It could be said that the 2018 Peugeot 308 Touring Allure is entering a perfect storm.
After a series of mis-steps in the Australian market over the past decade, Peugeot is now considered an incredibly niche manufacturer here. The wagon bodystyle is being trampled all over by an onslaught of SUVs, while diesels are on the nose too.
So what chance does this circa-$40,000 French-branded small wagon, available only with a diesel engine, have on our shores? Before the word ‘none’ is chorused back, however, a contrary view could be that this 308 Touring Allure best plays to its strengths to become a unique service provider (USP) in a crowded marketplace.
Indeed, for families who are willing to shun the SUV and are open to alternatives, blue sky and rainbows may well be found on the other side of those dark clouds.
Vehicle Style: Small wagon Price: $37,990 (plus on-road costs)
Engine/trans: 110kW/370Nm 2.0 four-cylinder turbo-diesel | six-speed automatic
Fuel Economy Claimed: 4.6 l/100km | Tested: 7.2 l/100km
Peugeot is continuing to increase the value of its offerings locally, with more active safety and infotainment equipment having been added to the 308 as part of its recent mid-life facelift.
In the case of this 308 Touring Allure, priced from $37,990 plus on-road costs, it now scores autonomous emergency braking (AEB), a blind-spot monitor, lane-keep assistance and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring for the first time.
Although the five-door hatchback Allure starts from $31,990 (plus orc) with a superb 1.2-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine, Peugeot demands $4000 extra for the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder, and then a further $2000 for this wagon.
The diesel-only wagon is slightly more powerful than the cheaper petrol available in the hatch, as well as being marginally more fuel efficient. However, it also weighs a lot more. Time to dissect the value, space and performance pros and cons…
- Standard Equipment: Keyless auto-entry with push-button start, multi-function trip computer, power windows and mirrors, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, part-Alcantara seats, heated/folding door mirrors, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and auto on/off wipers and LED headlights with auto up/down high beam.
- Infotainment: 9.7-inch colour touchscreen with Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, USB input, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring and satellite navigation.
- Options Fitted: None.
- Cargo Volume: 625 litres.
The highlight of the 308 Touring is, clearly, its enormous 625-litre boot volume. Even its closest rival, the Volkswagen Golf Wagon 110TDI Highline, packs a lesser 605L. Its second-nearest foe, the also-French but petrol-only Renault Megane GT, cites a 580L volume. Meanwhile a top medium SUV, the Mazda CX-5 Touring, rates 442L.
With a low loading lip, broadly square space and luggage hooks, about the only thing missing from the fabulous Peugeot luggage area is an electric tailgate – though the above trio of circa-$40,000 competitors miss out on one as well, it should be noted.
Moving further forward, however, and the Allure does lose some of its practical, erm, allure. The rear seat is firm and the base is short, while taller occupants will especially note less headroom and legroom than in a Golf or CX-5 in particular.
Those two, and the Megane, all offer rear air vents as well, where the 308 does not.
At least there are soft-touch door plastics, which trumps the hard-plastic-clad Volkswagen in particular, plus twin cupholders in the centre fold-down armrest – which is one more than front occupants disappointingly receive.
Up-front and the Peugeot’s dashboard looks and feels chic, with plush plastics, soft mood lighting and rather nice part-leather/Alcantara seat trim that wraps around snug bucket seats. The small steering wheel, which must be positioned under the high-set speedometer and tachometer, won’t suit all driving positions – but this tester loves it.
Less suitable to all will be the lack of storage space even beyond the cupholder count, with a tiny glovebox and small centre bin forcing items into that big boot.
The infotainment system has thankfully been upgraded with CarPlay and A-Auto, too, because the in-built system can be frustrating. The ‘one shot’ keyboard-destination entry for navigation is impressive, but the voice control is switched off for Australia, the rear camera is glitchy and digital radio is unavailable.
Both Mazda and Volkswagen, if not Renault, include far more appealing and intuitive infotainment systems.
While the 308 Touring includes part-leather, keyless auto-entry, dual-zone climate control and nav, full leather trim with front seat heating is a $2500 option and a panoramic glass roof needs $1000 extra. A Golf 110TDI Highline includes both, though its roof also opens and the driver’s seat is electrically powered as well.
Peugeot does, however, include blind-spot, lane-keep and automatic reverse-park assistance that Volkswagen asks $1600 extra for – and while it also throws in adaptive cruise control for that price, which is unavailable here, this Allure responds with automatic up/down high-beam and a five-year (versus three-year) warranty.
Add that $1600 to the $38,990 (plus orc) Golf 110TDI Highline, though, and it comes out at $40,590 (plus orc). Add the $2500 and $1000 options to the 308 Touring Allure and it emerges with a pricetag of … $40,590 (plus orc). It doesn’t get any closer.
ON THE ROAD
- Engine: 110kW/370Nm 2.0 4cyl turbo diesel
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic, FWD
- Suspension: MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear
- Brake: Ventilated front and solid rear disc brakes
- Steering: Electrically assisted mechanical steering
If you want the best diesel engine available for around this pricetag, see Mazda with its $41,590 (plus orc) CX-5 Touring that offers only a handful of fewer features than either an optioned Golf or 308 (no full leather, seat heating, or sunroof, for example).
With 450Nm of torque, the Mazda diesel also provides all-wheel drive for that outlay.
Meanwhile in front-wheel drive small wagon, rather than medium SUV, territory, Peugeot offers 370Nm of torque at 2000rpm and 110kW of power at 3750rpm from its 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Volkswagen offers the same-sized diesel in the Golf 110TDI Highline Wagon with identical power but a lesser 340Nm, though its snappy seven-speed dual-clutch auto helps it from 0-100km/h in 8.9 seconds – versus 10.0sec flat here.
However with a kerb weight of 1400kg, the 308 Touring Allure is 25kg lighter than that rival, and its combined-cycle fuel consumption of 4.6 litres per 100 kilometres is 1.0L/100km thriftier. Even in an urban-biased route, on-test we achieved 7.2L/100km, which frankly is as brilliant as that class-leading boot volume.
The smoothness of this traditional auto also relegates the German rival’s dual-clutch ‘automated manual’ to a bygone era.
This French wagon is relatively quiet and enjoyable to drive. Even on optional 18-inch wheels ($1000 extra) its ride quality is well-judged, with slight jarring from those big alloys being only a slight spoiler.
The handling is stable and grippy, though, while the steering is light, immediate and perfectly in tune with a loping, touring-wagon application.
Indeed the only real issue is the pricetag.
As decent as the turbo-diesel is in isolation, the turbo-petrol available from $32K in the hatchback is also a sweeter engine that, on paper, is only seven-tenths slower from 0-100km/h (at 10.7sec) and 0.5L/100km less efficient (at 5.1L/100km).
Alternatively, for $39,990 (plus orc) buyers could have a Megane GT Wagon with a 151kW/280Nm 1.6-litre turbo-petrol that claims a 7.4sec 0-100km/h, 6.0L/100km and is ultimately far more enjoyable to drive.
NCAP rating: 5-Stars - the Peugeot 308 range scored 35.82 out of 37 possible points when tested by Euro NCAP in 2014.
Safety Features: Dual front, front-side and three-row full-length curtain airbags, ABS and ESC, 360-degree camera with front and rear parking sensors and automatic reverse-park assistance, blind-spot monitor, lane-departure warning with active lane-keep assistance and autonomous emergency braking (AEB).
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Five years/unlimited kilometres.
Servicing: Superb annual or 20,000km intervals come but with an expensive capped-price cost of $3150 to five years or 100,000km – or an average of $630 per service.
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
If you can sacrifice boot space and some equipment, the CX-5 Touring is worth the extra for its better diesel engine and roomier cabin especially.
For just $2K extra the Megane GT is so much better to drive than this Peugeot, even if it does slurp more fuel, while the Golf 110TDI Highline offers a nicer back seat and greater refinement – all for a near-identical pricetag to the 308 Touring Allure.
- Mazda CX-5 Touring Diesel
- Renault Megane GT
- Volkswagen Golf 110TDI Highline
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The aforementioned competitors make life tough for the 308 Touring Allure. In isolation its combination of class-leading boot volume and fuel efficiency make it an on-paper star. It also happens to be pleasant to drive and decently equipped.
Some ergonomic details – lack of rear legroom, storage space and infotainment panache – let it down, however, while kit such as full leather trim, heated front seats and a glass roof elevates it to $40K-plus where it fails to feel polished for the price.
This Peugeot simply feels best as a smart, affordable, efficient small wagon option, rather than a single, expensive high-grade version. It would be an absolute star for closer to $30K with a turbo-petrol engine, similar kit and smaller alloy wheels.
So it isn’t quite sunshine and roses, then, but if your local dealership were to throw in a few options for nix then this wagon might still be one of the brightest family car choices around.
- Interested in buying Peugeot 308? Visit our Peugeot 308 showroom for more information.