Designed for showing off to beauty queens| PEUGEOT 308
BY RONALD REY M. DE LOS REYES
Twenty-three years ago, the country hosted the prestigious Miss Universe pageant. Back then, when I was a few years from teens – childish, stubborn, and foolish – I caught a glimpse of and was awestruck by Miss Colombia when she was at the Manila Hotel. Right there, I told my father (who was covering the event at the time) that I would someday surely want to marry a beauty queen.
Fast forward and I’m now married to a beautiful wife with two kids. The famous eye-candy pageant was back in town a few months ago. If I were still single, and if I had the money, I would drive the Peugeot 308 Hatchback and show off in front of the Miss Universe bets or, at least, take the car. And why not?
HANDOME POCKET ROCKET
It’s an exquisitely good-looking French car that has finely finished exteriors, complemented by LED headlamps. Definitely a pocket rocket, it’s 105 millimeters shorter and 19mm narrower than a Ford Focus and is just 1,205 kilograms light, referring to the 1.6-liter active model.
Meantime, the 1.6 Diesel GT Line, a unit of which I was able to borrow in a separate occasion, comes with extra visuals, like 18-inch alloy wheels, twin exhaust trim, and cooling air intakes. And oh, dig this, it’s lowered. From the front, all the way to its back, its subtly seamless sporting lines traverse through skirts along the side all the way to its “lion’s claw” tail lamps.
Any beauty queen will surely be smitten, for the Peugeot 308 was not named the European Car of the Year for nothing.
REFINED INTERIORS AND NEAT NICETIES
Inside, the 308’s focus is on build quality and comfort. From a minimalist point of view, the cabin is a complete haven as it’s easier on the eyes, featuring fewer buttons that tend to distract drivers in other rival vehicles. Here, the 9.7-inch touchscreen takes care of everything. It controls the navigation, radio and air-conditioning systems, providing the interior a sleeker and cleaner look.
It’s part of Peugeot’s unusual i-Cockpit design beautifully blending the elements, such as the central touchscreen, smaller-diameter steering wheel, and high-set dials.
Space-wise, the room at the front is enough for those long lean legs of your beauty queen. Just don’t let her friends stay in the rear though, as one might get cranky with the available space given. This, I learned, was meant to be able to allot better area for the boot. This can be better used for her large suitcases, gowns and whatnot for. With rear seats folded, the 308 can accommodate about 1,185 liters of stuff.
SUPERB DRIVING DYNAMICS
This quirky piece of machinery can zip through traffic, weaving with absolute ease. Some even compare it to the topnotch, class-leading Volkswagen Golf. Because of a special chassis based on Peugeot’s new EMP Modular platform, it’s lighter and gifted with the ability to handle tight corners effortlessly.
Powered by either its 1.6 HDI diesel that puts out 120hp and 300Nm of torque or the 1.6 THP variant, which produces 150hp and 240 Nm of torque, the 308 gives quite a kick in every turn and push on the straights. It’s actually quite a good mode of travel for everyday use, if you ask me. With its exquisitely smooth and comfortable ride — not to mention low noise levels, reliability, and first-class stability – you could use this vehicle to fetch your queen or bring her to photoshoots, events, and wherever her work takes day in and day out.
Although the GT Line may be a bit stiffer because of its bigger wheels, the 308 sports excellent suspension. In fact, as the road gets worse, the more the car just “soaks up the bumps” – like cradling a baby to sleep. All in all, this 308 is a step up from its other Peugeot siblings since its new platform give it a more supple ride while still living up to that French standard of premium quality.
With its finest facets, it would be hard to cast off such a masterpiece. It’s something that even a beauty queen wouldn’t do. While it’s good to dream and wonder about what could have been, I’d rather be in the arms of my own little “Miss Universe” back at home.
Positives: Excellent suspension, French flair, great trunk space, clean interior layout
Negatives: Rather cramped rear seating