REVIEW DATE: 01 Aug 2008
Peugeot knows more than most manufacturers when it comes to cars with folding hard top roofs so should we expect big things from its 308CC? Steve Walker takes a look.
Peugeot has quite a history of folding hard-top cars. Few of us will be able to recall the 301, 401, 601 and 402 Eclipse models of the 1930s but there's a good chance that you'll be able to picture the car that kick-started the modern trend for metal folding canopies on mainstream cars, the Peugeot 206 CC. That model gave rise to the 307 CC, the 207 CC followed and now we have a 308 CC to cast an eye over. The recipe looks largely the same but Peugeot should be getting pretty good at these by now and we can expect some choice refinements.
The engines are familiar Peugeot units. Take the diesels. There's a 112bhp 1.6 and a 140bhp 2.0-litre HDi. Here, you've not only diesel engines in a convertible car (something that was virtually unheard of a few short years ago) but also some very advanced ones, Euro 5-compliant units with diesel particulate filters to clean up their act. Buyers will get a 6-speed manual gearbox but for those who'd like an auto, the older 136bhp Euro 4 version of the 2.0 HDi engine is also on offer. It's much the same with the petrol options. Manual buyers get a sweet 150bhp 1.6-litre THP (Turbo High Pressure) unit but those in search of an auto get a four-speed 'box with 140bhp.
The latest 308 benefits from a track that's been widened front and rear to help improve stability. Larger diameter brake discs prove handy in bringing the additional weight of the 308 CC safety to a standstill and Peugeot engineers have pulled out all the stops to boost the car's structural rigidity to further aid the driving experience.
The huge seats with their integral head restraints are designed to give great support and comfort but they also have a trick up their sleeves - the Airwave system. Basically, a built-in air-vent dispenses warm air like a scarf around the neck of the occupant, helping to ensure that 308 owners can enjoy top down motoring even when the temperatures fall.
"The 308CC sets a high standard for other affordable cabriolets to aspire to.."
The 308 CC shares the same 'roof concept' as the old 307 CC. It consists of a two-part retractable roof with a small folding roof panel and a large athermic dark-tinted rear windscreen. The roof opens and closes in only 20 seconds even when driving at speeds of up to 7.5mph. The system is governed by an electronic control unit which automatically lowers all four windows by around 50mm before any roof operations commence.
The boot has been the focus of much attention. In the coupe 'roof-up' configuration, its volume is 465 litres, but drops dramatically to 266 litres with the roof folded. Still, though the boot may be small, it's undeniably meticulously finished with a high quality carpet, chrome tie-down rings, straps for retaining a warning triangle and a luggage net for enhanced practicality. There's even an underfloor compartment where the optional wind stop can be stored. The central locking also now locks the interior storage space in the glovebox and the centre armrest so that valuables can be left in the car securely when the roof is down.
Peugeot has put considerable thought into the way the 308 CC will be used and its four-seater claims are highlighted by a special rear access system that electrically slides the rear seat forward for a more elegant entry into the back. Leg room isn't particularly generous and taller passengers will struggle for head room with the roof raised.
Trim levels range between S, Sport and GT. The 308 CC has a detailed specification designed to push the car up-market in feel but the prices have edged in the same direction. There's a leather trim option which sees the whole cabin swathed in hide and classy trim finishes will help to raise the tone. Buyers who want to specify their vehicle up to the nines will have no problem with features including an MP3-compatible audio system with a USB connector, a hands free phone kit, satellite navigation, a 30 gigabyte hard disc and Bluetooth connectivity all available. There's even a JBL hi fi system available with 10 speakers for the ultimate audio experience.
In the event of a rollover situation, the roll-over protection bars are automatically triggered in less than 20 milliseconds. The car is equipped with passenger and driver's front airbags, chest/pelvis side airbags and, in what Peugeot claims to be a world first, a head airbag for the front passengers, housed directly in the seat and deployed laterally from the head restraint. This is the first Coupe Cabriolet in the world to have all its lateral protection incorporated into the front seat, including head, chest and pelvis, thereby ensuring efficient deployment and occupant protection regardless of the seat position and for all types of side impact.
Peugeot is proud of the fact that some of the best aerodynamics in the sector have been achieved with the 308 CC which has benefits in terms of both emissions and fuel consumption. You can expect to average nearly 50mpg with the 140bhp 2.0-litre HDi and establish your green credentials with the particulate filter which cleans up its act. CO2 emissions are 155g/km, though that does rise to 185g/km if you opt for the older HDi engine with the auto gearbox. Opt for the petrol version and you should record just under 38mpg on the combined cycle and 177g/km of CO2.
The folding hard-top convertible car will remain an acquired taste for some time yet but Peugeot looks to be pushing the genre in the right direction with the 308 CC. There will still be compromises to go with the obvious advantages of having a metal roof that you can stow away at the flick of a switch but as long as buyers go into it with their eyes open, there are great ownership experiences to be had.
Using some clever styling devices and well-conceived interior solutions, the 308CC sets a high standard for other affordable cabriolets to aspire to. This market is all about image and desirability and the latest in Peugeot's long line of hard-top drop-tops appears to have a decent helping of both.
The results below show the top 308 deals on buyacar
|Peugeot 308 1.6 e-HDi 115 Allure 5dr [Sat Nav] diesel hatchback|
|Price £14,177||Save £5,688|
|Peugeot 308 1.6 e-HDi 115 Allure 5dr [Sat Nav] diesel sw estate|
|Price £15,554||Save £6,361|
|Peugeot 308 1.6 e-HDi 112 Active 5dr EGC [Sat Nav] diesel hatchback|
|Price £13,875||Save £5,540|
|Peugeot 308 1.6 HDi 92 Active 5dr [Sat Nav] diesel hatchback|
|Price £12,887||Save £5,058|
|Peugeot 308 1.6 THP 156 Allure 2dr [Sat Nav] coupe cabriolet|
|Price £20,717||Save £5,028|
|VIEW MORE DISCOUNT 308 DEALS|
|For 308 CC|
|OVERALL||7.3 OUT OF 10|
|Space / Versatility||7|
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