2014 Peugeot 308 CC review and test drive
It’s would be easy to suggest that car buyers lost interest in folding hardtop’s a few years ago, with the folding metal roof concept becoming dangerously old hat and obsolete before it had even really got started; but Peugeot’s 308 CC range, first unveiled in 2009, breathed new life into an otherwise flagging affordable convertibles market. With buyers interested in image, affordability, and a bit of charisma, the 308 CC was the car that really set a new precedent in the family-based hatchback domain, with others quickly following suit, such as the Volkswagen Eos. The French manufacturers knew they had a lot of work to do after the ailing 307, which was notoriously lacking in character, with critics calling it bland and uninspired. They really upped their game with the 308 CC, adding new features, tweaking its look, whilst adding a bit of glamour. Owing to the sudden upsurge in competition, any Peugeot 308 CC problems were ironed out, as the manufacturers further refined their car for 2011, and the 2014 Peugeot 308 CC is what we’re reviewing here.
Better Than Its Predecessor
There is no doubt that the revised 308 is bulkier than its predecessor, yet the designers have aimed for something of a trade-off between a heavier, family-based vehicle, and a sporty convertible. The sporty aspects can be found in the lowered seats, which come much lower than you would expect in a family-based hatchback, and the white-faced instrument dials which help to give it that premium, classy feel. The cabin is overall classier than the previous model, with overall smarter, more accessible dials and an MP3 compatible stereo player. It has the feel of a premium model; slick, sophisticated and elegant.
Up front, with just two people inside, it drives like a dream. The roof can be lowered in just 20 seconds, and unlike some rivals, the 2014 Peugeot 308 CC doesn’t need to be stationary to get its roof down. You can mill around at 7 mph and lower it, and once it’s down you can zip along whilst remaining nicely protected from neat buffeting. With that in mind, any passengers at the back won’t have the same experience. The buffering is less great, and, coupled with poor legroom, the overall conclusion on riding along at the back in the 2014 Peugeot 308 CC is that it isn’t something you would want to do for a long journey. For a car that is aimed at the family market, it is something of a sore point. Still, with the roof down, the legroom is better, but again there is a compromise on the chassis rigidity; if you hit any nasty potholes, you’re all going to know about it. It does come with good grip, though, and over most surfaces it offers a comfortable, relaxing driving experience. The 2014 Peugeot 308 CC diesel can make 62 mph in 8.9 seconds from rest, and there is also the option of a 1.6 litre EHDI model that offers 60 miles to the gallon.
The two-piece metal folding roof that was found on the much maligned 307 is again found here, but that should not put you off. The designers have done a grand job tweaking it, and it even looks nicer than the fairly messy and overly complicated mechanism that Volkswagen came up with for their Eos. The roof on the 308 also offers ample boot space (226 litres when the roof is down and a very appealing 465 with the roof up). It should be mentioned that the metal roof almost forced the designers hand when they came up with a distended rear end to accommodate it, but they have more than made up for this with some swish lights, a satin-chromed front grill, and a neck level heating system in the seats.
The suspension, breaking and steering systems have also been improved for this model, and for added security, the vehicle also comes with a central locking glove compartment so that you can safely deposit any valuables in there whilst leaving your car with the roof down as you pop to the shops.
Overall, with lower running costs and a much improved look and an enhanced driving experience, the 2014 Peugeot 308 CC is not just a vast improvement on its predecessors, but it’s one which serves to close the gap between affordable family convertibles and more premium-market cars, such as the Audi A5. With the 2014 Peugeot 308 CC price starts around £22-28,000, the 308 CC is not just ideal for the family hatchback-based demographic, but it could easily appeal to those who are looking to downsize slightly. There is no embarrassment in downsizing to this folding hard-top convertible, and if anyone is still questioning the popularity of this market, all we can say is that if more manufacturers were as inventive as Peugeot were with this model, the market would be brimming once more. It’s a measured car that nicely combines aesthetics, functionality and affordability.