That’s that. Three months and as many thousand kilometres later, and it’s time to hand back our 2017 Peugeot 308 Active hatch.
We’ve traversed highways and country roads, done the daily grind commute thing, pored and pawed over its interior and infotainment, and while I’ve been the primary possessor of the car during its time here, it has spent time with other members of the editorial and executive teams.
This lengthy loan has probably been the most enlightening for me, personally, in the whole time I’ve been doing this job (just over seven years).
Why? Because I didn’t realise just how important the modern-day infotainment system can be in determining how you feel about a car.
Admittedly, Peugeot’s infotainment system is more of a cockpit control panel than a stereo screen, with its knob-and-dial-free climate control running through the display being the main source of frustration.
Prior to this long-term loan I’d had the odd day or two with a Peugeot 308 – but never had I had the chance to experience it for a prolonged period of time, and never would I have thought that a screen could turn me off a car so much.
It is, for me, a terrible outcome. I really liked the car – in fact, I sort of fell for it in many ways. It’s the type of car I thought I could potentially put on my shopping list: it’s almost time to trade in the missus’ old Mini Cooper Cabrio for something newer, safer and more practical, after all.
But I wouldn’t buy a 308 – and nor would she – because of the media screen. It is that big of an issue when you deal with it on a daily basis.
What a letdown, because it is otherwise a charming, loveable small hatchback, one of the most polished in the segment. And while it doesn’t have all the boxes ticked for the latest safety tech (forward collision alert and/or autonomous emergency braking isn’t fitted to this, or any, Peugeot 308 model), it felt a safe and comfortable cruiser, be it around the 'burbs, heading to the shops, road-tripping to the bush or just the dreaded day-to-day commute.
The fuel use could have been better: we averaged 8.2 litres per 100 kilometres over more than 3200km of travel, which is 36 per cent higher than the claimed combined fuel use (5.2L/100km). This was something that could be forgiven due to the peppy characterful engine, though.
So it’s with mixed emotions we return the 2017 Peugeot 308 Active, a really good small hatchback let down by really frustrating driver interface technology.
It isn’t the first to do the screen-only control deal – the Tesla Model S has it, too, but in that car it’s reasonably easy to get to used to, the screen hardly ever (never, in my time in it) glitched out, and the load times are much faster.
In an ideal world Peugeot would reinstate air-conditioning buttons and knobs below the screen – like there are in the smaller 208 hatchback and 2008 compact SUV: but we don’t think that’s likely, judging by the 308 facelift images that surfaced recently. Maybe we’ll have to live in hope for a better, faster, nicer screen, then, eh?
2017 Peugeot 308 Active run-sheet:
- Odometer reading upon return: 4340km
- Travel over loan period: 2771km
- Fuel consumption average over loan period: 8.6 litres per 100km, which is 3.4L/100km (or 40 per cent) higher than claimed
MORE: 308 news, reviews, videos and comparisons
MORE: long-term report one – introduction
MORE: long-term report two – infotainment
MORE: long-term report three – interior
MORE: long-term report four – urban driving
MORE: long-term report five – highway and open road driving
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