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PEUGEOT GETS THE BLUES (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Want the most sophisticated diesel version of Peugeot's improved second generation 308 family hatch? Then you want the latest 1.5 BlueHDi 130 diesel version. In choosing it, you'll be getting one of the most efficient cars of this type in the segment. Jonathan Crouch reports.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 41
Put off diesels by the scare stories n the press? Peugeot hopes you'll think again after looking at the latest diesel-powered version of their improved second generation 308 family hatch, the 1.5-litre BlueHDi 130 derivative. It's cleaner, greener and very sophisticated.
Backgroundword count: 205
This Peugeot 308 1.5-litre BlueHDi 130 aims to do nothing less than change the way you think about diesels. Quite a task. Quite an engine? We're going to see. This is the most sophisticated of the BlueHDi engines in Peugeot's line-up and it's installed into a car that's lately been usefully improved with smarter packaging and extra media connctivity. The Peugeot brand has sold products in the family hatchback sector for longer than almost any other. Mid-sized compact Peugeots with a '3' designation actually go all the way back to the 301 of 1932, progressing through the pre-war 302 and the post-war 304 to the 305 and 306 models of the Eighties and Nineties. By then, the French brand had become less aspirational in the family hatchback segment as volume sales were chased with the forgettable 307 of 2001, the underpinnings of which also formed the basis for its less popular successor, the first generation 308 of 2007. Today though, this segment is changing, primarily with the continuing emergence of cheap Chinese and Korean rivals. Brands like Peugeot have been forced to respond by moving their cars a little more up-market and adding in new technology - like that used in this latest diesel powerplant.
Driving Experienceword count: 240
As our focus here is on that new 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesel engine, we'll start with that. This powerplant has been developed to replace the previous 1.6-litre BlueHDi unit and claims to offer a new era of black pump-fuelled efficiency for cars of this kind thanks to a whole range of thoughtful engineering touches, including a combustion chamber design apparently derived from that of Peugeot's 908 HDi diesel Le Mans racer. It's also more refined and responsive than the old engine, with the 130bhp unit offered from the launch of this revised model range being capable of 62mph from rest in 10.3 en route to a maximum of 125mph. The brand's 'EAT6' automatic transmission is optional. On the move in this 308, your first impressions feel positive as you settle in behind the small low-set steering wheel that's now an established brand trademark and peer above it at the slick-looking dial pack. Not everyone is in favour of this so-called 'iCockpit' layout, but we like the way it imparts a more direct, connected feel into the on-the-road experience. With this facelifted model, the brand hasn't made any dynamic changes to this car's ride and handling, but that remains impressive with a well-judged blend of responsive suppleness. The front end grips tenaciously if you do drive the 308 hard, and you'll enjoy the car's fundamental suppleness around town where the suspension does a good job in soaking up potholes and speed bumps.
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Category: Compact Family Cars
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