This, girls and boys, is the new Peugeot 308. I just had a short drive in one, and there is something i would like you to take note of.
If you look at it, it's a pretty bland basic shape, a simple 5-door hatchback, part and parcel of the European C segment. Which btw accounts for more than 1/3rd of new car sales in the EU. However, if you look closely, there are details, interesting, intriguing details everywhere. It's not something that's stunning at first sight, but it doesn't get boring with time either.
However, this isn't the major party trick here. Nor is the touch-screen-only center console, with even the climate controls included in the central tablet thingie. No, you should take note of this car, because it's light. How light? Well, the as-yet strongest version, the 1.6 THP with 155 ponies, is 2,568 pounds. The base model is of course even lighter. Compare that to the Focus ST? The Ford is 3223 lbs, and even the directly comparable 1.6 Ecoboost, which i'm not sure you get in the US, is 2939 lbs. Mazda 3? 2896 lbs. And you don't have to give up on anything with this lightness, you still get an i4 Turbo, just like in the Ford, a 6speed manual 'box, which is sweet shifting, unlike the Peugeots of the last 15 years, and all the bells and whistles that are now available in this segment. Even the trunk's not small, at 420 liters. You get everything you get in the Ford and in the Mazda, only even lighter than the already light Skyactive car.
Why is lighter better? Because with a body this light, it's much easier to set up the chassis to ride supple, but handle well at the very same time. And you know what? They seem to have pulled it off. This was only a first drive of a couple of kilometers, but hot damn did it smooth out even rotten roads, while handling corners with as much ease as you could expect from an FWD family hatchback. I'm yet to really push it, and we should compare it directly, before coming to a verdict, but this must be up there with the best chassis in the class.
Oh, and you know what the French think about, when trying to sell their family hatchback? Sex and psychoactive drugs, that's what. Just look at this product film here, and tell me i'm wrong: