Ask anyone who knows me what my favourite qualities in a car are and they’ll tell you quite a few things. But in that list you’ll find “convertible” and “turbo” right near the top, and Peugeot’s 308CC (which has been around for some time now) marries the two rather well.

Peugeot of course invented the concept of a hard-top convertible before most of us were born, and the 308CC is the newest member of their family of flashers.

I’ll start with the convertible bit. Chopping the roof of a car into sections and then having to stow it in the boot has always posed a few problems, with weight being the biggest. Chassis flex, or scuttle shake, is the next. And then, looks tend to suffer when that roof is up.

Somehow though, 308CC manages to hide all these problems, allowing you to concentrate on the joy of driving with the wind in your hair. Scuttle shake isn’t bad, though there is a bit too much for my liking (most 308CC buyers will not even notice it). And with the metal roof up, sure the car does get a rather bulbous forehead, but it’s integrated nicely into the overall design and won’t make you sick.

Boot space does suffer, of course, when you lower the roof (which takes 23 seconds) but you can still get a light bit of shopping in. And when the roof is up, well then you could probably plan a trip to the Garden Centre. The boot lid is very heavy though, and I battled to close it properly.

Interior dynamics with the roof down are among the best I have experienced with a convertible. With the windows up, there is only a small amount of wind turbulence –your hair will be totally fine! Wind the windows down and you get a great dose of wind, and I love this (but I do have short hair).

Back seat passengers will, of course, have a different experience to those in front, but that’s not too big a problem because the back seats are there purely for the off-chance you may need to transport somebody who is three feet tall.

Comfort levels (up front) are great, with full-leather semi-bucket seats all round and a good driving position for the driver. Controls are all in their usual place (I am getting very accustomed to the Peugeot design). Ride quality is good, despite the low-profile 18-inch wheels and tyres, but the handling is definitely let down by that slight flex in the chassis. Then again, you’re not buying this to attend a track day, are you?

The engine is another highlight of this car, and there’s no surprise there because it’s Peugeot’s popular 1.6 THP unit – the same one you’ll find in the Peugeot RCZ sports car, the Citroën DS3 and even the MINI Cooper S. Producing 115kW and 240Nm, it made light work of moving what is a heavy car. Its sound effects are always smile-inducing.

Carbon emissions are rather hefty at 192g/km, but that’s due mostly to the car’s weight and the fact that the one I tested was an automatic (the manual spits out 167g/km. The transmission (6-speed) drove the front wheels without fault and would actually be my choice over the manual because it allows you to concentrate on showing off. Fuel consumption isn’t great but I managed a decent 8.7-litres per 100km – fine for this type of car.

Looks-wise, the car is a bit dated but it’s not a train smash, and there is a mild (but sexy) facelift due later this year. The front is of course dominated by the familiar Peugeot smile and swept-back headlights, and it is all very aggressive. The rear is also rather cheeky and the tail lights (full LED) are very feline. Peugeot uses some very interesting design technology in its tail lights, and the effect is fantastic at night.

The features list in the 308CC is a decent one, and notables include a host of steering wheel-mounted controls (hidden neatly behind the spokes), dual-zone climate control, cruise control, Bluetooth for hands-free and audio streaming purposes, iPod and USB integration, automatic lights, wipers and mirrors, a refrigerated cubby hole and a cargo net in the boot.

There are no cup holders though (seriously) which is just unacceptable in today’s world of drive-through lunches. On the safety front, ABS (anti-lock braking system) and EBD (electronic brake-force distribution) are on duty, as well as six airbags. 308CC has a 5-star Euro-NCAP rating.

At R354 845 for the 1.6 THP automatic I tested (the manual is just over R14 000 less), you will need a decent salary to afford it and, if you can, it should definitely make your short list.

You could buy the Renault Mégane CC which costs a whole lot less (R259 900 and manual only) but then you would have to contend with looks only a mother could love (I will be bringing you a road test of that car soon, too). The VW Eos 1.4 TSI goes for R356 645 (manual only), but as it’s a VW it comes with a huge options list. As a convertible the 308CC pushes all the right buttons; it looks good and you’ll look good in it. It would be my choice alongside the other two, hands down.

I can’t wait for the facelift!

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend