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Peugeot 308 2009 Review

Byron Bay was the apt launch venue for the Peugeot 308CC this week. You can just picture the vehicle slowly promenading topless through the trendy shopping scene or by the beach with gorgeous, tanned blonde passengers in their oversized D&G sunglasses and their skimpy tops.

But Peugeot Automobiles Australia marketing manager Richard Grant insists the new 308-based coupe cabriolet has more macho styling that will attract more male buyers aged over 40. Sure, it features some bulging panels and sporty rear diffusers, but it retains the 308 grille and headlights which have a more feminine look.

Yet it also features the same spirited engines and driving dynamics of the 308 hatch and Touring.

Platform and room

At 1587kg kerb weight, the turbo manual is 44kg heavier than the 307CC and 185kg heavier than the XSE turbo manual hatch. However, with a slightly lower suspension setting and stiffer chassis it is every bit the driving equal of its main rival, the VW Eos.

A big improvement is the amount of boot space, up 15 per cent on the 307CC, yet there is also a full-size spare under the cargo floor. Rear passenger room is still very limited, even though Peugeot has paid more attention to the +2 aspect with rear air vents and nicely contoured seats.

Variants and equipment

It comes in five model variants in CC and CC S trim with two power output versions of the turbo petrol 1.6-litre engine and the two-litre HDi diesel.

Standard in the CC models are cruise control, stability control, rain-sensing wipers and rear parking sensors. The CC S adds leather trim (a $2900 option in the CC), electric heated front seats, tyre pressure monitors, 18-inch alloys, front parking sensors, Xenon headlights with washers, and Airwave and windstop ($1200 option in the CC).

The Airwave is simply a heater which blows air on to the back of the neck of the front seat passenger and driver. The amount of air, heat and direction can be adjusted to suit conditions and the height of the occupant. It's a nice touch that you would expect in pricier models, and opens up the vehicle to be driven top-down through the cooler months of the year. However, the heater fan is a little noisy being so close to your head. The windstop can be hidden away in the boot and there it should stay as it's really not needed to reduce wind noise with the top down. It's rather quiet for a convertible.

Another nice touch is the programmable remote key which can also lock the tiny glovebox and centre console so you can leave valuables behind even with the top down.

Peugeot also boasts a five-star rating for passenger protection in Euro NCAP with its inclusion of six airbags, including twin side airbags in front plus pop-up roll over protection in the rear head restraints.

The steel folding roof deploys in about 20 seconds using five hydraulic actuators and can be raised or lowered at speeds up to 12km/h. Unlike some of its competitors, it doesn't creak or groan when in the coupe position.

Sales

Peugeot Automobiles Australia general manager and director Ken Thomas believes they will sell about 300 this year; 165 petrol and 135 diesel with 220 CC and 80 CC S. In 2010 he predicts sales of 600 with 280 petrol and 320 diesel and about a third CC S.

Driving

The first glitch I noticed in the CC S with electric front seats is that if a passenger gets in the rear, the seat slides all the way forward, but then you have to stand outside the car and press the button to slowly roll the seat back before you can fit in behind the steering wheel. It's a common occurrence with electric front seats in coupes and it's annoying, especially if it's raining or cold and you have to wait those few seconds before getting in.

Inside is a comfortable and friendly environment in the cabin, despite its quirky Frenchness. There is a fair amount of glare from the dashboard in direct sun and the white instruments are impossible to read on a sunny day. Obviously there are not a lot of sunny days in France.

It also has short footwell for short French people. However, the steering column has good reach adjustment, so it's possible to find a good seating position unless you are a really tall supermodel.

Peugeot has done a lot of work on noise, vibration and harshness to deliver a car that is very quiet until it hits coarse-chip bitumen and then the tyre noise and rear wheel arch drum become intrusive.

Out on the road, it thrives on the juicy turbo petrol engine and meaty diesel powerplant. Handling is pin-sharp with good feedback from the steering wheel and no scuttle shake or rack rattle that plagues many other convertibles.

However, corrugations did provide a bit of steering column shudder, but we're talking big corrugations around Nimbin where the council seems to have a very laidback hippy attitude to road maintenance.

The French have done a nice job of updating their CC in line with the advances made in the 308 platform. It remains to be seen how many are captivated by its driving dynamics.


Peugeot 308CC
Prices (not including dealer and statutory charges): 308CC 6-speed manual, turbo petrol $48,990 308CC 4-speed auto, petrol $50,990 308CC 6-speed auto, diesel $52,990 308CC S 4-speed auto, petrol $57,990 308CC S 6-speed auto, diesel $59,990
Engines: 4-cylinder 1.6 turbo petrol and 2.0 HDi turbo diesel
Power: 110kW @ 5800rpm (1.6) and 103kW @ 6000rpm (1.6), 100kW @ 4000rpm (HDi)
Torque: 240Nm @ 1400rpm (1.6), 320Nm @ 2000rpm (HDi)
Economy: (combined l /100km): 7.5 (110k), 8.1 (103kW), 7 (HDi)
Emissions: (g/km): 177 (110kW), 192 (103kW), 185 (HDi), Euro 4
Transmission: 6-speed man and 4-speed auto (1.6), 6 auto (HDi)

Pricing guides

$9,840
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$3,400
Highest Price
$16,280

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
CC 1.6L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $8,800 – 13,200 2009 Peugeot 308 2009 CC Pricing and Specs
CC S 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $11,100 – 16,280 2009 Peugeot 308 2009 CC S Pricing and Specs
XS 1.6L, PULP, 4 SP AUTO $3,700 – 5,940 2009 Peugeot 308 2009 XS Pricing and Specs
XS HDi 1.6L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $4,000 – 6,490 2009 Peugeot 308 2009 XS HDi Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$8,800

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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