A holiday fling. I’ve had one, you’ve had one.
I’m not necessarily talking about a Sandy and Danny type musical liaison, but whether it’s the sun or the sand, some things always seem better after a few days off.
As with all holiday relationships, as fun and exciting as they may be under a different sun, how would it work at home?
You know how it goes, while you are away everything feels great. We’ve all been to Bali and ridden a little scooter around the back roads of Seminyak, thinking,”Yes, I can make this work on Kings Way.”
But lets say you act on your holiday thrill. Once the tan fades and the credit card is paid off, are those summer dreams set to be ripped at the seams?
I was about to find out as I now had my Euro-affair on local soil by way of the Peugeot 308 Allure Touring.
There were to be no stunning alpine passes or 130km/h-ish Autostrada cruises now. Rome, Chamonix and Paris had to make way for Richmond, Camberwell and Coles.
While a bit flashier than the base manual French car, the $37,990 Allure is the Australian entry point for the little diesel wagon (the 1.6-litre petrol Allure Touring is $35,490), with a $3650 jump required to secure the diesel Allure Premium ($41,640) – which adds a few more creature comforts (never knock massage seats until you have tried them).
The cruise control stalk that I had previously managed to understand by touch alone, had to also be relearned, but less than a day after reigniting my relationship, the 308 was feeling right at home.
With a 110kW/370Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel and six-speed automatic transmission, the Aluminium Grey 308 was not going to match my Griswaldian heights of sub-5 litres per 100km consumption in Europe, but after a day happily tootling around South Melbourne, I was sure going to try.
The elements I had loved about this car last year were improved in the Australian specification wagon. The classic Peugeot lines and lovely wrap-around rear lamps were now supported by LED running lights at the front.
There are some slightly different lines to the front bumper bar, and a bit of extra chrome, which improves the wagon’s good looks.
The instrument binnacle and cool counter-rotating tacho, the decluttered centre console, and those simple but comfortable Peugeot seats all made the 308 wagon feel just that little bit more premium.
A couple of days in, and I bumped into the previous generation Peugeot 308 at the shops. Seeing the two cars side by side further illustrates just how far Peugeot has come back from the edge of the French ‘design over everything’ ethos.
The current car is smart, classy and very ‘Peugeot’, without being a somewhat ‘out there’ prop from a neo-future Luc Bessson film. It’s a perfect balance: next to other cars it looks French, next to other Peugeots it looks normal.
Running about inner-urban Melbourne, the 2.0-litre diesel zips along with ease. It pulls well off the line, isn’t too noisy or rattly, and settles in at about 8L/100km – not quite what Peugeot claims (4.2L/100km combined), but a pretty good start for short runs in traffic.
When Tim reviewed the car in Sydney late last year, he noted a number of issues with the stop start system. While I agree it’s not the smoothest I’ve encountered, I didn’t have nearly the level of frustration. Perhaps it is amplified by Sydney’s more hilly landscape.
Over the typical bumps and cobbles of South Melbourne and Richmond, the Peugeot’s suspension was very compliant and the ride comfortable. There is still firmness there, but it translates to a more sporting and direct feel rather than harshness.
The seven-inch touchscreen is terrific in theory, handling all the car’s functions, from entertainment, to navigation, to climate control. It’s all very intuitive and easy to use, until you want to do two things at once…
If you are using the navigation and need to change the temperature, you have to switch sections and then jump back. Not a massive task I’ll admit, but a potentially annoying one if you have a passenger that likes to change radio stations or temperature settings on a whim.
I did like the album cover display when listening to music from my phone, and the sound quality is pretty good for a standard sound system. Plus the ability to customise the ‘skin’ of the system as well as the sound theme is a nice touch.
Worth noting here too that the reverse camera is pretty much useless at night.
The section on the touchscreen for Peugeot apps – allowing further use and customisation of the system through partnerships with Trip Advisor and Michelin restaurant guides – requests you contact your dealer for access… and well, spoiler alert, none of this works in Australia (yet) so it’s totally redundant.
I understand Peugeot not customising the screen and interface for the Australian, market, but perhaps something a bit better could have been done here.
The rest of the cabin is ergonomic and usable, but has fewer cubbies and storage areas than most cars. The glove box is great for, well, gloves, but little else thanks to a giant fuse box sitting in there. Nice one France.
I regularly loaded up the sizeable (625-litre) boot with shopping and school bags, and didn’t worry about breaking a few eggs – either metaphorically or literally. The cavernous load bay was a real standout last year in Europe and it certainly made day-to-day life easier not to have to play Tetris each and every time I needed to use it.
Rear space is good but not great. It’s certainly fine for children, but adults would be more comfortable on shorter trips – helped by the centre armrest-cum-ski-port – plus the seats are supportive and facilitate a fully flat load floor if needed.
When the weekend rolled around, Miss Six and I headed to our favourite beach for some shell collecting. Throwing some highway distance at the Peugeot gave the little diesel a chance to earn its stripes – the 76km trip reporting consumption of 5.2L/100km.
Our time with the Peugeot wagon crossed over with a BMW 3 Series touring, and being able to jump between the cars made the Pug look even better.
The BMW Touring is a lovely car, but it is a solid $20,000 more than the Peugeot. Yes there are elements and materials that feel nicer and look smarter in the Bimmer, but the Peugeot isn’t exactly made out of cardboard and despite being at the upper end of pricing for its key competitors (a Volkswagen Golf 110 Highline wagon is $36,840 – read our comparison here), feels well priced when compared to the German.
In all, there is a lot to like about the Peugeot 308 Touring. Quite a lot.
It worked well in the European sun and it works well here.
If you recall, I mentioned at the end of my European vacation, that my father would seriously consider a 308 Touring to replace his Volvo V50 when the wagon arrived locally. Well, the cars are here and his order is in. In fact there are a number of orders in, with the 308 Touring demand exceeding Peugeot’s expectation.
My previous summer affairs involving scooters, Hawaiian-print shirts and pre-dawn yoga (don’t judge me) never quite materialised on Australian soil, but the Peugeot 308 Touring has managed the transition from holiday fling to part of the family – literally – perfectly.