Choice of fill­ings

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - In The Garage -

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.

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