Peugeot 308 CC: 6,647 Miles Coniston
Peugeot 308 CC: 6,647 Miles
Our glamorous new Peugeot 308 CC has only just arrived on the fleet, but it’s already proved a big crowd ‘puller’! My first real trip in the drop-top was up the M1 to the Millbrook proving ground in Bedfordshire, where I was a judge at The Caravan Club Tow Car of the Year awards.
It’s the third time I’ve been given the opportunity to cast my vote in this test, and 2009’s competition was tougher than ever. You’ll have to wait until later this year to find out the result – but I can reveal that the winner wasn’t the Peugeot!
Despite having a healthy towing weight of 1,400kg, the coupé-cabrio wasn’t taking part. Instead, its task is to inject the Auto Express fleet with some wind-in-the-hair thrills. And as the team’s convertible queen, I’m well placed to assess the CC’s drop-top credentials.
As long as it’s not raining, I love driving with the top down. The thing about the 308 is that when the weather turns nasty, it can fall back on its folding metal hard-top – so it promises to be a convertible for all seasons.
But with four seats and hatchback underpinnings, it needs to be practical as well as stylish. So, a roof-down trip to the seaside with a friend and her two children would be stern test.
There was no problem getting the little ones into the rear, as Peugeot’s optional one-touch electric front seats slide out of the way to make access easy.
It was a different matter squeezing all the buckets and spades, a picnic basket and boogie board into the boot, however. When the roof is stowed, carrying capacity is halved, dropping from 465 litres to a measly 266 litres.
Worse still, loading and unloading is almost impossible through the narrow aperture below the roof mechanism.
What also niggles me about the 308 is that even though the bodyshell feels reasonably stiff, when the roof is retracted the car still suffers from scuttle shake. Overall, the ride is supple, but it can crash over rough surfaces, which further highlights the body flex.
Elsewhere, the over-light steering takes a little getting used to, while the gearshift feels rubbery and slack – and the sharp brakes have to be used sensitively if you want to avoid lurching to a standstill.
But on the whole, the car has impressed. I’m not even too worried about driving it when the temperature drops, as our top-of-the-range GT model comes with the firm’s fantastic Airwave system.
This sees a vent in the headrests blow a stream of warm air across your neck and shoulders – and when used in tandem with the heated seats, it should help me to keep nice and snug, even on chilly autumn and winter days.
For now, though, I’m just focusing on enjoying the last of this summer’s sunshine.
And if the weather stays fair, I may even hitch up a caravan and take the Peugeot on holiday!
Author: Lesley HarrisAugust 2009