERS ON ITS PROMISES
NOT for nothing is Peugeot's 308 reigning as Euro Car of the Year.
The handsome French hatch, available with 1.2 litre three-cylinder and 1.6 litre four-cylinder petrol or 2.0-litre diesel engines, is a lot more than a pretty face.
The latest 308 is all-new: platform, suspension, engine, interior, the works, and it's a delight.
Our steed was the 1.6 litre Allure, the mid-spec model in the range, and priced from $32,790. The 1.2 model is about $4500 less and the Allure Premium $3650 more. There's also a smart wagon, called Touring for $2700 extra.
The 1.6 puts out 110kW and 240Nm to its 17-inch front wheels via a smooth six-speed automatic transmission and official fuel consumption is a pretty impressive 6.5litres/100km.
The cabin is very well presented, with a clean, businesslike dash, clear instrumentation, a big touchscreen and excellent seating.
The small oval steering wheel sits nice and low, and there's ample leg and headroom fore and aft, with a decent-sized boot, which can be expanded from a useful 435 litres to a gigantic 1274.
Other good bits include LED lights, aircon in the glovebox, tyre pressure monitoring, auto-on lights and wipers, and the whole bouillabaisse of safety gear.
The new engine is happy to rev and the slick auto transmission seems to have exactly the right ratios for quick, confident passage. The auto-shifter can be flicked left for tiptronic manual use, but there are no steeringwheel paddles.
Handling has always been a Peugeot strong point and the 308 is no exception. It gives a wonderfully comfy, composed ride with outstanding on-road dynamics.
The car sits lower than the previous model and use of an advanced new platform has made it lighter (by 140kg) and more efficient.
But taking a tad of gloss off the car was the absence of a reversing camera. These days it's standard on cars half the Pug's price.
Verdict: There's a lot to love in the 308.
The new 308 is Euro Car of the Year for good reason.