Carfest North 2016 and the Peugeot 308 GT Line SW
I live in Cheshire. I drive a Freelander. In this respect I am as stereotypical as it gets and so it was with some trepidation and at least a smidgen of snobbiness that I slightly reluctantly took the keys of the Peugeot 308 SW after accepting Peugeot’s very kind offer of a weekend at Carfest. However, I can’t pretend I wasn’t a little intrigued at the prospect of a weekend test driving a brand spanking new car, complete with a tank full of petrol and a family festival to put it through its paces. But, before any of that could begin the old day job got in the way.
Room for a small one?
Job number one, photograph some new furniture for a client at their offices and so into the generously spacious boot went tripods, a set of lights, numerous camera bags and a box full of props. All were easily swallowed up with room to spare; you’ll not struggle to fit in an entire family of suitcases in this car.
The techy bit
Next, getting to grips with the onboard computer. This model has a touch screen which controls absolutely everything from music, to the sat nav to the air conditioning and here comes a little bugbear of mine. Although everything is at your fingertips and in the main that’s mighty helpful, sometimes you just want to turn the heat down a notch without going through a whole menu of options and unfortunately Peugeot don’t give you that option. It’s the touchscreen or nothing, which becomes a tad distracting whilst one is trying to keep their eyes on the wheel. However, there are definitely more pros than cons to the touchscreen which also includes a rather clever reversing camera. A rear camera assist is particularly helpful when living on a narrow street packed full of 2 car families.
And we’re off!
With work out of the way it was time for the weekend and time to pack the car with one husband, two six year old females (daughter plus friend) and numerous packets of Haribo. It’s fair to say the girls put the car’s fold-down armrest through its paces within the first couple of miles!
For those not familiar with Carfest it’s a family festival, brainchild of presenter Chris Evans and is also a big fundraiser for Children In Need. There are two annual events, one in the south and one in the North, which is the one we attended, held at Bolesworth Castle near Cheshire. Peugeot are one of the main festival sponsors hence the connection. It genuinely does have something for all, from cars to music it’s tonnes of fun and during our visit we enjoyed our fair share of all the aforementioned.
Complete with Pudsey ears the girls raced remote control land rovers and put their motor-neuron skills to the test on the coconut shy and hook-a-duck (thankfully no goldfish were harmed!) We visited the Vintage Village packed full of VW’s, old fire engines and Morgan’s, ate pizzas cooked fresh from a clay oven and listened to pop icons including Squeeze, The Feeling and the legendary Billy Ocean. Even Mr Motivator was on stage at one point – remember him? Spandex fitness freak, 90’s breakfast TV, on before Power Rangers?
Once Daddy, sorry the girls, had enjoyed the thrill of the F1 simulator and a test drive of the Jaguar F-Pace we headed off for the inevitable traffic logged journey home. Thankfully the 308 I test drove was an automatic so sitting in traffic was certainly a lot easier on my left leg than normal and as it’s also equipped with stop start technology it was an eco-friendly traffic jam too.
The Top Gear bit
The Peugeot had originally been dropped off with a tank full of diesel & despite clocking up at least 150 miles over the weekend it barely registered an impact on the fuel gauge, quite a contrast to my gas guzzling Freelander
As for the drive quality it was incredibly smooth. The roads to and from Carfest are ones of Top Gearesque twists and turns but the 308 clung on no problem and the heads of the dozing six year olds in the back barely moved. Clearly the 308 GT has a little extra poke than other models in the series and it certainly proved to be a nippy ride, driving much more like a smaller, lighter car than the spacious family car it really is.
How do I look?
Looks wise it’s really rather smart. The GT Line sports some smart extras like discreet skirts, tinted glass in the back and better alloys which take it far beyond being a Family Taxi and for me it really holds its own looks wise against pricier, so called ‘prestige’ estates. For me, the Peugeot 308 makes a pleasant change to the usual MUV’s and people carriers, and it ticks all the necessary family vehicle boxes performing well on fuel economy and being reliable as well as robust.
All in all the experience really was a rather good one and I was sorry to hand the keys back.
So, with that in mind Peugeot, same time next year?
The model I drove was a 308 GT Line SW (sports wagon) 2.0litre Blue HDi with Automatic Transmission which starts from £26,365 OTR.
Special thanks to Peugeot UK for the loan of the car & the festival tickets.