This sleek new European vehicle seems to have it all, but one crucial element is holding it back and preventing it from being a commercial success.
For people who detest SUVs, a nice waggon is hard to beat. We put Peugeot’s 308 GT Premium to the test because it is a striking new addition.
JULES: Ah, the French have rediscovered the art of creating a stunning automobile.
IAIN: Isn’t that striking? The 308 waggon is one of the delicious vehicles in Peugeot’s current lineup.
JULES: Why don’t I see more on the roads?
IAIN: Peugeot offers prices that are comparable to luxury brands. It only provides high-end features, which explains our GT Premium wagon’s $55,000 drive-away price.
JULES: I hurt. Everybody had small, inexpensive Peugeots when I was a child in France. It’s odd that Australians think of them as exotic euros!
IAIN: Waggon competitors include the larger Skoda Octavia Style ($42,500 drive-away), the VW Golf 110TSI ($approximately $44,000 drive-away), and the Mini Clubman Cooper S ($59,000 drive-away).
JULES: Then, I want to be astounded. A smart place to start is with black 18-inch alloy wheels and LED matrix headlights with enormous LED teardrops.
IAIN: When you unlock the vehicle, the rear LED lights put on a magnificent, Knight Rider-like display. Special.
THE LIVING SPACE
JULES: We have Peugeots from the 1980s. Things have advanced considerably.
IAIN: Gone are dashboards made of plastic that were as sturdy as a snail shell. The 308 includes suede through the doors and dash, soft touch surfaces, and perforated Nappa leather seats with mattress-like padding.
JULES: They are quite cosy. The interior’s presentation and feel are similar to that of an Audi or BMW.
IAIN: But with a touch of French design. There are beautiful angles everywhere, and the minimalist central console’s tiny gear shift toggle.
IAIN: Peugeot’s “i-Cockpit” is back, The digital instrument panel is quite narrow and difficult to view.
JULES: Exactly, Although the steering wheel is short and chunky, it blocked my speedometer.
IAIN: The steering wheel was virtually in my lap so I could see the instruments, and I liked how low the seat was.
JULES: Talk about fancy, Wireless phone charging, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto are all available.
IAIN: Travelling by it is comfortable. The innovative tablet-like swiping through widgets on the 10-inch infotainment screen allows you to access your radio, navigation, and weather.
JULES: Keep going. It might be more agreeable. The separate touch panel is elegant, but a straightforward knob would need less time away from the road.
IAIN: From a driving perspective, the 308 glides around, the suspension gently absorbing bumps, but not in a way that makes you want to throw up. Also be silent internally.
JULES: The lane maintain system is too intrusive, but the radar cruise control is clever. A French girl’s hand gets jerked around by the steering wheel; how is she supposed to hold her croissant and espresso steady?
IAIN: Another oddity? The heated seats would not operate. It seems that they only do this when the outside temperature is sufficiently low. The driver should be in command, right?
JULES: Oh my God, I like waggons. Ingenious storage boxes at the sides and beneath the floor, as well as the lengthy boot.
IAIN: Spending $1500 more for the hatch is a no-brainer because it looks better and is much more useful.
JULES: The boot is opened with a swipe under the bumper, and there is a very clear 360-degree parking camera as well. I adore that.
IAIN: Alright, we’ve put it off for too long. a motor.
JULES: or its absence. 96kW from a three-cylinder 1.2-liter engine? Something bigger and sportier is what I’d anticipate.
IAIN: While you wait to reach 100 km/h, you can listen to the entire La Marseillaise. This automobile is not fast.
JULES: I was also slow to answer. Not good when I want to turn around quickly at an intersection.
IAIN: Sport mode extends the time the eight-speed automatic holds gears, and once moving, the 230Nm of turbo torque provides a brief period of thrilling pull.
JULES: Given how beautifully it handles, it wants more power.
IAIN: True, In rapid turns, the steering is precise and the body maintains its composure. Low profile tyres have excellent grip; more power is clearly needed.
JULES: Is there a plug-in hybrid version?
IAIN: With 132kW, yes. But the drive there costs a staggering $70,000 and is merely a hatch. Sorry, but that’s too pricey.
JULES: I had high hopes for the rear seats.
IAIN: Headroom is compromised by the slanting roof, and legroom is average. Peugeot needs to enlarge the glass roof so that large children won’t feel crammed within. The rear is far too dark.
JULES: At least the rear is livable thanks to air vents, two USB-C ports, and comfortable seats.
IAIN: The safety equipment is extensive and includes rear cross-traffic alert and blind spot recognition. It received a disappointing 4 star ANCAP rating in its crash test.
JULES: Excellent economy is a titchy engine benefit. In the city, we were able to manage 6.5L/100km, but only 4.5L/100km on the highway.
IAIN: Five prepaid services are reasonable at $1900. Despite the fact that buying this car at full drive-away cost will ruin the family finances.
JULES: It’s an opulent, exquisite, and chic waggon. I adore so many aspects of it, but the price and gutless engine force me to make a heart-over-head choice.
IAIN: The cabin has a luxurious vibe, and the ride is comfortable and elegant. However, if it dropped a few extras—massage seats, Nappa leather—and could be purchased for $45,000 rather than $55,000, it would attract the sales it deserves.