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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Peugeot 308 VTi full test drive report!!!

Peugeot has worked hard over the past few years together with its partners here in Malaysia under the stewardship of Nasim Sdn Bhd to bring a host of new Peugeot vehicles here in Malaysia. I still can reminisce my younger days where it is hard to spot a Peugeot model on Malaysian road but in the past few years, the Peugeot brand under the steering of Nasim Sdn. Bhd has seen a tremendous years of sales and also a acceptance of customers to the brand with the first model which is the Naza 206 Bistari started to roll of the Naza Automotive Manufacturing factory in Gurun Kedah.

Since that, streams of Peugeot models have entered the Malaysian market under the Nasim umbrella with almost major models in the stables of Peugeot brand is here in Malaysia. One of the models that have been widely accepted in Malaysia is the Peugeot 308. The Peugeot 308 has entered the Malaysian market since 2009 and there are two models available here namely the 308 VTi and the more aggressive and sportier model, the Peugeot 308 Turbo. Last weekend, Nasim Sdn. Bhd. has arranged a test drive for me to review the 308 and the ride for my weekend was the Peugeot 308 VTi. If you have not notice or maybe you have not heard, Nasim Sdn. Bhd has launched in July 2010, a face lifted 308 VTi that features a more refresh look and more kits on hand. The most noticeable different is the look of the front bumper especially the front grille design where Peugeot has decided to uniformly features the same front end look of the 308 VTi with the more aggressive sibling the 308 Turbo. I’m sure you will still wondering what has change to this new Peugeot 308 VTi. Shown below are the items that were features in this new 308VTi.

• Leather wrapped steering wheel

• Sporty black dails instrument panel

• Electric folding side mirrors

• New Interior fabric design

• Cruise control with speed limiter

• New multi function display

• New 16 inch “Santiaguito” alloy rims.

So this 308 has seen an upgrade, let see how does this car drives and what are the features that has lured the customers to buy this car.

Dimension of the car

As you may know, the Peugeot 308 is a hatchback car and the looks of the 308 was an evolution of the 307 where Peugeot has kept most of its winning formula and refined it further to make this car much more appealing to an existing Peugeot owner and gain the interest of new Peugeot lovers. If you look from the exterior of the car, the first thing that will cross your mind is that the car look like its coming from an B segment car but looking down the statistic of the car, the numbers will surprise you. Shown below are a brief summary of the dimension of the car:

                            Peugeot 308        Toyota Vios             Honda City

Length:                     4,276                  4,300                     4,395

Width:                      1,815                  1,700                     1,695

Height:                     1,498                  1460                      1,470

Wheelbase:               2,608                  2550                      2,550

Boot Capacity:           430 Litres            475 Litres               506 Litres

Fuel tank capacity:      60 Litres             42 Litres                 42 Litres

All the dimension above are in mm.

A peek look at the dimension above, it clearly shows that the 308 is not a small car indeed, with the most thoughtful features are the width of the car and also the wheelbase of the car. This two dimension translate this car to a more cabin space for the occupant of the car. Since the cabin space of the car is quite big, you will also be surprise to peek at the trunk room of the car. For a hatchback car, the boot capacity is capacious which translate to 430Litre of space (VDA calculation) which is the same boot space capacity of Proton Persona and also previous generation of Toyota Vios. As I have mention earlier, spacious cabin space, this airiness of the space is further boost by the large glasshouse of the car.

The first thing that will cross your mind when you step into the car is the large front windscreen. For me, it took me a few minutes to acclimatise with the large view in front of me. The A pillar of the car is nicely swoop to on top of your head but luckily the designer of Peugeot has design the A pillar in such a way that you don’t feel claustrophobic like the one in Proton Satria Neo which has rake the A pillar to close to your head. Speaking of A pillar, Peugeot designer also has made a very notable design of not employing a thick A pillar design which will become a blind spot to the driver when driving the car especially when negotiating a corner. Let’s move on to the design on the dashboard.

The design of the dashboard is very modern with a hint of luxury especially with the use of chrome plastic inserts on the instrument dials, the air cond vent and also the gear selector. The centre cluster of the dashboard was design in such a way it swoop from the top of the centre cluster to the centre console of the car thus you feel that you are in the cockpit of an aircraft with all the button are within reach of your hand. The only grouse that I can point of to the design of the centre cluster is when you set your gear lever to “P” position, it is quite hard to see or push the button of the air cond selector as the air cond selector button is just behind the “P” gear lever. In term of choice of material used on the dashboard of Peugeot 308, I can give good thumbs up to the Peugeot by employing a very nice soft touch plastic material which has covered almost 90% of the dashboard area. It is very nice to touch and it has a very nice tactile feeling to it. The only letdown to the overall tactile feeling to the car is when you start to touch the other plastic material of the car. Some of the plastic part of the car does have some sharp edge to it especially when you touch the cruise control lever, the radio control lever, the rear view mirror and some other parts of the plastic trim of the car thus, I think if Peugeot can look more detail into it, I would say the overall built interior quality is spot on.

For a hot weather country like Malaysia, the air cond performance is one of the most important factor when you want to choose your new ride, and for Peugeot 308, the air cond performance I can rate it as good. One of the new features of 308 facelift is dual zone auto air cond where both front passenger can choose their own air cond temperature preference or if you like to have the air cond system decide the best setting, you can just leave it to auto mode and let the system with all its sensor to decide what is best for you.

The car on the move:

When you first step in into the car, you can feel the seat provide a very good lumbar support and the seat hug my body frame quite nicely. There is height adjustable seat for the driver side and to further improve the overall driving position, the Peugeot 308 is equipped with height and reach adjustable steering wheel thus it is easier for the driver to get its sweet driving position. Turn the key to ignition, the engine started with a slight hint of engine noise, but it is not too noticeable, once you slotted the gear lever to “D” position, you will hear an audible alarm plus a visual aid indicating that you have not fasten your seatbelt. You can’t fool the system though, as further check I found that the seat does comes with Occupant Weight Sensor to detect the present of passenger on the seat. If you have search more about this sensor on the internet, this sensor actually can determine whether the passenger who sat on the seat are children or adults and this sensor can sent the signal to the airbag ECU for proper airbag deployment when the car involved in an accident. I’m not so sure whether the Peugeot 308 does employ the system that I have mention, but I think most likely the system has been built to supplement the SRS Airbag system.

Speaking of safety, the 308 has been loaded with quite a number of safety features, namely 4 airbags (2 front airbags, 2 side airbags) against 6 airbags found in 308 Turbo, anti whiplash front head restraints, 2 ISOFIX mounting points on the rear seat and also the normal acronyms of ABS, EBD and EBA to provide the most stopping power when needed. When I spoke about stopping power, the test drive car of 308 does have a very good stopping power. Just a light tap on the brake pedal, straightly you can feel the brakes effectiveness of doing its job thus rest assured when you are driving in a more aggressive manner, you can rest assured that this Pug can give you enough power to stop the car when you needed it most.

In terms of handling and suspension setup, the Peugeot 308 employs independent Macpherson struts with anti roll bars at the front and torsion beam with anti roll bars at the rear. With this setup, when I push the car, I can feel that the suspension was set slightly hard on the front end and slightly soft on the rear end, thus when you push the car around the corners especially on the B road section, there is a slight hint of over steer to the car but this can be easily corrected as the car provide good body composure with less body roll to balance out the whole composure of vehicle dynamics. When driving on highway and also B road section, the overall suspension provides a good balance of comfort and composure soaking all the road undulation a typical trait of a continental car.

In terms of steering wheel, the car provides a very sharp steering response with a good steering linearity where the car front end will point out as what has been instructed on the steering wheel angle and the steering wheel has a nice weight to it. At first, it is quite hard for me to getting used to the steering wheel as my usual ride use EPS (Electric Power Steering) and the Peugeot 308 use electro hydraulic power steering, thus it is quite heavy for me at first, but after a few days of driving the car, I think it is not a real deficit at all employing such as system.

The next item that I would like to discuss is about the engine of the Peugeot 308. The 308 is powered by a 1.6 litre Dual Variable Valve Lift and Timing BMW-PSA Prince engine which is also can be found on Mini car which provide 120hp at 6,000rpm and 160Nm of torque at 4,250rpm. When you look at this figure, you know that the engine is tune to provide torque but sacrifice the top end power and this is very important as the car do feel quite heavy. Sadly a peek at the brochure provided by Nasim does not indicate the kerb weight of the car, a search on the net provides me that Pug 308 weigh almost 1,327kg thus it is not light car and this can be felt when you first floor the throttle and the car lazily push itself but once the car has get going, the mid torque of the car provides a very nice ample push when you are in the mood of some aggressive driving.

The only thing that limit is overall ability of the car is its transmission. The Peugeot 308 engine is mated to a 4 speed auto adaptive with Porsche Tiptronic systems that provides 3 modes of Auto, Manual and Sports mode. During town driving, especially when you drive a bit aggressive, I found that the car sometimes is hunting for gears i.e. searching for the right gear to get going and this is quite annoying at times but when you drive the car smoothly, this hunting of gears is not present at all in turn, you will be quite surprise of the smoothness of the gear change, i.e. you can’t feel any shift shock when the gears are changing and this is also apparent when you shift the gears manually or automatically when you push the car to the red zones thus the only thing that Peugeot engineers need to do is a proper TCU(Transmission Control Unit) mapping to provide a better gear selection especially on town driving.

In terms of creature comfort, the 308 is equip with a 6 speaker ICE system which produce a very nice sound stage. You can’t compared this setup to provide the same ambience of a Bose ICE setup, but for a standard Peugeot setup, I think this is quite good for a car on this price range. The ICE setup provides you a few sound stage selection such as Pop-Rock, Techno, Classical, Jazz-Blues and a few others selection thus you can tune the ICE to your liking. In terms of NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness), the 308 scores quite good on this section and this is apparent even you drive this car at legal speed limit or more, you can still have a descent conversation with the occupant of the car where it is quite hard to hear the tyre noise and also wind noise intruding into the cabin.

The other creature comfort of this 308 is the use of auto wipers and auto headlights where during my test drive session is it raining all weekend, thus it provides me the best chance to test the system. What I can say that, both auto headlight and wipers system works perfectly especially the auto wipers where the sensors can detect and react to the amount of rain and speed of the car travelling with flying colours. What I need to do is set the wipers to auto and Walla, the sensor do the wiping job for me and I just need to concentrate on the road in front of me. In terms of auto headlamps, the sensor too was sensitive enough to switch on the light when there is a change amount of available light. Besides the auto headlamps and wipers, the rear view mirror of Peugeot 308 is equipped with auto dimming rear view mirror and this systems also works perfectly with changing lighting condition providing you a very focus drive even there is glaring light coming from the other car behind you. Kudos to Peugeot for providing these nice creature comfort gadgets to the car.

At the end of the 4 days of reviewing this car, the Peugeot 308 has provide me a very nice driving experience, and to tell you the truth, I’m tempted to have this car for my daily drive, the only thing that is lacking for my point of desire is the shortcoming of the gearbox and also the lack of oomph when pushing the car especially from standing start but the rest of other features and experience are spot on. But don’t take my words entirely, if you do fancy for a Peugeot 308, do have a test drive first as people has their own driving preference and style thus it might not be too good for me, but maybe it is perfect for you. The Peugeot 308 is retail at RM 99,888.00 and it comes with 3 years warranty. There are fives body colour to choose from with my personal preference will be the Babylon red colours. Last but not least, from the 4 days driving experience I would rate this car as:

AIM overall rating: 3.5 star out 5

p/s I'm sorry for the over cast pictures, its been raining all weekend as you all may know, that is the only best time I can snap the photo of the car.


  1. nice review. but wold be more helpful if price is included

  2. The price was included at the final paragraph: "he Peugeot 308 is retail at RM 99,888.00 and it comes with 3 years warranty. "

  3. cool thanks for the information, how about the latest 308 turbo, any review?- Jack

  4. since you like faster car and 6 speed, just buy 308thp :)

  5. Nice review. but u gave 3.5 out of 5. What is your reservation? Is is the gearbox?

    1. Well the 3.5 is due to various setback with the car, the power delivery of the engine is quite lethargic due to the weight of the car during the initial acceleration and this continues with poor gear selection by the car TCU. The rest is quite normal such as the sharp plastic edge on the interior part of the car, thus to sum it up, that's why i gave it 3.5 out of 5. Have you check out my other reviews about the 308 Turbo and the 3008.


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