Peugeot's diesel GT

works wonders

Peugeot 308 GT, 15 plate, front, action
Peugeot 308 GT, 15 plate, front
Peugeot 308 SW GT, interior
Peugeot 308 GT, rear action
Peugeot 308 GT, tall static

MOSTpeople who drive are already aware that the Peugeot 308 is a great family car with a range of trim levels and engines to suit most pockets.

The GTis at the top of the range are out and out barnstormers and marvellous to drive, but lowered sports suspension can make them hard to live with because of a more unsettled ride.

A little lower down the range is the GT, which is available with either petrol or diesel engines, and I've been enjoying the 180bhp diesel - which is another one of those cars that can be all things to all men.

It brings a 0 to 62 time of just 8.4 seconds - definitely not to be sneezed at - and yet can also return an official fuel figure of 70 miles per gallon, and low, low emissions.

Also, and perhaps even more important, it has a comfortable ride over all surfaces, together with very good handling and roadholding.

Peugeot has realised the error of its ways and changed the main speed and tacho dials to operate in the same clockwise direction.

Early 308s had one sweeping anti-clockwise, which might have been aesthetically pleasing to the designers but was universally hated by drivers.

This diesel GT comes with a very good six speed automatic gearbox as standard, and the combination works very well indeed.

This auto - which is a manual with an automatic change - used to be slow and annoying, but here, it's been tweaked beautifully to make it far better, with quick, smooth changes and a good kickdown as long as the accelerator is pushed well down.

The 308 has very good looks from all angles and this one gets slightly lowered ride height and has excellent safety features.

It also gets high performance tyres, bigger brakes than the standard cars, and a redesigned grille and front end, with excellent LED headlights.

Inside are black, part-leather sports seats with red stitching, a leather-covered steering wheel, special instruments and an engine note that's amplified through the speakers.

It has a large touch screen with sat nav, 18-inch alloys, keyless entry and the Driver Assistance Pack - which includes adaptive cruise control, a collision alert system and an emergency collision braking system.

That's on top of an audio remote, alarm, traction and stability control, parking sensors and electrically adjusted front seats.

FAST FACTS

Price: £26,445

Mechanical: 177bhp, 1,997cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 137mph

0-62mph: 8.4 seconds

Combined MPG: 70

Insurance Group: 28

C02 emissions: 103g/km

Bik rating: 17%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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