Peugeot’s 308 has all the hallmarks of a winner

001-off-my-wheelsBrian Joss –

The French certainly know how to do things with flair: they’ve also got good taste which is why the new Peugeot 308 is one of the top selling brands in France.

Last week I was driving around in the Peugeot 308 1.2 PureTech GT Line. The 308 really is an attractive looking car, with some classy touches inside.

The Peugeot 308 1.2 PureTech GT Line: an attractive looking car
The Peugeot 308 1.2 PureTech GT Line: an attractive looking car

The GT Line boasts a “unique” grille with central badge and full LED headlights. I liked the clean design of the cabin, and especially the 24.6cm infotainment centre where you can adjust the climate control, get trip info and more, at the touch of a finger. So there are no more buttons or dials, except one for the audio control. However, you can also do it by touch and  you  don’t need to be a rocket scientist to operate it.

The Peugeot 308 1.2 PureTech GT Line: the neat and uncluttered interior. Pictures: Motorpress
The Peugeot 308 1.2 PureTech GT Line: the neat and uncluttered interior. Pictures: Motorpress

The GL line is powered by Peugeot’s new 1.2-litre, direct injection three-cylinder turbopetrol engine.

My test route (twice to Stellenbosch and Wellington) took me over some quite hilly terrain, through country roads and heavy traffic and always the 308 performed admirably and energetically. The six-speed manual transmission was sharp. However, if you want to do a fast overtake you will have to do some quick gear-shifting. The 308 is quite happy cruising along and the 1.2 PureTech engine provides a more than satisfying performance.  It holds the road well and even around some bends, pushing it a bit, the 308 held on tightly, without any body roll. The ride too is smooth and potholes and corrugations, especially where road repairs were in progress, didn’t seem to bother the 308 too much. There’s no cabin noise to speak of: you can even have a conversation with the back seat passenger without having to raise your voice.

I found the leather-Alcantara seats (with red-stitching) comfortable with plenty of support. It’s also quite easy to get into a good driving position, but depending on the adjustments the steering wheel may obscure some of the figures on the instrument cluster.  The front seats are electrically adjustable and have a massage function. The front passenger, though, complained they were a bit hard. But my friend at the back was quite happy and she also commented on the smooth ride.

Although I thought the steering wheel was a bit small I soon got used to it.  I liked the stop-start feature which was a boon when I found myself in some really heavy traffic. Although I am not sure how much fuel you really save. And speaking of fuel , the PureTech motor is quite frugal.  Peugeot claims 6 litres/100km in a town and country cycle. My figures were a little higher: closer to 6.7 litres/ 100km, also in a combined environment.  Theoretically speaking the 53-litre tank could take you 600 kms depending on how you drive. For the tech-heads: the GT Line delivers 96 kW @ 5 500 r/min; torque is 230 N.m @ 1 750 r/min, top speed, according to Peugeot, is 205km/h.

Inside, space is more than adequate in the front and average at the back, but it doesn’t mean that the rear seat passengers will be squashed. There are not too many storage spaces but the glove box will hold your odds and sods. The  boot has a capacity of 407 litres and you can stuff a lot of shopping or luggage into it.

The 308 is chock-a-block with features: Bluetooth, cruise control, hill start assist, dual zone climate control (which is super-efficient), automatic headlights and wipers, an electronic handbrake, that operates when you switch on or turn the ignition off, electrically adjustable front seats with a massage function,  electric folding mirrors, parking sensors and the alphabet soup of safety features: ESP stability control, ABS, and side and curtain airbags.

Peugeot has a winner in the 308 1.2 PureTech GT Line.  There is a lot to like about it:  stylish looks, quality interior, comfortable drive, excellent handling, characteristics and a  frugal turbopetrol engine.

The sticker price is R329 900 and comes with a five year/60 000km maintenance plan.

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