With the ever changing motor vehicle market, the wagon has become an endangered species. Over the years, manufactures have put the once popular family haul design on the back burner in favour of the modern SUV. However, Peugeot has refreshed the 308 range which now includes the practical touring wagon.
With two models available, we had the top of the line Allure Premium to road test. Gone is the typical dowdy design of the wagon and instead buyers are greeted with a sleek, streamlined and balanced exterior. A twist of luxury is evident with a panoramic moon roof and 18” alloy wheels and looks aren’t compromised with slender aluminium roof rails. Enter with ease thanks to keyless entry and be welcomed by the signature Peugeot i-Cockpit – an uncluttered, clear and informative design. As I have previously spoken about, the Peugeot way of life takes a little getting used to, but once you’re there, it’s obvious that the 308 features a well refined interior.
The driving experience is pleasant and is aided by a car packed with technology including active cruise control with emergency collision alert and emergency braking system. The list continues with electric parking brake, hill assist, push button start and my personal favourite driving technology: blind spot monitoring. No matter how good of a drive you may think you are, I guarantee you have had at least one incident or near miss when parking but the 308 Allure Premium limits your chances of a repeat performance with a very clear reverse camera, front and rear parking sensors and automated park assist.
As for entertainment, the Peugeot i-Cockpit houses a pretty advanced system with a huge 9.7” touch screen, 6.9GB jukebox for music storage, Bluetooth connectivity, 2 USB ports and steering wheel mounted audio controls. Information is clearly displayed on the head up instrument cluster and multi-function digital display; and while you may get lost at first in the Peugeot operating system, you will never get lost on your journey with satellite navigation at your fingertips.
As you would expect from the top of the range, comfort is at a premium with dual-zone air conditioning, leather trimmed steering wheel, electric lumbar adjustment and massage features for both the driver and passenger chairs and rear centre armrest with cup holders. The nature of the touring wagon means that rear storage is of obvious importance to the buyer and with 60/40 split folding rear seats – a storage combination can be formed for almost any situation. With a decent 625L capacity with all five seats occupied and a generous 1,740L maximum – your transporting issues are a thing of the past.
It’s all very well to be packed, comfortable and ready to go, but what’s under the hood is really going to affect your journey from Point A to Point B. With a choice of either a 1.6L turbo petrol or 2.0L turbo diesel, our test vehicle was fitted with the latter. Producing 110kW of power @ 3,750rpm and 370Nm of torque @ 2,000rpm and is superbly matched to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The drive itself is secure, confident and responsive – leaving no doubt that the 308 is capable of carrying whatever you chuck in the boot while not compromising fuel efficiency or performance. While we didn’t reach Peugeot’s claimed 5.0L around town figure, it was nothing to be gawked at. The stop-start system was smooth, road noise minimal and the firm suspension provides an unexpectedly compliant and even ride.
With over 4 million km of road testing, Peugeot must have done something right with the 308 as it won the coveted ‘2014 European Car of the Year’ award. Quite honestly it’s a perfect example of a practical, classic family style car revitalised to suit the demands of the 21st century market. Another case of where the unapologetic, carve-their-own-path French philosophy has succeeded. At $44,975* drive away, the 308 Touring Allure Premium represents value and should definitely make it on your list to test-drive when looking for a vehicle to transport the family or embark on your next adventure.
*drive away price for postcode 2000 and is subject to change