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Peugeot models, news & reviews
By Peter Burgess
30 August 2007 10:15
Yes. Well. Peugeot has this 'feline' design theme going on that buyers lapped up on the 206, a hatchback that sold above its station simply through visual appeal. So last year’s 207 supermini was a development of that style, distinguished by pointier headlights and a massive, ugly grille. The new 308 looks, at first glance, uncomfortably like a 207 that’s had a few strikes of bicycle pump up its exhaust pipe. Perhaps that’s a bit unfair, for there’s no arguing that this is a distinctive design in a world of lower-medium hatchback blandness. It seems quite likely that buyers will lap it up. The 307 before it certainly did well enough, averaging over half a million units a year worldwide and often a top-five player in the UK, despite being as bland as beige wallpaper. The wheelbase of the 308 is identical but a couple of cm extra shoulder and rear legroom have been squeezed out of the interior. There’s still the high-set stance, though it's 12mm lower to the tarmac. It’s wider and longer, too, especially versions higher up the scale that get a longer 'dynamic' snout and pseudo underbody air diffuser at the rear. The cheaper models are more subtle but all have more than their fair share of fussy detail.
This is one of those few cars where the interior really does live up to the promise. Peugeot has done an impressive job of imbuing the 308 with a sense of quality and individuality. The fascia rolls down from the deep windscreen to give a feeling of spaciousness. It’s soft-touch and elegantly designed, with calculated use of chrome bezels on the vents, instruments and gearlever. It surprised us and feels classy way beyond its class. This thoughtful approach is followed through to the seats, which are well bucketed in all versions with tasteful trimming. There’s plenty of adjustment for the driver’s seat and above average tilt and reach adjustment for the wheel, but it still isn’t easy to get the ideal comfortable driving position. Setting the front seat low is tempting but that compromises room in the rear. Space in the back is average, though the high-set back seats help visibility. So does the optional enormous panoramic glass roof.
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Peugeot 308 1.6 VHT (2007) CAR review
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