PEUGEOT 308 TOURING REVIEW
The Peugeot 308 Touring is almost Tardis-like. From outside, you'd never guess at its ability to fit seven people relatively effortlessly in that compact wagon body.
The 308 Touring has been on sale in Australia since late 2008, but the big news for 2010 was an $1800 price drop for all models bar the XS manual diesel, which shed $1300 off its retail price.
Prices now start at $29,990 before on-roads for the entry-level 308 Touring XS 1.6 litre turbodiesel manual; with the range-topping XSE 2.0 turbodiesel auto we tested retailing at $36,590.
Another critical change for 2010 is the addition of electronic stability control (ESC), traction control, ABS and EBD as standard for all Peugeot models. The potentially life-saving electronic equipment was previously only standard on the XSE models (and a $450 option on XS models), but is now standard across the 308 Touring range.
What’s the appeal?
The 308 Touring XSE boasts seven seats in a package that’s easy to park, easy to manoeuvre and easy on fuel. The load area can be expanded to be truly enormous as well.
Throw in a generous serving of Gallic style (and a whopping great glass roof), and the 308 Touring has plenty of visual appeal. It’s not as anonymous as other family wagons, and the 308 arguably has the best nose in Peugeot’s current line-up.
What features does it have?
The most noticeable feature by far is that panoramic glass roof. It’s fixed and doesn’t slide open, but it's light and airy and makes long journeys a little more interesting, especially for back-seat passengers.
An electrically-retractable sun-blind covers the glass at the press of a switch, and is made of fabric rather than mesh.
Our tester was fitted with the optional third-row seats, which takes total passenger capacity to seven.
Cruise control, a programmable speed limiter, rear parking sensors, electric windows, a tilt/reach adjustable steering wheel, heated wing mirrors, a trip computer, rain-sensing wipers, dusk sensing headlights and dual-zone climate control also feature on the XSE’s list of standard equipment.
The stereo is a six-speaker single-CD AM/FM tuner, with remote audio controls mounted (somewhat inconveniently) behind the steering wheel on a stubby stalk. Bluetooth connectivity and an auxillary audio input are optional, as is an integrated sat-nav system.
What’s under the bonnet?
The 308 Touring XSE HDi is powered by a 2.0 litre turbodiesel inline four. Peak power is 100kW at 4000rpm, and 320Nm of torque is available at 2000rpm. An extra 20Nm can be unleashed by triggering the overboost function (ie. flooring the throttle).
Both automatic and manual gearboxes are offered, and both feature six ratios and deliver power to the front wheels. The six-speed auto also features a tiptronic manual mode.
The upmarket XSE rides on 16-inch alloys, with a full-size steel spare hiding beneath the boot.
Brakes are ventilated discs at the front and solid discs at the rear, while steering is electro-hydraulically assisted. MacPherson struts prop up the front of the car, while the rear suspension uses a coil-sprung torsion beam.
All up, the 308 Touring weighs 1675kg in automatic guise and is roughly 150kg heavier than the 308 hatchback.
How does it drive?
Performance isn’t startling (Peugeot claims a 13.2 second 0-100km sprint time for the HDi auto), but with 320Nm on tap at 200rpm the 308 Touring is not lacking pep.
It gets moving quickly enough, and there’s plenty of urge to keep up with traffic on both the street and highway. The engine gets a bit breathless from 3800rpm onward, but during normal driving you wouldn’t be pushing the diesel to such heights anyway.
When left in ‘Drive’, the six-speed automatic is a good pairing for the diesel. Shifts are smooth and the ratio spacing doesn’t drop the engine out of its powerband on upshifts.
The tiptronic manual mode isn’t terribly quick, but there’s no point using it when the standard shift-mapping is so well sorted.
The electro-hydraulic steering doesn’t convey much in the way of feedback to the driver’s hands, but the weighting is good – not too heavy, not too light. It doesn’t feel particularly agile around corners, but that can largely be put down to the Touring’s extra heft and longer wheelbase.
The suspension is far from soft (somewhat unusually for a Peugeot), but neither is it excessively hard. It does tend to thump over poor-quality roads though, and the unsophisticated rear suspension doesn’t like being hustled over lumpy bitumen.
That said, sound levels inside are pretty good considering the Touring’s wagon body. The rigid glass roof would seem to cancel out a lot of the cabin boom associated with a load-carrying estate. This makes the 308 Touring quite well-insulated from the outside world.
Visibility from the driver’s seat isn’t bad, but the shallow rake of the A-pillar and the thickish D-pillar do present certain challenges when merging or turning. The rear window though is generously-sized, and reversing is a cinch with the aid of the large wing mirrors and rear parking sensors.
What did our passengers think?
More than anything else, the 308 Touring is designed for families – big families.
Three identically-sized seats make up the second row, and two optional (and slightly less accommodating) pews comprise the third row for a total capacity of seven.
Each second-row seat features ISOFIX child seat anchorages, and with each seat being the same size and shape as the one next to it, complaints about being relegated to the centre seat should be nonexistent.
They may appear narrow, but the second-row seats offer reasonable comfort for an adult’s frame. With the removal of the centre seat, both outboard seats can be relocated slightly inboard for maximal sprawling space – perfect for keeping irritable teenagers comfortable on long trips.
The flat-cushioned rear seats are best-suited for younger children, although sliding the second row seats forward frees up enough third-row legroom for smallish adults.
Second-row passengers enjoy their own air-conditioning vents, some decently-sized door bins, optional retractable window shades in each door and a pair of folding tray tables with integrated cupholders.
Those in the third row don’t get their own air vents, but they are provided with a set of armrests and cupholders.
Interior quality and feel
The 308 Touring’s interior, like that of the rest of the 308 range, is a curious blend of sumptuous materials and cheap-feeling plastics.
On the one hand, the soft-touch dash feels and looks great, but the chrome surround of the gearlever is easily scratched and doesn’t feel particularly premium. The cruise control and remote audio control stalks also feel a tad on the cheap side.
There were no qualms with fit or finish though, and all cabin plastics are pretty solid. The retractable cargo cover can flap about a bit when driving on gravel roads, but, for the most part, our 308 Touring felt pretty tightly screwed together.
The optional perforated leather trim that our tester was equipped with felt good and seemed hard-wearing, however for family duty we’d lean towards black hide rather than beige.
This is where the 308 Touring truly shines. The cabin of the 308 Touring is as customisable as it is cavernous, and the interior layout can be changed from a seven-seater wagon to a two-seater van – and everything in between – in just minutes.
Each individual chair in the second and third rows can be removed by lifting a couple of latches, and with all of them removed, a mighty 2149 litres of cubic capacity becomes available. Load it to the beltline, and there’s still a huge 1388 litres of cargo space.
Boot space with the third-row seats raised isn’t terribly generous, but with them removed there’s 1031 litres of room. All seatbacks bar the driver’s fold forward, and loading long items is easy.
The boot lip is low, protected by metal plating and is flush with the boot floor. Further enhancing the Touring’s utility is an elasticated luggage strap, cargo net hooks, shopping bag hooks and a pair of netted storage compartments on either side of the boot.
A removable self-charging torch (it's bundled with the leather upholstery option) is a nice touch too.
All doors have decently-sized storage bins and there’s a sliding storage tray beneath the front passenger’s seat. Given the 308 Touring is aimed at family buyers, the myriad of storage options within its cabin serve it well.
How safe is it?
Stability control, traction control, ABS, EBD and brake-assist are now standard on the 308 Touring range, adding to the passive safety already offered by the standard six airbags and three-point seatbelts.
Each second-row seat has an integrated sensor that alerts the driver when a seatbelt isn’t being worn, however the third row seats have no such feature. A driver’s knee airbag is available as a cost option.
ANCAP has yet to test the 308 Touring, however the 308 five-door hatch has scored a five-star rating in Euro NCAP testing.
Fuel consumption and green rating
Peugeot says the 308 Touring XSE HDi automatic should return a fuel economy of 7.1 l/100km on the combined cycle. During our week with the car we recorded an average of 7.6 l/100km, which wasn’t a bad result considering the car was mainly used for urban driving.
The government’s Green Vehicle Guide gives the 308 Touring HDi auto a 6.5-star (out of ten) greenhouse rating and a 5-star air-pollution rating.
However, if you’re chasing fuel economy our advice would be to opt for the more efficient six-speed manual model, which has a combined consumption of just 5.9 l/100km
How does it compare?
With a seven-seat capacity in a compact wagon body, the 308 Touring is relatively unique in its segment.
However, there are worthy competitors in the form of the newly-arrived Volkswagen Golf wagon, Subaru Exiga, Skoda Octavia wagon, Renault Laguna wagon, Mazda6 Touring and Ford Mondeo wagon.
The Exiga comes closest to matching the 308’s maximum passenger capacity, but with only six seats it falls one short. It’s also more expensive than the Peugeot - as is the Mazda and Renault - while the Ford isn’t yet available with a fuel-sipping diesel.
The Skoda Octavia 103TDI DSG wagon is perhaps the closest competitor to the 308 Touring XSE HDi auto, and although it’s slightly more expensive at $37,790 and doesn’t have a seven-seat option, it benefits from a brilliant VW-developed diesel and a quick shifting DSG twin-clutch automatic.
Is it expensive to maintain?
Maintenance intervals for the 308 Touring HDi are 20,000km or 12 months (whichever occurs first), with major and minor services alternating between each service.
The 20,000km service is a minor one and costs $360. A major service is scheduled for 40,000km and costs $590, while the 60,000km minor service again costing $360.
Peugeot offers a three year/100,000km vehicle warranty on the 308 Touring, along with a 3 year paintwork warranty and a 12 year corrosion warranty.
The 308 Touring XSE is available in the following colours:
Thorium Grey, Shark Grey, Aluminium Grey, Vapor Grey, Hurricane Grey, Bianca White, Perla Nera Black and Babylon Red (seen on our test car).
The 2010 Peugeot 308 Touring XSE HDi automatic retails for $36,590 before on-road costs.
Available as options are a driver’s knee airbag ($250), 17-inch alloy wheels ($500), Bluetooth connectivity ($500), metallic paint ($700), third row seats ($1180), black or beige leather upholstery ($2900) and satellite navigation ($3600).
The 308 Touring is a stylish alternative not only to the ubiquitous SUVs that crowd shopping centre carparks, but also to more conventional larger station wagons.
A seven-seat option makes it genuinely attractive to family buyers. An extremely versatile interior adds to its appeal making it an ideal choice for those with active lifestyles, a bigger family or who need to haul large loads on a regular basis.
The turbodiesel engine is a capable one, and the automatic works well both around town and on the highway. Dynamically speaking it’s no hot hatch, but it rides very well for most urban and highway duty.
The 308 Touring brings a nice combo to the segment: European flair plus a high degree of practical usability.