As a small family car, the Peugeot 308 came out in 2007. It was known by the development code “Project T7” and is the first model off of Peugeot’s X08 generation line. In 2011, it was given a facelift, the results of which were first seen at the Geneva Motor Show. The second-generation model of the 308 is slated to come out in Autumn 2013. The new 308 will feature Peugeot’s new style and will mark as well the French car manufacturer’s 80th year of producing mid-size cars with a ’3’ in the title. Designs for the Peugeot 308 are credited to Stéphan Peureux.
The Peugeot 308 sticks to what worked for the 307, its predecessor: its structure. While certain improvements have been introduced, like the toned-down version of the grille that is characteristic to Peugeot, the 308 still has the MacPherson suspension layout that struts out in front and the use of a torsion beam for the rear. However, the 308 features a body structure that is 10% more rigid compared to the 307 and utilizes redesigns in the suspension mounts. Wheels are also wider and the centre of gravity went down by up to 5mm on the overall. Given all the things that the Peugeot 308 retained and removed, it’s become 72kg heavier than the 307 but this does not affect the car’s performance negatively.
And while the 308 continues many things from the 307, it is still undoubtedly a new car as what its interiors would show. There’s increased quality all around which you can really see, with materials, fits, textures, and finishes drastically better than they were with the 307. Switchgears operate with precision too and vents and dials are given quite a nice trimming treatment. It also feels airy inside because of the large area of glass that is the windscreen located forward. This complements the good position of the driver’s seat and the steering wheel offered with a wider level of adjustments for rake and reach.
But while it appears airy inside with such a large expanse of glass, those sitting at the back will definitely feel the confines of the Peugeot 308. The rear isn’t as spacious as the front, after all, and the glass doesn’t extend to the back as much.
There are enough engine options to choose from with the 308 and the most modest of them can be said to be adequate. However, it feels like the 308 is struggling to move even when you’ve revved it up. The car’s kerb weight doesn’t help either and you can’t expect any swift assistance from the long-throw gearbox. If you want action, you’re going to have to really step down on that pedal.
In terms of ride and handling, there’s decent enough support and a reasonable level of body roll. However, things start going down when the suspension system requires some multi-tasking. This has always been a problem with torsion beam systems and the same is true with the 308. Steering is also accurate enough although it still pales in comparison to other vehicles in its class when it comes to feedback.
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