The 2014 European Car of the Year is finally available in South Africa. Peugeot SA this month launches the all-new 308 hatchback, heralding the advent of the marque’s most advanced hatchback to date.
Designed around Peugeot’s new-generation Efficient Modular Platform 2 (EMP2,) the new 308 combines compact, wieldy dimensions and a substantially reduced kerb mass with an advanced, high-efficiency drivetrain to deliver exceptional dynamics and frugal fuel consumption.
The interior execution reflects the advanced nature of the 308, as well as close attention to design detail, high comfort levels and tactile quality. The cockpit design combines deeply recessed, highly visible instrument dials with a large, full-colour touchscreen display, while a multifunction steering wheel further benefits intuitive access to key functions and features.
Mirroring a design trend first introduced by the 208 and 2008, the 308’s ergonomic layout combines a small-diameter steering wheel with an elevated instrument binnacle, allowing an unencumbered view of the road and the key instrumentation.
Despite the fact that the new 308 is more compact than its predecessor, efficient packaging and intelligent design conspire to create a roomy cabin with spacious accommodation for front and rear occupants. Smart finishes, including textured surfaces, metallic accents and high-gloss inserts, establish an upmarket ambience, adding to the new Peugeot 308’s feel-good character.
Practicality remains a further 308 attraction, with a generous luggage compartment, and a 60/40-split rear bench seat that can be partly of completely folded flat to boost cargo space. A five-star Euro-NCAP rating underscores the new Peugeot hatchback’s exceptional safety standards, with a comprehensive array of active and passive safety features.
The new Peugeot 308 is initially offered in two variants, both employing Peugeot latest, high-efficiency PureTech engine technology. The cutting-edge, three-cylinder powerplant incorporates high-pressure direct injection, four valves per cylinder, and high-pressure turbocharging.
The result is a small-capacity engine with compact dimensions and low mass that emulates the power and torque of a much larger, more conventional and less efficient power plant, while achieving clear benefits as far as reduced exhaust emissions and lower fuel consumption are concerned.
Starting off the range is the Peugeot 308 Active, which is fitted with the 1.2 PureTech e-THP 110 engine. It produces a maximum power output of 81 kW at 5 500 r/min, combined with a generous 205 Nm of torque, available from just 1 500 r/min. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard.
By comparison, the 1.2 PureTech e-THP 130 engine fitted to the 308 GT Line elevates those output levels even further. Maximum power increases to an impressive 96 kW at 5 500 r/min, while torque now peaks at 240 Nm, already on song from only 1 750 r/min. The GT Line model gets a six-speed manual gearbox with optimised ratios.
The differences between the Active and GT Line models extend to exterior styling details and interior trim and equipment levels. For instance, the GT Line gains full LED headlights, a different grille, and twin, narrow-aperture tailpipes, as well as larger alloy wheels and more brightwork.
While both models offer a comprehensive array of standard equipment, the GT Line gains an extended features list, together with enhanced trim levels. However, the 9,7-inch touchscreen display is standard on both variants.
“The arrival of the new-generation Peugeot 308 in South Africa represents a quantum leap for the brand in the highly competitive C-segment hatchback market,” says Francis Harnie, managing director of Peugeot South Africa.
“Its strong suite of attributes, including reduced mass, high efficiency, dynamic prowess and marked quality all combine to create a car that looks elegant and contemporary, and feels every inch the 21st Century hatchback.”
Harnie points out that the new 308’s excellence has already been widely recognised. “It was crowned European Car of the Year in 2014, and has received numerous other awards around the globe. I’m particularly pleased that we are now able to share this excellence with our South African customers,” he concluded.