OPTIONS are what we as a society crave. Whether it’s for dining, the way we shop, or what social media we use. Cars are no different, and if you want choice, 2019 is the year you should check out the Peugeot 308 Allure. We did, and we loved it.
Having first arrived in 2008, the Peugeot 308 has been an overlooked option in the family hatch segment. A new model was introduced in 2013 with a fresh new look and a subsequent face lift followed in 2017.
So, while Peugeot and it’s 308 are not new to the market, the Allure is worth more than a passing glance. It certainly looks the part, it’s sporty and sharp but not offensive to the eye.
That’s not to say there aren’t some quirks, such as the profile of the rear doors or the centre console design void of any air conditioning controls, but more on that later. Let’s get straight to the point though and say, this is a very good car.
We didn’t think we would like it as much as we did, but the more you live with it and get accustomed to it, the more and more it grows on you. It follow the latest Peugeot design language too, which makes each model in the Peugeot line-up easily identifiable.
But in our opinion, that design language suits the 308 best. One step up from the base model Active, the Allure adds a layer of refinement and sophistication over the entry level option.
Standard are a raft of safety features inherited from the Active such as lane keep assist, advanced driver attention alert, active safety brake and Smartbeam assistance. The Allure adds active blind spot monitoring and city park assist to complete the package.
Distinguished externally over the Active by adding 17-inch alloy wheels, a sports front bumper and full LED headlights, the Allure has a premium look to it, which carries over to the interior.
Gaining sports front seats and Peugeot Open & Go (key-less entry and start), the interior is somewhat sparse compared to what you may be used to. There is a distinct lack of buttons and lots of clear space.
It’s a refreshing take on interior design, but it will take some getting used to.
A nice high-set dash cluster keeps your eyes on the road as much as possible with only a small glance down to check your speed or any vital information. We like this layout and the clock dials look great too.
The trade off is that the steering wheel feels like it sits very low. It’s a strange feeling at first, but you quickly forget about it. Peugeot have continued the simplicity here too by only having two buttons and two dials on steering wheel. Another tick from us.
What will take the most getting used to though is the relocation of the air conditioning and climate controls to the Peugeot i-Cockpit, 9.7-inch capacitive touchscreen. This is the one thing we aren’t too sure about.
It means you need to add another button press and a longer look away from the road to find the control you are looking for. It feels like we’re back to square one giving the time saved from the dash cluster, back to the centre screen.
It’s something a haptic button or dial doesn’t require. We can understand where Peugeot are coming from and what they are trying to achieve, but it’s a case for us of so close but so far away.
Also on that list is the CD tray in the middle of the centre console. This really should have been integrated into the infotainment system.
The i-Cockpit touchscreen is where you’ll also find 3D navigation with voice recognition, mirror screen with smartphone connectivity and the vehicle settings menu, which lets you turn a whole range of car and safety settings on or off.
On the road, the 308 Allure drives and behaves beautifully, and you would be hard-pressed to believe it is powered by a 1.2-litre 3-cylinder turbo engine developing 96kW of power and an impressive 230Nm of torque.
Returning a claimed 5.1-litres/100km, it’s little wonder this engine won International Engine of the Year from 2014 to 2018 in the 1.0–1.4-litre category.
The six-speed automatic gearbox offers a smooth driving experience, apart from some hesitation when pulling away from a standstill after the start/stop system has been engaged.
You can sometimes be left with a moment of nothing after the engine re-fires and you press the accelerator. It’s a small blip on an otherwise impressive driving experience.
Coupled with the torque of that mighty 1.2-litre engine, whether it’s a quick dart to the shops, overtaking on the freeway or dicing with the best that city traffic has to offer, the 308 takes it in its stride and never leaves you without.
Oh, did we mention the engine noise? Yes, we are talking about a 1.2 litre but bear with us. The 3-cylinder engine makes a sound reminiscent of a high-performance diesel engine.
That might not sound like something to get excited over, but with some of the noises made by small capacity engines on the market today, this was a welcome surprise.
While it won’t win any handling awards or set any lap records, the 308 Allure is a more than capable family hatch that will look at home pulling up to a fine restaurant, the same as it would performing the school run.
It is by no means the popular choice when compared to it’s rivals, the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus or Renault Megane. However, it should be given strong consideration for those looking for a classy hatchback that has a fresh look on the world.
Like we mentioned earlier, we like this car and you will too, if you give it a chance.
Our test vehicle was provided by Peugeot Australia. To find out more about the 2019 Peugeot 308 Allure, contact your local Peugeot dealer.