- We like...Plush cabin
- We don't...Jars over big bumps
New drop-top warms the parts of you that other open-roofers can't reach. But is it good enough to deserve your loot?
Driving a car open to the weather can give you the chills. Peugeot believe they’ve nailed the problem, though, in their newest drop-top, the 308 CC. The car has a toasty heater, of course. And the one we sampled had heated front seats with five settings, too.
But the talking point of the car is a heater vent (for pic, look below) plumbed into each of the front seats at neck height – to provide a ‘scarf’ of warm air. It’s an intriguing idea although how well it works depends on your height and whether you perch upright on the seat or lay fully back into it.
That aside, the car’s a ‘move-on’ from the 307CC, Peugeot’s strong-selling coupe-cabrio so, like the 307, it has a metal roof that retracts into the boot at the press of a switch. Roof up, it’s as hushed inside as a regular 308 with a fixed metal roof – which is quiet, if unexceptionally so.
The change from open to closed happens in 20secs – that’s quicker than some – although it dsn’t go about the job as tidily or with the same oiled precision as its close rival, the Volkswagen Eos. But, like the Eos, boot space is tiny once the roof is down. So if you need to carry much luggage, you’ll not enjoy the sun.
But once the roof is lowered the 308’s a plush and civilised space – at least if you’re sat in the front. The rear pair of seats is tight on leg-room so they are only suitable for children, though you could squeeze in a couple of grown-ups for a short journey. The leather-clad dash looks classy and matches the seats.
Outside, the car is all swoops and curves, very much as hatchback 308s are around the nose and heavy around its rump. To our eyes it’s striking, but not pretty.
At city speeds the wind dsn’t buffet occupants and even at motorway speeds the long, steeply raked windscreen keeps most of the wind off those inside. If you’re driving with just two aboard, you can keep things even calmer by erecting a wind baffle across the rear seats.
We drove the mid-range petrol model, a 150bhp 1.6-litre turbo feeding into a six-speed manual gearbox. This is smooth and easy, if a little breathless for its power. The car rows along neatly, although, it’s not a sporty drive – there isn’t quite the precision we’d want in the steering, and it tells you too little about what the front tyres are up to.
The ride makes a fair fist of sponging up the bumps, although deep potholes shake the car to its chassis and the overall feel is that of a competent hatchback rather than a quick, drop-top.
Let’s talk about price. At time of writing, our test car sits at over £23,000. That’s a lot for a smallish Peugeot but competitive in the market and not too steep considering its clever folding roof. If you’re buying new, take comfort at least in the fact that this car will lose value over time more slowly than most other Peugeots, clinging to almost half its value by the time of its third birthday.
Should you buy one? If you like driving roofless but having a chilly neck puts you off, then definitely. And even if not, it’s a sound buy. But also check out Volkswagen’s Eos and also Ford’s Focus drop top before signing up for one.
To read motors.co.uk review of the Volkswagen Eos, click here
To view and buy new and second-hand 308 CC’s click here
- Engines1.6 petrol turbo
- 0-60 mph10.5secs
- Insurance groups14E
Motors.co.uk value verdict: