Driven - January 2017

Peugeot 308 GT-LINE Automatic Review

The more time you spend with a vehicle, the more you get to know it and learn about it.  In issue 04 of TheMotorist, I tested the Peugeot 308 GT-Line, the manual variant. I recently got behind the wheel of the Automatic variant, which features the same three cylinder- 1200cc turbo motor. After my bad experience in the Peugeot 208 Auto I was slightly worried that the same faults with that vehicle would follow on into the 308. The 208 Auto was not a great box at all, the issues with that vehicle arise when pulling off, but mainly also when coming to a stop in traffic or at a junction.

More than 90% percent of the time I experienced a juddering feeling, much like when the engine speed is too low for a certain gear. Imagine slowing to a stop while in 3rd gear, that was feeling. It bothered me so much that at certain times I even went for the none existent clutch pedal, giving my wife minor whiplash as I proceeded to hit the brake pedal with left foot force. You may say this is driver error, but after driving manual vehicles for the few weeks before driving the 208, your instinct is to head for the clutch pedal when a car feels like its going to stall.  From then on I had to constantly remind myself that this an automatic vehicle, just with a gearbox fit for a kids fisher price trike.

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Fortunately, the 308 Auto does not suffer from this problem; it provides a comfortable drive, smooth gear changes and decent all-around performance. This, though, is expected of course as the Peugeot 308 is a much more expensive vehicle. Many features are the same, the tachometer travels in the wrong direction, A/C controls are still digital, and you can’t connect Bluetooth devices unless the vehicle is stopped. They don’t tell you that, though. So you end up fiddling through the menus trying to figure out how to connect your mobile device. Still, with no luck, you pull out the manual, picture the scene. Now you are flicking through a paper book as big as a Harry Potter novel while trying to negotiate a complex digital screen. Added to the fact that you are travelling at speed on your way to work, sleepy-eyed, just wanting your Bluetooth connection to work so you can be a “safer driver” and call your wife. That might be an exaggeration, but the point I’m making is that little things like this don’t need to be over complicated, especially in today’s world of connectivity.

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All in all though, the 308 is a great car. Personally, I don’t like the Ruby red color as I feel it does show off the GT-Line body kit as well as the Nacre White, but that is all down to personal preference. Not only is the exterior styled well, but the interior is also a great place to be, nice lines and a very sporty feel, most of all it doesn’t feel cheap. One of my favorite features on the 308 GT-Line is the seats, they look sporty and hold the driver and passenger well but on top of that, they are extremely comfortable. A massaging function is also included, it’s a kind of gizmo that gets used a few times and then forgotten about, but it something to tell your friends about right?

The other issue that nags me about this vehicle is the lack of space in the glove box, they are obviously not designed to fit your overnight bag, but in the 308 the design is very strange and leaves little room for small items.

The 308 GT-Line starts at R357 900, if you don’t feel like the fancy spec you can opt for the Active line. It is not only the spec that is different on this vehicle, there is also a reduction in power from 96kw to a mere 81kw. The final option in the 308 range is the GT – featuring a 1600cc 151kw Motor, the only transmission option here being a 6-speed manual.

Peugeot 308 GT-Line
1.2 3 Cylinder PureTech Turbo
96 kw/230Nm
4.8l/100km
Starting from R357,900

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