By Mike Torpey on 2023-01-09 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Peugeot 308 Allure
Premium PureTech 130
AN economic crisis is something very familiar to French car manufacturer Peugeot.
It was during the severe austerity of the early 1930s that the company launched the first of its now time-honoured 300 series, the 301.
The idea was to offer a compact model - somewhere between a small saloon and a family car - to meet the demands of customers anxious to make every penny, or centime, count.
Ten generations and 90 years of automotive evolution down the line and the new Peugeot 308 has become a history-maker in its own right - ironically during an economic meltdown of similar magnitude.
To describe it as a hugely successful car would be an understatement in that the first two versions of the model had notched up seven million sales before the latest 308 hit the streets earlier this year.
And what an impact it has made in a matter of months, scooping the Women's World Car of the Year 2022 title - beating 65 new models in the process - as well as making the final seven for Car of the Year.
Significantly, the latest 308 and its estate stablemate the 308 SW, are also the first to feature the brand's new logo, a roaring lion's head which also houses the radar sensors used by the car's autonomous driving aids.
It gives the 308 an altogether more classy look than before, something that extends to the car's interior which sports Peugeot's latest i-Cockpit with its flat top and bottom multi-function steering wheel and 10-inch colour touchscreen.
Both the 308 and the SW are up for grabs with a choice of two plug-in hybrid powertrains - featuring a 1.6-litre petrol engine plus a battery and electric motor - along with the brand's 1.2-litre PureTech petrol and 1.5 BlueHDI diesel.
Our variant, in the extensively kitted mid-range Allure Premium trim, was the PureTech petrol which produced 130bhp delivered via an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
It's a sweet revving unit and at its best in the suburbs or city where it feels exceptionally smooth and the need for serious acceleration isn't an issue, though to be fair the car does feel swifter than its 0-62mph time of 9.7 seconds would have you believe.
Fuel economy is also impressive, our return over the best part of 200 miles fractionally topping 47 miles per gallon compared to the official Combined figure of 52.1mpg.
Move inside and that i-Cockpit info set-up looks smart, is straightforward to use, has clear graphics, a pin-sharp rear-view camera and there's also smartphone mirroring via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. There's voice recognition software too.
As for practicality there's good and adequate. On the plus side we're talking comfy, durable seats with two-colour stitching and, for driver, very agreeable visibility all-round.
Space is plentiful up front and for a pair of rear passengers there's ample head, shoulder and legroom while the boot is larger than you generally find in cars of this type and extremely accommodating. The rear seats also split and fold 60/40.
But while rear space is fine for kids, it can prove a tight squeeze for three adults, especially given there's a transmission tunnel hampering a centre passenger's legroom.
Oddments space is pretty standard, the likes of door bins, glovebox, central container and cupholders all present, and you also get four USB ports plus, in higher spec versions, a smartphone charging pad.
Peugeot 308 Allure Premium PureTech 130
Mechanical:130bhp, 1,199cc, 4-cyl PureTech petrol engine driving front wheels via eight-speed automatic transmission
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