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Next Car adds another 662 kilometres to the huge mileage (should it be kilometreage?) covered this year. This time in a Peugeot 308 Touring, with our Editor behind the 'wheel'.

ROAD TEST:   Peugeot 308 XSE Touring

by Stephen Walker

12th August, 2009

Home > Road Tests > Peugeot

Peugeot maintain a solid share within one of our many niche markets with their well equipped 308 Touring. The French station wagon has proven popular with many folks because of an appealing mix of compact dimensions, comfortable interior, excellent driving dynamics and good fuel economy, together with a very decent pricing regime.

The new Peugeot 308 Touring continues the trend set by the 307 Touring, which in my opinion was a more attractive car than this new model.

An interesting feature of the Peugeot 308 Touring is the massive "panoramic" roof. Whilst I haven't heard anyone say that they want a panoramic roof on their next car, it does seem that our northern hemisphere friends are attracted to this styling effect as it is appearing on an increasing number of new European cars. An electrically operated blind is included to shut out the light, as required. The roof, by the way, has a reflective tint to provide some protection from harmful ultraviolet rays. Thus light can be enjoyed without the danger of direct sunlight.

Another unique feature of the Peugeot 308 Touring is the second row seating arrangements. It can accommodate three passenger, each on a separate seat. These second row seats can be removed independently of each other if need be. Thus immense flexibility is available for any difficult loads that may come the way of the 308 Touring.

Out test car was the diesel version of this delightful model. The two litre engine was coupled to a 6 speed automatic on this occasion. Although the wagon, known as "Touring" in Peugeot vocabulary, is available with a choice between petrol or diesel engine. Two model variants exist. There is the XS as the 'base' model and the XSE as the top-of-the-line. We drive the latter. (copyright image)

Stephen Walker with the Peugeot 308 Touring.

The 2 litre diesel engine in the 308 XSE Touring test car provides 100 kW of power at 4,000 rpm and a very handy 320 Nm of torque at just 2,000 rpm. This allows quite a decent level of performance. More importantly, it allows a consumption rating of just 7.1 litres per 100 kms on the often quoted 'combined cycle'. A credible CO2 rating of 187 grammes per kilometre is provided by the engine/transmission combination fitted to the test car.

On the road the Peugeot 308 Touring provides a high standard of compliance. Peugeot chassis tuning has to be amongst the very best in the world. The compact wagon handles well and the steering is very precise. The comfort level is high, thanks to the very good seating upfront and the excellent ride characteristics. Additionally, there is an element of silence with this car. Sure it's a diesel, but you wouldn't know that inside the cabin (whilst the windows are 'up').

Safety aspects for the Peugeot 308 XSE Touring include six airbags (and a driver's 'knee' bag is optional) and electronic stability programme (ESP). Many people regard ESP as an absolutely essential component to a new car. Reality determines, though, that ESP will only ever assist a driver who drives in a manner where there is a potential to lose control of the car. ESP will never assist anyone who doesn't drive in such a manner. Of course, though, ESP may be beneficial if you come across black ice or a sudden snow storm. So, in my opinion, safe drivers in Canberra or Cooma are more likely to benefit from ESP than those in Cairns or Carnarvon.

Amongst the options available for the 308 XSE Touring is a removable third row of seats. This item is suitable for one or two small children. Any attempt to situate an adult there will get a sharp response along the lines of "You sit there, I'll drive!".

Standard equipment is, as you would expect, quite comprehensive. One interesting feature is the air conditioned glove box, which is very good for those needing a small item chilled somewhat (such as a baby's bottle or medication or even a small amount of food/drink).

Only you can determine if the new Peugeot 308 Touring is attractive from a styling perspective. But the on-the-road qualities are not in question. Once again, Peugeot has provided the market with a compact sized wagon that has plenty of potential to please plenty of people.


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