Peugeot: 2015 Peugeot 308 SW Allure review

Peugeot: 2015 Peugeot 308 SW Allure review

Buttons and dials need to be manufactured and assembled. Each button needs its own design and graphic, each dial must be smooth, and then they have to occupy space on the dashboard, so the layout needs to be ergonomic, intuitive and easy to reach for the driver.

Peugeot 308SW 2015 screenThey need to feel nice – not too plasticky, not too difficult to push, and with a satisfying click, or perhaps a smooth gliding action. With all this hassle, you’d think we would have engineered buttons and dials out of the car dashboard equation years ago.

Peugeot 308SW 2015 air conWell, it’s started. The Peugeot 308SW isn’t the first car we’ve tested that does away with the majority of the buttons on the dashboard – the Holden Volt didn’t have many ‘buttons’ as such, and the Jeep Cherokee we reviewed a few weeks ago had its seat heating controls hidden away – but this is the first one Peugeot 308SW 2015 front interiorI’ve driven that has totally done away with the air conditioning controls.

Instead of the usual array of buttons, you can only control the air conditoning using the touch screen.

Putting everything behind the 9.7-inch touch screen cleans up the interior no end – it won Peugeot 308SW 2015 frontMost Beautiful Interior Design of the Year 2013 at the 29th International Automobile Festival.

But this is a classic case of form over function. Every time I needed to change the air conditioning it took my gaze away from the road for around Peugeot 308SW 2015 rear quarter2 seconds. At 100kph this means I’ve travelled 56 metres without paying full attention to the road.

The screen is easy to reach from the seating position. Both front seats are comfortable enough, and both rear seats have plenty of legroom even with a tall driver. The instrumentation features a speedo on the left and a reverse rev counter on the right flanking a black and white LCD in the middle. It’s all easy enough to understand, if a little plain.

The Peugeot is as sleek on the outside as it is on the inside. My current favourite, the VW Passat R36 station wagon, now has a contender for whether it’s still at the top of my list of good looking wagons under $100k.

From the LED headlights, across the large wheel arches to the LED taillights, the lines give the impression that the 308SW is ready to move.

This sleekness doesn’t compromise the space. At 810 litres the boot is bigger than many cars that are a class size bigger. It’s 4.585m long and 2.043m wide

The soft suspension setup and light steering plant this Peugeot firmly in the comfortable cruiser class. With a 110kW 1.6-litre engine pushing 240Nm it’ll get to 100kph in 8.8 seconds, which is perfectly adequate for most people’s requirements.

Fuel economy is quoted at 6.5l/100km (combined), and that was fairly realistic for the test drives we conducted.

It’s not designed to be deftly flicked around sinuous blacktop and, despite the softer suspension, it doesn’t really like very bumpy roads.

Your driving is supported by the standard suite of electronic safety devices – anti-lock brakes, electronic stability programme, emergency brake assist, and electronic brakeforce distribution. Neutral handling with predictable understeer if pushed is the order of the day.

The hill hold brake is way too keen. This brake stops you rolling back when on a hill, but it is reluctant to give up its grip and when it finally does you lurch forwards.

The screen doubles as a display for the reversing camera and the satellite navigation. I believe, though, that the interface choices Peugeot has made with this screen are potentially dangerous.

Of course, you can choose whether or not to use the air conditioning while you are driving, but that’s ridiculous because driver comfort is important. Why make things harder than they need to be?

If the 308SW came with automated braking technology, I could accept it because it would reduce (but not eliminate) the danger of having your eyes off the road for 2 seconds at a time, but it doesn’t.

And this is a shame because the 308SW is a good, comfortable drive with practical boot space and excellent fuel economy. It even won European Car of the Year in 2014, so I’m not exaggerating when I say that it’s a quality car at this price point.

If the Peugeot pushes your buttons, give it a try, but bear in mind you won’t be pushing its air-conditioning buttons, you’ll be fumbling on a touch screen with your eyes off the road.

Price: $40,990

Pros

  • Relaxing, easy drive
  • Frugal fuel usage and low emissions
  • Substantial warranty (3 years/150,000km)

Cons

  • It’s simply dangerous to have to take your eyes off the road for as long as the 308 requires you to in order to change the air conditioning
  • Hill hold brake is a bit ‘grabby’


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