We have had a famous Top Gear Bloke getting into all kinds of things. I have broken down in a Seat Ibiza and to top it all off, I had a flat tyre when I came out from doing my shopping at Aldi. Yes ‘Aldi’ no Marks & Spencer for me.
Going back to the Top Gear issue, was the corporation wrong to cancel all the shows? Well that seems to be the question of the week, and if you read what all the papers are saying and pretty much everybody else, then you would probably all agree too.
Of course, I am a big fan of Top Gear – and I like all the presenters of the show. It is my hope and wish that it all gets sorted out very soon so we can all get back to watching some quality motoring programmes from the BBC.
This brings me neatly onto this month’s road test of the Peugeot 308 Allure BlueHDi 120.
I have spoken many times about how I am still not convinced that we need low power Eco cars, with less horse power than a Flymo. So as you can imagine, when I was given the 308 Blue to test for a week, my face began to develop a long frown as the thoughts started to creep in that I was about to spend a whole week driving everywhere in 3rd gear, just to be sure I had maximum power all the time.
But wait a minute - according to the manual this was a 120bhp model with much more power. Finally I think things are starting to look a whole lot better.
Well, let’s see what’s occurring.
On the road:
The 308 is a very playful but practical hatchback. It does feel a little bit too soft into the corners, but it does seem to manage most of our terrible roads really well. For me, it’s not as sporty as it looks - being a diesel - but it is practical and worth a look at as a family hatchback. Also, Peugeot have done some clever optimisation of the suspension and wheels which has improved the turning circle radius – great for those sharp turns in the city streets. At the rear, there is also an innovative damper setup which helps improve its comfort and handling.
Design and Interior:
The 308 has an innovative interior with clear and presentable cockpit which is laid out nice, although I am not convinced the high level dials are my thing. The use of upmarket materials around the cockpit give the 308 a very up market feel, and the large 9.7” touch screen (standard from level 2) is a nice piece of equipment. The touch screen brings together all the controls centrally and permits selection of the air conditioning, driving aids, multimedia, navigation, telephone and vehicle settings.
We come to expect a lot nowadays from car manufacturers, and the 308 does not disappoint here either, as it comes with an array of multiple driving aids such as, Dynamic cruise control: This is a speed limiter/cruise control with extended functions. Emergency Collision Alert System: A visual and audible warning indicates to the driver that they should brake to prevent the collision and Emergency Collision Braking System: In the event of an imminent collision, automatic braking is triggered to prevent the impact or reduce its consequences. Most of these are standard equipment or as an option.
Power and Efficiency:
My test car was fitted with a 1.6 BlueHDi engine that produces 120hp. If you know anything about Peugeot, you will also know that they also do a pretty good diesel engine. The unit is smooth and very responsive on the road, with plenty of power as long as you don’t rev past the dreaded power band that most diesels suffer with.
What is BlueHDi? This is the name given to the marque’s Euro 6 Diesel engines. Exclusively combining the Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) function and the Diesel Particulate Filter System with additive (DPF) for the Euro 6 Diesel emission control, the BlueHDi technology permits a 90% reduction in NOx, optimisation of the CO2 emissions with improved fuel economy and almost total elimination (99.9%) of diesel particulates. I hope you got all that? For me, it means less pollution. Why can’t they just say that!
To sum up:
Is it for me? Not really….. But then what do I know about cars…….I used to own a Vauxhall Vectra.
Price: from £21,045 MRRP
Engine: 1.6 BlueHDi 120 FAP
Power: 120hp @ 3500 rpm
Torque 300Nm @ 1750rpm
Gearbox: 6 speed
0-62: 9.7 sec
Top Speed: 122mph
Economy: 88.3 mpg (combined) 16” Wheels)
CO2 Emissions: 84 g/km By Anthony Yates