French cars have come a long way. It was just the other day you would get into a car and know its origin. That was not always a bad thing, but as time progressed, the public wanted something more German, something that was luxurious and also felt good to the touch.
The 308 has come a long way in nearly every way. The whole car seems to have been changed for the better. For one, it feels less French and in my opinion is a good thing. There is soft touch material nearly everywhere and you get the impression that they are going after the Germans – hard.
The new engine is a 1.2 – 3 cylinder turbocharged unit, making a decent 96kw and 230nm. It’s nippy for its capacity and has plenty of smooth torque. Probably the most impressive thing is its acceleration ability in top gear. It’s mated to an ultra-smooth 6 speed gearbox and the clutch is feather light. There is also a hill hold function for those living in the cities and who desperately need it. While fuel consumption claimed is around 5l/100kph, we averaged closer to 6l/100km on the open road at freeway speeds.
The interior, which is a mixture of half leather, feels great. The seats are also fully bolstered and feature a hint of red stitching. The interior design is minimalistic to say the least and everything feels clutter-less. Simple things like positioning of the hazards switch is conveniently right above the gearshift so that you don’t have to stretch to push it in an overtaking situation. The climate control and mostly all of the vehicles electronics is controlled from the touch screen. It took me a while to get used to it, but once that happens, it seems to be second nature.
While the small steering is something to get used to, it seems to have been better positioned and does not affect the cockpit view as much as before. There is now a clear view of the speedo and rev counter without having the wheel block that. The steering is also adjustable in height and reach.
For tall drivers there is ample space behind the wheel and you could find yourself wanting in certain adjustments. Do bear in mind though, that with your seat all the way back there is limited room for the rear passengers.
The Bi-Xenon headlights are simply nothing short of amazing and light up the dark night like the sun. I’ve experienced these sorts of lights before…in vehicles nearly 2 or 3 times the price. It’s really refreshing to see that more affordable cars can also have high quality headlights.
There is a standard 3 year 60 000km service plan and a buy back option after three years. The Peugeot retails for R329 900 and is available right now.