Cutting a dash-board
THE Peugeot 308 is a classy individual that delights in bringing a novel take on the tried-and-trusted family hatchback formula. There are a number of clever ideas that grab the attention as soon as you slide into the driver’s seat.
Fire up the engine via the pushbutton ignition and something on the dashboard dials catches your eye. As you drive along you realise it is the rev counter which operates in reverse to the speedo so both needles head towards each other as you accelerate.
They are all part of the French car maker’s ultra modern, but slightly off the wall, i-Cockpit design which announces itself via a steering wheel which is smaller than normal and set below the dials.
Peugeot doesn’t want your eyes to stray for too long from the road so avoids making you peer between steering wheel spokes, but the low-down positioning won’t be to everybody’s taste.
I found it gave the car a sporty feel and set the tone for a neat cabin whose centre point is a 9.7-inch touchscreen giving access to the radio, dual-zone air conditioning and an efficient navigation system.
With all those dials and buttons removed the car’s centre console offers an uncluttered look that is easy on the eye.
Good quality materials are used while the fit and finish are excellent. Nice touches include natty air vents while Peugeot doesn’t stint on the levels of kit included.
The Allure model I drove is one up from the Active entry-level trim and adds a panoramic glass roof, electric parking brake, snazzy 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors and powered wing mirrors to the impressive infotainment system offering Apple and Android smartphone connectivity, plus automatic wipers and lights already included.
Step up to the GT Line and GT models and further delights such as tinted rear windows and a ‘GT’ instrument panel display are thrown in.
There is plenty of room up front but things are a little tighter in the rear as Peugeot have given the model a sizeable 470-litre boot. It can be expanded to 1,309 litres with the rear seats folded over and caters nicely for the needs of family motoring.
The second generation of the 308 benefited from a minor facelift in the middle of 2017 which revamped the front and rear bumpers, bringing the model into line with the new 3008 SUV.
The exterior design looks sharper with the grille now boasting a jewel-studded effect on all levels of trim except the entry model.
The 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine under the bonnet of my test car offers plenty of get up and go as 62mph is reached from a standing start in a shade over ten seconds on the way to a claimed top speed of 125mph.
Aided and abetted by a slick six-speed manual gearbox, the awardwinning PureTech unit sips fuel frugally, achieving a claimed economy figure in excess of 60mpg and emissions of 107g/km.
The 308 offers an engaging drive with sharp handling and lots of confidence-inspiring grip, allowing you to get out of tight corners with ease. The ride is reasonably smooth although it does get a bit jiggly over rougher road surfaces. That said, this is a well balanced motor that majors on ensuring all occupants are transported in comfort.
The 308 is a stylish, hi-tech, modern motor that is an able contender in a highly competitive sector of the market.