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First drive: Peugeot introduces 308 Touring

Family choices: Peugeot plans to lure compact SUV buyers into its new wagon.

French car-maker skips ESC on base model 308 Touring but includes a standard sunroof

18 Aug 2008

PEUGEOT has introduced a wagon version of its 308 small car that will be used to lure more customers away from compact SUVs.

Practicality is a key strength of the 308 Touring, as it can be optioned with two extra seats to take the total number to seven seats and five of those can be removed or folded flat.

The 308 Touring, which follows the introduction of the 308 hatch in February, comes at a $2600 premium.

That means prices start at $30,590 for the XS automatic and run though to the fully loaded XSE HDi at $38,390.

While Peugeot's own data shows that 70 per cent of the previous generation 307 Touring models were bought by families, it has decided against including electronic stability control as standard for XS models. It is a $450 option on those models and standard on XSE cars.

Peugeot defends its decision to not include ESC in all its cars, which is surprising given it is standard on many far cheaper rival models.

It states that it is up to the customer to decide if they want the equipment and also points out the 308 Touring has six airbags, while some of its rivals do not.

While it was unable to justify the extra cost of including ESC as standard, Peugeot has fitted a panoramic glass sunroof as standard to all 308 Touring models.

This three-layer dark tinted panel, which is an option in almost all other markets, also features a fabric sliding cover.

The 308 Touring is based on the 308 hatch, but is 224mm longer, 66mm taller and has a 100mm longer wheelbase. Thanks to its wagon tail, the Touring also has 124mm more rear overhang.

With five seats in place, the Touring has 560 litres of bootspace, which is 130 litres more than the 308 hatch. If you remove the second row of seats, this space opens up to a vast 2085 litres.

23 center imageThe third row of two seats is available as on option on all models and costs $1180.

Peugeot refers to these seats as 'occasional' as there is limited legroom and very minimal cargo space when the seats are in place. The second row of seats can slide forward to offer more legroom for the third row passengers.

Just like all the other passenger seats, the front passenger seat can also fold flat (forwards) in case the customers need to carry long items.

Peugeot has fitted airline-style airport trays to the back of the driver and front passenger seats.

It has also introduced a feature that uses Wi-Fi technology to detect when occupants have not buckled their seatbelt. Given the seats can be removed and therefore no wiring can be installed, Peugeot uses the wireless computer technology to make sure passengers have their belts on. This system is not installed to the third row of seats.

A cargo blind, which can be stored in the floor of the cargo area when not being used, is standard.

Like the 308 hatch, the Touring models feature a MacPherson strut front suspension and a torsion beam rear, although the settings have been fine-tuned to account for the added rear overhang, its extra weight and the fact it will more likely be used to carry heavier loads.

The spring and shock absorbers were given firmer settings and new stiffer composite front mounts were installed while the standard 308 rack-and-pinion steering with electric assistance is used.

The same engines and transmissions have been passed onto the Touring, so there are two petrol and two diesel engines available.

The entry-level engine is a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol that generates 88kW at 6000rpm and 160Nm at 4250rpm. This is the same engine that powers both the 207 and the Mini Cooper and is the product of a joint-venture between Peugeot-Citroen and BMW Group.

This engine is available in the XS and XSE models, but only with a four-speed automatic transmission.

A 1.6-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder HDi using common-rail technology is next up with 80kW at 4000rpm and 240Nm at 1750rpm. This powerplant is only available with a six-speed manual and only in the one XS level model.

A turbo version of the 1.6-litre petrol engine is available in the XSE, but only with a four-speed auto. This engine generates 103kW at 6000rpm and 240Nm at 1400rpm.

The range-topping 2.0-litre common-rail direct injection HDi diesel generates 100kW and a healthy 320Nm at 2000rpm.

This engine is available in the XS and XSE and is available with a six-speed automatic as standard on the XS model. The more luxurious XSE is available with a standard six-speed manual, while the six-speed auto is a $2200 option.

Fuel economy is a strong point of the 308 Touring range, with the 1.6-litre diesel using just 5.3L/100km on the combined cycle.

The 2.0-litre diesel manual is the next best at 5.9L/100km, although choosing a manual pushes that figure up considerably to 7.1 litres per 100km, the naturally-aspirated 1.6-litre petrol returns 7.7L/100km and the turbo version uses 8.2L/100km.

But these figures are far more impressive than the 0-100km/h sprint times.

The fastest model in the range is the 2.0-litre diesel manual that manages the sprint in a fairly pedestrian time of 12.0 seconds, while the 1.6-litre petrol model takes the equivalent of an automotive eternity – 16.1s.

This lacklustre performance is partly due to the 308 Touring's 150kg extra bulk over the hatch. With kerb weights ranging from 1541kg to 1675kg, the 308 Touring is not far off a Ford Falcon or Holden Commodore.

Though lacking ESC, the XS model comes standard with high level of features, including cruise control, dual-zone climate control, foglights, heated mirrors, trip computer and cargo net.

It has front, side and curtain airbags that cover the first two seat rows and ABS brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, but it does not get alloy wheels and has to make do with 15-inch steel rims.

The base XS models also have a less sporty front grille than the other models.

The XSE adds electronic stability control, automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers, rear parking sensors, leather-wrapped steering wheel, lumbar adjustment for the front passenger seat and 16-inch alloys.

Metallic paint costs an extra $700 for all models, satellite navigation is $3600 but is only available on XSE models (as is Bluetooth connectivity for $500), 17-inch alloys are $500, leather seats cost $2900 and a driver's knee airbag is $250.

2008 Peugeot 308 Touring pricing:
X6 1.6 petrol (a) $30,590
XS HDi 1.6 $32,590
XS HDi 2.0 (a) $35,990
XSE 1.6 petrol (a) $32,990
XSE 1.6 Turbo petrol (a) $35,190
XSE HDi 2.0 $36,190
XSE HDi 2.0 (a) $38,390

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