Q1 2015 has been rather dry in the ‘new car’ scene, as it marks an all new beginning to what could be a successful year for a manufacturer. They’ve all spent the last couple of months preparing their latest iterations for our market and whilst they do that – it gives us motoring journalists some time to rest, recuperate and relax. We have them to thank for that; but… the break is over and it’s time to get busy again.
First up – recently we’ve been cordially invited for a Media Drive to try out the latest French car in the market, the all-new Peugeot 308 THP. It’s been a while since I went for one of these, so I’ve sort of lost touch with what’s important in an introductory drive like this. Nevertheless, here are my first impressions.
The Peugeot 308. It is now in it’s second generation and oddly enough, it has taken the world of cars by storm since it’s launch in late 2013; as it has won a couple of highly revered awards since. Like the hallowed “2014 European Car of the Year” award for example. Many has been itching for a taste ever since it’s introduction and better late than never; it is safe to say that we are glad it has arrived.
No – the all-new 308 did not have much to live up to against it’s old predecessor, as that was one ghastly vehicle that became infamous for it’s reliability. Or rather the lack of it. But that has not stopped Peugeot from trying and I’m happy to report that in my short 24 hours with it, I found it to be quite an impressive piece of kit.
Our drive began from The Saujana Hotel in Subang, with a well planned route to tour up to the east coast towards Terengganu and back to the capital again the following day. The route promises an all round experience of the different aspects to the vehicle such as performance, driving dynamics, comfort and economy. As all that was settled, we kicked-off for the long drive with the 308 THP.
As the French manufacturer set it’s sights for the class benchmark Volkswagen Golf, the all-new Peugeot 308 has gone through a couple of technical and engineering changes that promises for an improved all round experience for both drivers and passengers. Sharing the same platform as the Citroen C4 Picasso, the most significant change is the weight shedding process on the new car, with a diet that has cut a monumental 140kg over it’s predecessor.
Packing a 1.6-litre turbocharged 4 potter, the 308 THP produces a respectful 150 bhp and 240nm of torques at it’s disposal. Paired to a 6-speed Aisin automatic transmission, it will do the 100kph sprint from zero in 8 seconds and keep accelerating all the way to 211kph. Whilst performance is priority, the 308 THP also promises to be frugal with a claimed 48mpg figure.
On paper – it’s performance may not match it’s arch rival from Germany but where it loses on figures, the Peugeot 308 makes it back up with it’s charm and fresh styling. There is a lot to appreciate in the body lines and curves which makes it an absolute looker, thus undoubtedly making it a great best seller candidate in the market. Aesthetics are the French’s forte, and by miles the new 308 trumps over the last generation in that department alone.
Peugeot calls their design – “The Art of Simplicty and Emotion”, matching style and efficiency along in the shape. Yes, it produces a rather impressive drag coefficient amount but let’s be honest, you don’t particularly care. What does matter though, it comes with 18″ Lightweight alloys as standard wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 3 for that added traction. Just like any typical new car, it stands as the shiny new toy that looks pretty, but unlike those designs that fade away after the first trimester, I reckon the all-new 308’s design will still impress you through till the end of it’s lifecycle.
Moving on into the interior. Here, I believe Peugeot has taken the most significant effort in changing, and it has changed for the better. The dash is ergonomically pleasant, matched with new soft-touch material that beckons an interaction with. The last generation 308 felt tacky at times which was never a sign of confidence from the brand.
Driver and passenger on the front will accolade it’s highly comfortable, yet rather supportive seats matched with a decent space end-to-end for ease and comfort. The downfall is at the back seat, where the rear legroom has been compromised and thanks to the 308’s panoramic glass roof and high seating position at the back, taller adults (above 5’10) will find that it lacks in headroom.
With that said – the 308 comes pretty well equipped with gizmos like keyless start and entry, the massive 9.7inch infotainment system and that love-or-hate panoramic glass roof which should appeal to modern buyers who lusts after premium items.
Oh… before I forget. Many who hates the ridiculous steering position that blocks the meter cluster that comes in all modern Peugeots? Well – it’s still here in the new 308. Too bad.
All-in-all though – I think the all-new 308 THP has been an excellent effort from the brand. Especially looking back to it’s predecessor, it shows that Peugeot has moved on into a new era, proving that they can make excellent contenders to their German rivals.
At RM 132,888.00 – the 308 THP is priced at a highly competitive price against it’s rivals from both Europe and Germany, and if you’re looking for something that’s fresh and conditionally charming in the C-segment; this will be you’re latest option out there. For more information, visit the nearest Peugeot showroom or log on to www.peugeot.com.my.
Words & Photos: Qhalis Najmi