| 13.6°C Dublin

Peugeot claims upmarket 308 hatch a sign of things to come

Peugeot's new 308 family hatch will go on sale here next January, as the company claims it is the clearest manifestation yet of a shift up market.

The French automaker says the all-new hatchback is designed and equipped to reflect that move.

Built on the new EMP2 platform, which will underpin many a car of the future, the new 308 is 4.25m long and 1.46m tall – and that makes it a little shorter and lower than the existing one.

It is also 140kg lighter than the existing one – that's a lot of weight in a small family car. Put a lighter body and more economical engines together and you get emissions as low as 85g/km – as is the case in one particular model.

They have also decided – and I think it's a good idea – to have the small steering wheel and the heads-up instrument binnacle that caused such a stir when introduced in the 208 hatch.

It means you see the information you want over the wheel not through it.

And thanks to a 9.7in touchscreen interface that centralises infotainment controls in one spot, there is far less need for buttons and switches. That does away with that awful cluttered look that bedevils so many dashboards.

The new motor will make its world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September and goes on sale here next January, but it is far too soon to have any indication of spec or price yet. The current one starts at €20,945 ex-works (1.6-litre HDi 92bhp).

Irish Independent