Peu­geot 308 1,2T Al­lure AT

With a mi­nor facelift and a new line-up of­fer­ing just one spec level, this Gal­lic hatch re­turns to our mar­ket in an­other at­tempt to per­suade South Africans of its charms

Car (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

AF­TER be­ing AWOL from Peu­geot’s price lists for a year, the French man­u­fac­turer has rein­tro­duced its mid­size hatch­back to the South African mar­ket. The 308 is a ve­hi­cle the CAR team has come to re­gard highly and it’s with some dis­ap­point­ment we’ve noted its low sales vol­umes in our mar­ket since its launch here in 2015 (lit­tle more than 10 units a month).

Now, along with the mildest of facelifts, Peu­geot has re­jigged the line-up, jet­ti­son­ing the Ac­tive, GT Line and GT mod­els and re­tain­ing only the Al­lure spec in ei­ther man­ual or au­to­matic con gu­ra­tions. The aes­thetic up­date is, as men­tioned, a mi­nor one, with a restyled front bumper adopt­ing larger air in­takes and a re­designed di­a­mond­clus­ter grille to add some frontal ag­gres­sion to its nose. Other than this, though, it’s the same 308 as be­fore.

When this facelift was in­tro­duced abroad in May 2017, it in­cluded a new eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion re­plac­ing the EAT6 which also does ser­vice in our 3008 long-ter­mer (see page 81). How­ever, our mar­ket re­tains the six-speed torque-con­verter. Along with its turbo-triple 1,2-litre en­gine, this re­mains a great pow­er­train com­bi­na­tion, though, and re ned progress is the or­der of the day.

De­spite los­ing out to a VW Golf 1,4 TSI and Opel As­tra 1,4T in a com­par­a­tive test back in June 2016, credit was given to the Peu­geot’s classy de­sign, both in and out, and gen­er­ous GT Line stan­dard spec. This Al­lure may have less in the way of stan­dard fea­tures but its speci cation re­mains gen­er­ous with 16-inch al­loy wheels, front and rear park­ing sen­sors, au­to­matic head­lamps and rain-sens­ing wipers, cruise con­trol, dual-zone cli­mate con­trol and a 9,7-inch touch­screen in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem with phone mir­ror­ing all stan­dard.

As well equipped as it ap­pears on pa­per, some of our testers felt the cabin to be a bit sparse in its over­all de­sign, lack­ing some vari­a­tion in tex­tures and nishes. There were also fa­mil­iar crit­i­cisms of Peu­geot’s i-cock­pit lay­out with its com­pact steer­ing and high-on-the-dash in­stru­ment panel; the wheel can ob­scure the

di­als for taller folk, un­like in the 3008, which has a wider range of driv­ing-po­si­tion op­tions.

In terms of driv­ing dy­nam­ics, our ini­tial opin­ion of it hav­ing a fun-to-pi­lot per­sona was again con­firmed; it’s a char­ac­ter­is­tic made es­pe­cially im­pres­sive given its tor­sion-beam rear­sus­pen­sion setup. The 308’s sup­ple ride, light yet di­rect steer­ing and punchy three-pot en­gine trans­late into an en­gag­ing hatch­back. Con­tribut­ing to the cush­ioned ride are the 16-inch wheels wrapped in gen­er­ously side­walled 205/55 R16 rub­ber (ver­sus 45-pro­file tyres en­velop­ing 17-inch wheels on that GT Line we tested pre­vi­ously).

On our scales, the Al­lure model reg­is­tered 23 kg less than be­fore. This mi­nor mass re­duc­tion had an im­pact on our per­for­mance test­ing and the Al­lure posted a 0-100 km/h ac­cel­er­a­tion fig­ure of 9,67 sec­onds, which is 0,57 sec­onds quicker than the time we achieved with the GT Line. Apart from the 40-60 km/h bracket re­main­ing the same at 1,83 sec­onds, in-gear ac­cel­er­a­tion is marginally quicker, too. The 100-0 km/h av­er­age brak­ing time is 2,90 sec­onds (0,04 sec­onds slower).

Not that these fig­ures made driv­ing the Al­lure feel any dif­fer­ent to the GT Line we pre­vi­ously tested. The real ques­tion is whether or not the Al­lure feels less spe­cial than its pricier for­mer sib­ling. Notable fea­tures miss­ing in this trim are LED head­lamps,

a rear park­ing cam­era, key­less en­try, pri­vacy glass and leather seats with mas­sag­ing func­tion. By our reck­on­ing, while they are cer­tainly nice-to-have items, they are not missed in this pack­age and, when stacked up against a di­rect power-out­put com­peti­tor such as the Volk­swa­gen Golf 1,4 TSI Comfortline, the 308 is bet­ter equipped.

TEST SUM­MARY

The fact there is only one speci cation in the 308 line-up is yet an­other in­di­ca­tion how our mar­ket has swung away from sedans and mid­size hatch­backs to SUVS and crossovers.

That said, this 308 re­mains an ex­cel­lent ex­am­ple of a fam­ily hatch­back (bear­ing in mind rear legroom could be bet­ter) and, in Al­lure spec, adds bet­ter val­ue­for-money ap­peal and a com er ride thanks to the plumper tyres. It’s an im­pres­sive com­peti­tor in a niche dom­i­nated by a peren­nial heavy­weight, the Volk­swa­gen Golf, and the 308 will soon have to face fur­ther com­pe­ti­tion from the new Ford Fo­cus (a hatch that, based on our drive at its in­ter­na­tional launch last month, could have what it takes to de­throne the Golf).

Peu­geot SA is cur­rently cov­er­ing all its bases and, for a lim­ited time, is now of­fer­ing its own cross­over – a new de­riv­a­tive of the 3008 with a 1,2-litre en­gine and in Ac­tive spec – for ex­actly the same price as the 308 tested here. The hatch­back is slightly bet­ter equipped cour­tesy of its Al­lure trim but, of course, with the cross­over you have the added bene t of bet­ter pack­ag­ing. Based on our nd­ings in the 3008’s long-term as­sess­ment, the big­ger ve­hi­cle looks to be the bet­ter buy.

clock­wise from left Min­i­mal­ist cabin de­sign not widely adored but there’s no fault­ing the fit and fin­ish; 16-inch al­loys stan­dard; re­designed bumper the most no­tice­able tweak.

A first-rate Peu­geot but it’s dif­fi­cult to over­look the 3008 Ter­ence Steenkamp

Very good al­ter­na­tive. Ser­vice plan should be longer Wil­helm Lut­je­harms

Solid prod­uct lack­ing some flair Ni­col Louw

from be­low Un­der­stated, classy de­sign has aged well; rear legroom is at a pre­mium and ac­cess is tight due to small aper­tures but the bench is com­fort­ably sculpted.

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