Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Peugeot's 308CC puts the wind in your hair

Hood up or hood down, the Peugeot 308CC coupé convertible is a handsome beast. Intent on making the best of an Indian summer, I pressed a little button on the front of the armrest and in a few seconds the folding metal roof flipped back and neatly tucked itself away.



With the sun at my back and little traffic I was set fair for a pleasant run out to the coast. Driving such a delightful car, I took little persuasion to make a day of it.



Of course, there’s a price to pay for such ‘wind in the hair’ convenience but, unlike the case with some of its competitors, this stylishly feline French offering has enough boot space left when the roof is stowed away for a pair of fairly substantial suitcases to be swallowed.



Its bulbous flanks make the 308C seem a bigger, more imposing car than the mere statistics of its dimensions would lead you to believe. The rear seats offer minimal legroom but the driver and front seat passenger need harbour no such complaints: commodious is a word that springs to mind. ‘Elegant’ is another apposite term.



The 308CC comes in Access, Active, Allure and Roland Garros GT trim levels. It was the deluxe Allure version, with classy grey leather trim and a deep blue body colour that wowed my neighbours.



Whether standing at the kerbside or out on the road, it’s an imposing vehicle. – a real head turner.



It doesn’t just look good. Performance is imposing and various engine options, petrol and diesel, are on offer.



My Active e-HDI 112 test car offered such features as a 1,560cc diesel engine; six-speed gearbox; cruise control with speed limiter; 17-inch Stratos alloys; dual-zone cruise control; a rear parking aid; auto headlights; rain-sensing wipers, an electro-chrome rear-view mirror and LED day and night running lamps – plus such extra cost options as electric seat adjustment; metallic paint and luxury leather trim, bringing the asking price up to £23,715.



In standard trim, the range kicks off from £21,445 and tops out at £27,145.



With a 0-62mph time of 13 seconds and a 119-mph top speed, performance is not exactly brisk but such cars are more about relaxed cruising than ultimate



performance ad I found myself in far less desire of cracking on down the fast lane than is usually the case when I get behind the wheel. Relax and savour the moment seemed the best policy.



When you do press on a bit, the pimples start to show. There’s a bit of scuttle shake, but that’s what you must expect from a convertible, even a modern one, and the engine is noisier than many modern diesels.



The overall experience is a nice one though and when my week with the car was up I was loath to give up tenure of the keys.

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