Often a problem associated with car launches is that with all the activity going on, the day tends to become a bit of a blur. No sooner have you wiped the sleep from your eyes after a 6am flight than you find yourself hitting the road and putting 300km under your belt as you try and soak up as much about the vehicle as possible.
This is before sitting through a business presentation where you listen to a company representative explaining why this is the best car in its particular segment. The presentation is normally backed up with graphics, comparison charts and a video to try to make it more believable. And it’s normally at about this stage, despite the air conditioning set at near freezing, that I start to nod off, with the last thought being that the lunch of Karoo lamb with mint sauce sounds pretty darn good. To wrap up the day, it’s a mad scramble back to the airport before you wing your way home where you started off 16 hours earlier. The “fun” part is hitting the office the next day and trying to figure out how you are going to write 1 000 words about a new generation vehicle where the only change is that it now has colour coded door handles. Which is why at IgnitionLive we always welcome the opportunity to test drive vehicles over an extended period and get the entire team behind the wheel. And it is that variety of opinion about a particular vehicle that I find the most interesting. Which, I guess, brings us to a vehicle that has joined us for a six month period, the Peugeot 308 GT Line. When it was launched locally in March, it was alongside the entry level 308 Active. Completing the lineup in September will be the top end GT, which pushes out an impressive 151kW and 285Nm from its 1.6 litre engine.
Now, the 308 GT Line is not exactly new to me, having driven it for two days last year through the scenic countryside of Belgium and then again during the local launch in the Midlands. But the fact that I’m discovering new aspects of the car reinforces the theory that an extended period behind the wheel of a vehicle is the best way of fully evaluating and understanding what it is all about. Small things that are finding favour with the 308 GT Line are the auto activation of hazard lights when braking hard, the auto function of the windscreen wipers and lights, the folding side mirrors and the auto release handbrake. The massage function on the electrically operated front seats, which are neatly packaged with leather bolsters and Alcantara inserts, also gets the thumbs up. The styling of the GT Line is impressive. From an exterior perspective, the full LED designed headlights incorporating daytime running lights add a sporty element, as do the slim exhaust tailpipes on either side of the black finished diffuser.
Compared to the Active model, where you get 16 inch wheels, with the GT Line you get larger 17 inch designs. The windows are also tinted. For me, though, the two standout features of the GT Line that have impressed from day one are the class of the interior and the performance of the 1.2 litre Pure Tech three cylinder engine. Materials used in the cabin aptly described as an i-cockpit are top notch, with red stitching providing a nice contrast to the largely black hue. Brushed aluminium around the door handles and on the gear stick also helps to provide for a more upmarket feel and appearance. The dashboard takes a minimalistic approach, with most functions incorporated in the 9.7-inch touchscreen interface. Here you will find functions such as dual climate control and the infotainment system. The engine is also punchy enough. Hooked up to a six speed manual gearbox, it provides a pleasant drive and to date we are averaging a very reasonable 7 litres per 100km over a variety of conditions.
So over the next six months expect regular updates the good, bad and ugly from Brenwin, Tom and Mzi as they, too, get behind the wheel of the 308 GT Line. It will be interesting to get their opinions on a vehicle that won the European Car of the Year title last.
Arrived: April 16
Power: 96kW at 5 500rpm
Torque: 230Nm at 1 750rpm
Current fuel consumption: 7.0l/100km
Price: R329 900