Our Cars: Peugeot 308 Active 1.2 e-THP 130

15 August 2015: HJ Bids Fond Farewell to the 308

The Details

Mileage 12,654
Claimed economy 61.4mpg
Actual economy 48.58mpg

Another run up to Northumberland saw 50.98mpg, bringing the average economy of the Peugeot 308 PureTech 130 over 12,075 miles to a very creditable 48.58mpg.

Accepted, these runs now involve more than 120 miles of tedious 50mph contra-flow on the A1 and M1. But, on the other hand, the car gets a serious 90-mile cross-country workout that involves the overtaking of obstacles to progress such as mobile homes.

Driving any car for 11 months develops a different relationship from a 100-mile 'test drive' on a car launch. With all new cars, the flaws are immediately obvious. However, it isn't until you have built up a long-term relationship with the car that you learn to live with those flaws and sometimes turn them to your advantage.

The 308 was delivered on 'storage' tyre pressures so hard it was impossible to steer accurately. Dropping them right down to 30PSI all round cured that, giving some 'feel' to the tiny steering wheel through the high-geared electric power assistance. Nevertheless, this is not a steering wheel that a wise man holds in the classic 'ten to two' IAM style. Depending on the road and the corners, it can be best to support the hand that holds the wheel on a knee. Or to position both hands where they will need to be when exiting the corner rather than when entering it. That way, you can make very quick steering inputs, which can make the car very quick around a known roundabout, for example.

The more I drove the car the more I appreciated the perfect relationship between power and torque. It doesn't read brilliantly on paper: 130PS at 5,500rpm and 230Nm from 1,750rpm. But actually most of the torque is there from around 1,000rpm and, with a light flywheel, the 3-cylinder engine spins to the limiter very quickly. So you work it on the torque as you would a diesel. But, unlike a diesel, there's no bottomless pit of nothingness at low rpm. So, most of the time, you find yourself running at below 2,000rpm, yet still going quite quickly, and, of course, very economically.

The Peugeot 308 has such excellent cruise control that I found myself using it more than on any car I have driven previously.

You use your left thumb on the hidden switch to turn it on. Then your forefingers to engage it at the speed you are travelling and adjust your speed up and down by 1mph at a time. 

This feature comes in very handy in those endless contraflows where 52mph on the Peugeot's excellent digital speedometer is a true GPS checked 50mph, yet many cars are travelling at 50 on their speedos, which is a true 48. Other cars and trucks will brave the average speed gauntlet by driving at 55 on their speedos reckoning they won't get done for a true 53. And others who don't have cruise may vary their true speed from 45 to 55mph.

I try to stay out of the way, in the left hand lane, but stick to a true 50 as much as I can. So, if someone in front is doing a true 48 I might finger my speed up to 53 on the speedo to get past them before fingering it back to 51 to bring my average back down to a true law-abiding 50. Give me a simply adjustable system like that over 'active cruise control' any day. A button on the end of the control pauses or re-engages cruise at the previously selected speed.

And now, confession time. Look hard at the photo above and you will see that the offside DRL is slightly dislodged.

Now the thing about the soft, pedestrian-friendly fronts of modern cars is that any damage may not be immediately apparent. I'd stopped after the pheasant strike, felt around the whole front of the car, and all had seemed well. It wasn't until a couple of days later that the offside headlight started sinking into its aperture. That was fixed by a bit of rudimentary dismantling and the application of a fat lump of Blue Tack. The DRL went un-noticed. All this occurred back in December at least 8,000 miles ago, and I hand-washed the car half a dozen times since then.

It wasn't until the car's first service at 10,000 miles that Robins & Day noticed the DRL had come completely adrift. A bit of disassembly and reassembly put it back, but either the pheasant or the light unit rattling about must have cracked it because some moisture got in. And that sent the car's warning systems berserk. 

You can't switch them off. You can switch off the screen, but not the beeper. So, though the DRL was on some of the time but not all of the time, I was plagued for my last 650 miles in the car's company by the beeper beeping, the service light coming on and a warning message flashing 'check sidelights'.

None of this would have happened if the front of the car had been harder and less pheasant/pedestrian friendly. But it serves as a warning that if anything bumps into a front corner of a modern car, the true damage might not show for months.

Peugeot 308 LT DRL Moisture (1)


« Earlier: 27th July 2015: HJ Saved by the 308's Satnav    

15 August 2015: HJ Bids Fond Farewell to the 308
HJ's 308 has now gone back to its maker after 12,124 lively miles.
The 308's satnav might not like UK postcodes, but it certainly knows its way around a traffic jam.
After 10,007 miles HJ's 308 was asking for a service. So we added Peugeot servicing to the test.
HJ's 308 has been working hard since the last report, covering 2,000 miles in just three weeks.
4 weeks away means HJ only gets to put another 740 miles on his 308 1.2 Pure Tech
HJ piles on another 1,059 miles in his long-term 308 and gets to test the rear seat legroom.
After a dodgy start due to a duff PDI, HJ has settled very happily into his Peugeot 308 1.2 PureTech 130
As HJ's Peugeot 308 1.2 130 engine loosens up, mpg improves, to 51.75 over the last 1,622 miles.

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