Each spring, a 58-member jury selects the Car of the Year. This year, it chose the Peugeot 308 from among some 30 competitors. Our car tester Mathis Kurrat says the 308 certainly LOOKS like a winner. Mathis Kurrat is going to test whether the car fulfills the promise of its design.
Mathis is a fan of the small steering wheel which gives the car a sporty character. But travel distance to shift gears is a bit too long and the gearshift could be more precise. That would make the car sportier. The new version of the Peugeot is 140 kilograms lighter than its predecessor. It's shorter and lower, too. At 4 point two-five meters in length, it's a match for the Golf.
Mathis doesn't like having to set the steering wheel so low to be able to see the speedometer and rev counter. If you aren't exceptionally tall, setting the steering wheel higher means your view of the instruments is no better than in the conventional arrangement, where you look through the steering wheel to see them. The Peugeot uses the same platform as the Citroen C4 Picasso, reducing production costs.
Peugeot offers five different engines for the 308, three gasoline-powered and two diesels. The one we tested -- the 85-kilowatt diesel -- features a stop-start system which comes as standard. The manufacturer says fuel consumption is 3 point 8 liters per 100 kilometers. The thrifty French car sells for 24,600 euros in Germany.
Mathis has nothing in principle against dynamic cruise control, but with this one, if the car in front of you suddenly brakes, the system goes into pause mode and tells the driver to resume manual control. Mathis asks: Then what is the point of a dynamic cruise control system?
So what's Mathis' overall rating of this Car of the Year? He says the Peugeot 308 is a good car. But there's room for improvement here and there, so it wouldn't have been his pick for Car of the Year.