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Peugeot 308 GT Premium Wagon Review

Can a French wagon be as comfortable in the heart of the outback as it is in the city?

Picture this: a remote mining town, Lightning Ridge, nestled deep within the heart of New South Wales. It's the kind of place where there red dust covers every surface, where the terrain is rugged and it's probably what you picture when thinking of Outback Australia.

It's Toyota Landcruiser territory through and through, with 4x4s reigning supreme, their large frames tackling the outback and open mines.

And it's probably the last place you would expect to see a French wagon. Nevertheless I took on a challenge, setting off from Sydney on an 808km journey to this remote outpost, to see if this classy French wagon could hold its own.Picture not described

But first: how does the Peugeot 308 GT Premium Wagon look?

The exterior design is a blend of finesse and subtlety.

Our test vehicle was painted in Olivine green, and while any sort of green on a car is something I am ordinarily not partial to, it works a charm on this French beauty. Sharp lines, modern contours, long LED running lights and a sense of luxury running through its design make it a frankly beautiful car to look at.

If automobiles could walk down a runway, this one would steal the show.

What's it like inside?

Inside, it's no different.

Everything is bolted together like a submarine. And as you would expect from a vehicle labeled the "Premium" version, the finish is luxurious.

Nappa leather seating make you feel like you're sitting in an executive lounge on wheels, with lots of perforation and stitching. The front seats are also electronically adjustable, have a heating function and also come with a massage function – the height of indulgence.

While the second-row legroom is tight for average to taller passengers, it would be perfectly fine for children and teenagers.

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The 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system is responsive and easy to navigate, with well-designed graphics that will likely make other cars blush. The iToggle screen that runs below the infotainment screen, featuring shortcut keys, is an innovative addition that further contributes to the vehicle's premium feel.

When it comes to connectivity, it's Apple's CarPlay that gets the VIP treatment with wireless capability. Android users are left trailing with a wired connection. It's not a deal-breaker by any means, but as an Android user, it leaves me just a touch green with envy.

The driver's display, with its 3D digital layout, is a bit unusual at first, but like a peculiar point of difference, you grow to appreciate it over time.

What's the Peugeot 308 GT Wagons boot like?

And then there's the power tailgate with gesture control.

What's not to love about this feature? You've got your hands full with groceries, no problem – give a swift kick under the boot and voila!

Storage, you ask? The Peugeot 308 boasts a massive boot space of 608 litres, which expands to a generous 1634 litres when you fold down the seats.

What's the Peugeot 308 Wagon like to drive?

Under the bonnet, the 1.2-litre 3-cylinder turbo petrol engine may sound modest, but it's a workhorse. There's little turbo lag, and the cabin stays impressively quiet. It's efficient, but be beware that overtaking manoeuvres will cause a noticeable spike in fuel consumption.

It pairs seamlessly with an 8-speed automatic transmission, powering the front wheels with smoothness and agility.

The engine performance is a testament to Peugeot's engineering capabilities.

Despite its small displacement, the engine never fails to deliver when it's needed most, like a loyal kelpie rounding up a stray sheep. As I mentioned earlier, while overtaking the outback trucks and caravans, it managed well, but did result in a visible spike in fuel consumption

Despite some road surfaces being less than ideal due to recent flooding, the 308 remained comfortable and compliant. Peugeot's commitment to creating a vehicle that can comfortably tackle a range of surfaces is clear to see.

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How safe is the Wagon?

In the pursuit of luxury, Peugeot hasn't turned a blind eye to safety.

Beneath its plush exterior, the 308 is fortified with a range of safety features. A testament to Peugeot's commitment to offering a vehicle that doesn't compromise safety for sophistication.

One particular point I was keen to touch on was how reliable and accurate the speed sign recognition was – even in unusual circumstances, like an unexpected 80km/h zone that cropped up during the flood-damaged road section of the journey.

While other cars were unsure and bolted back up to 110km/h, the little Peugeot was adamant it was still an 80km zone, and sure enough a few kilometres up the road it was proven right.

An accurate system can really save your pocket in the outback – that could have been a 30km and over speeding fine.

Some other safety technology you get are:

  • Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
  • Lane keep assist
  • Reversing camera
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Tyre pressure monitoring
  • Active lane centering

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Pricing and ownership

Servicing the 308 GT Premium Wagon isn't necessarily the cheapest. In fact, the pay-as-you-go route can work out to a hefty sum – $2,489 over 5 years, or $498 per year.

However, Peugeot has taken heed of this and offers a more palatable alternative.

By opting for pre-paid maintenance, owners can cut down the service cost significantly. For instance, a 3-year pre-paid plan costs $1,000, saving you $494 as opposed to pay-as-you-go servicing.

If you can afford the upfront payment, a 5-year plan for $1,800 is available, saving you $689 over the term.

Peugeot provides a 5-year warranty with unlimited kilometres on the 308 GT Premium Wagon, aligning it nicely with industry standard – bar a few outliers offering 7 years.

Peugeot 308 GT Premium Wagon review: Verdict

From the city of Sydney to the unique outback mining town of Lightning Ridge, the 308 never wavered, handling both city traffic and rough rural roads with equal poise.

You might be wary of the fact that it's a 1.2-litre, 96kw Wagon, but don't be too quick to judge.

There is also the thorny issue of price. At a driveaway price of $55,079 in Sydney, it isn't cheap. And convincing potential buyers to part with that amount of money for a 1.2-litre, 96kW wagon might feel like convincing a steak lover that tofu is a worthy substitute.

But before you dismiss the French automaker, consider the following: if you're someone who values the soothing motion of massage seats more than neck-snapping acceleration, the cost may be justified.

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Alex Jeffs is the senior publisher for personal, car and business finance at Finder. He has been building websites since he was 14 years old and has tested cars everywhere from race tracks to Oodnadatta. See full bio

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