Choice of fillings
AS our Peugeot wagon leaves the Carsguide garage, we’re left pondering the relative virtues of diesel and petrol power.
There’s no doubt the day-today running expenses of a diesel are considerably lower, especially given the fact that diesel is roughly the same price as petrol at the moment. Based on Peugeot’s fuel economy claims, our diesel wagon uses about 35 per cent less fuel on the freeway and about 43 per cent less around town.
There’s an upfront cost for the diesel, though. The 308 wagon costs about $1800 more than the petrol version and on our rough calculations it would take a little less than three years to recoup that cost at the bowser if you drove the national average of 15,000km a year, mostly in the city.
There are other pros and cons to consider. In the plus column, there’s no doubt that the 308’s diesel outpunches the petrol equivalent, especially when loaded with kids and holiday gear — you’ll notice it more up hills and when overtaking on the freeway.
Among the minuses, refilling still isn’t as user-friendly as a petrol car. There are fewer bowsers and that can mean a wait to refuel. The standard of bowser also varies between forecourts. Some fill-ups were trouble and odour-free. Others left an unmistakeable grime and smell on the hands.
Then there are the environmental pros and cons: diesels emit less CO2 per kilometre because they are more efficient but they also emit oxides of nitrogen and particulate matter, which have adverse health effects.
Thankfully, the 308 has the latest diesel particulate filter but that too adds complexity. If you don’t stretch the diesel’s legs occasionally to clear the filter you can get engine problems associated with soot build-up.
If I were retired and living in the country, or if I had a long daily commute, I’d plump for the diesel. For the 10km trip to work each morning, I’d probably settle for the petrol.
Other than the choice of fuel, there was little else to trouble us during our time with the 308. It ran flawlessly, took corners like a hatchback and gobbled up the luggage and passengers. Makes you wonder why SUVs are so popular.