I had just set off for a drive in Peugeot’s compact SUV the 2008 1.6 HDi Allure when there was an almighty screech and the light in the infotainment centre flashed a warning that there was a flat tyre.
Brian Joss – So I headed to the nearest filling station where the petrol jockey pointed to the left front tyre which was almost as flat as a pancake. He also told me there was a nail in the right back wheel. But before he put the air in he wanted to know how many bar. I shrugged my shoulders. Like an idiot, I had forgotten to read the manual, as I usually do when I get a new car for a test drive. He didn’t know either and asked one of his colleagues who pointed to a tag on the sill at the bottom of the driver’s door which has all the necessary info.
Then the warning sign said I had to reinitialise the system. Huh? Not a great start I thought. Sometimes I am a Luddite when it comes to things electronic, but the instructions were clear so I touched the screen, did what I was instructed to do and like magic, everything was back to normal, and there were no more warnings of any sort for the rest of the time I had the Allure. The Allure is indeed alluring and although I prefer automatic transmission I enjoyed driving the SUV with its five-speed manual gearbox mated to the 1 600cc turbo-diesel engine. Even in heavy traffic.
Comparisons are odious, as the cliché goes, so I was intrigued to see how the three-cylinder GT Line 1.2 PureTech Auto (tested) matched up to the HDi.
The figures make interesting reading which prove that sometimes less is more. The GT Line delivers 85Kw@5 500rpm and 205 N.m@ 1 500rpm while the HDi puts out 68Kw@4 000 r/min and 230N.m@ 1 750 rpm.
In other words the diesel power plant is no Speedy Gonzales: it’s best driven at the legal limit and will get you where you want to go, in the same time as its speedier little sister.
Peugeot said that the Blue HDi 1.6 diesel engine is an “exclusive combination of the Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology and additivated Diesel Particulate Filter, which removes 99.9% of all particles”. Actually that’s jargon: Peugeot means that the HDi is a miser with fuel, 4 litres/100km, which is up to four per cent lower than the Euro5 engines”. Well, that figure may be achieved in a perfect world. But not in the driving conditions us ordinary mortals have to endure during our daily grind. The closest I could get to that figure was just over 5litres/100km in a town and country cycle. Not too shabby, really. The test route included a few twisty mountainous roads, long stretches of open road, a rutted path to a fruit farm, and the 1.6 HDi coped with it all.
I’ve always liked the French marques: Renault (I had a Renault 9 TS for 22 years and sold it for almost what I paid for it). A friend had a second-hand Peugeot (404) bakkie he used in the business he bought when he moved to Cape Town more than 20 years ago. The bakkie had already notched up several thousand kilometres and despite its age, and battered body, it still managed to haul substantial loads up Kloof Nek and other hilly parts of the Peninsula without too much hassle. But it began to show its age: it was hard to get it in to reverse gear, and when he needed to change a tyre, he discovered the spare had been stolen. How the thieves managed it he couldn’t
say: apparently you had to have a special spanner to get the tyre out from underneath. The bakkie was eventually sold along with the business and the new owner had quite a few more years’ service out of it, and probably spent a little money to keep it roadworthy.
But I digress. The 2008 was first unveiled in 2013 and arrived in South Africa towards the end of 2016. The changes since 2013 are quite subtle and inside it boasts Peugeot’s much vaunted iCockpit, which I’ve highlighted previously. On-board connectivity includes the mirror screen feature which allows you to link your compatible smartphone to the touch screen. Other outer design tweaks include wheel arch extensions, a new vertical front grille and scuff plates and rear door moulding. Black and chrome headlamps and a touch of class. Boot space is 410 litres expanding to 1 400 litres with the rear seats folded down.
Back-seat passengers may find it a bit cramped in terms of leg room. But you can’t have everything, although, one little old lady (with short legs) who came along for the drive, said it was extremely comfortable.
The Allure has 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, part-leather upholstery, automatic bi-zone climate control, automatic head lights and windscreen wipers, folding rear-view mirrors and tinted rear windows.
Absent from the HDi is the grip control function which is fitted to the GT Line. But I doubt it would be used much in the South African environment.
I enjoyed driving the Allure: it has all the comforts of home. There’s also a refrigerated glove box to keep your drinks cool. It’s a sedate car so don’t expect to burn rubber at the off. It’s smooth driving all the way, although the stop-start function is a bit jerky, and I’m not sure how much fuel this feature saves. There was no sign of any turbo lag and there’s a lot of torque accompanied by the low growl of a typical diesel escaping from the exhaust.
The HDi is not a speed freak and for those who are interested in statistics it can reach 100km/h in 11.5 secs and, according to Peugeot, it has a top speed of 181km/h. I found it easy to get a comfortable driving position thanks to the adjustable steering wheel. The alphabet soup of safety features include ABS with EBD, driver and passenger airbags, curtain airbags and side airbags. The Allure ticks all the right boxes and an attraction would be its miserly way with fuel, although nowhere near Peugeot’s claimed 4litres/100km. Buying a new car? Then put it on your list as it’s well worth a second look.
The Allure comes with a three-year or 100 000 km warranty or a 45 000 km service plan, and the usual 15 000 service intervals apply. The Allure is priced at R299 900, but check with your dealer.