• Saturday, February 24, 2024
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Peugeot Practical comfort upscaled

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PAN Nigeria automobile is at it again, and this time around it is returning with a promise if the recently introduced 2014 Peugeot 301 which the Kaduna-based auto assembly plant described as an entry level sedan from the French car maker is anything to go by. However, another good news news here is that, it did not only enter to satisfy the yearnings and aspirations of prospective new car buyers, it is also designed to add value to the motoring public.

At the moment, the new Peugeot 301 sedan is one of the most competitively priced entry level sedan from a European car maker. The new car is built well and offers ample of space for its occupants and their luggage. The new car comes in three variants with prices for the base model, scaling up to top-of-the-range Allure version.

For those who had tested the top spec 2014 Peugeot 301 Allure in and around town recently, they are of the conviction that Peugeot have to an extent gotten  it right in its quest to make its presence felt in the fiercely competitive segment dominated by the Japanese and Korean automakers.

In terms of the engine performance, all three variant feature a 1.6 liter, 4-inline engine. With its rated output of 115 bhp @ 6050 rpm and 150 Nm of torque at 4000 rpm, the high revving power plant in the new Peugeot 301 is not intended for spirited driving.

The new car, with its 4 gear auto box, feels most at ease in the speed range of 80 – 100 km/h. Anything above 100 km/h would see the engine revs heading to 3000+ range, while a start at traffic light requires shafting the throttle pedal into the floor to get the car going. There is the option of manually shifting gears to offset the sluggish performance at low revs but then it depends on how many drivers would actively do this on a daily basis.

Driving the car for a bit over 250 km, mostly in city traffic where the car is intended to be driven, this can handle corners and round-about junctions with ease. The car takes slight agressive driving in its stride and held onto its ground with confidence and the tyres does an impressive job with the road grip.

Steering response is as you would expect on a car in this segment – not to sporty, but adequately obedient. At times, the car feels unstable and waves across the lane markings on highways, requiring ongoing steering correction. Suspensions are tuned for comfort and absorb road undulations with ease without any fuss.

And in case you want to know, it also boasts of practical comfort. Peugeot 301 shines when it comes to interior space. The space around front and rear seats is good and seats are comfortable. The top end 301 Allure is fitted with fabric seats and did not have sun roof. What it did come with is a basic audio system with bluetooth connectivity and USB/Aux jack.

Connecting a smart phone with the audio system via bluetooth was simple and for those that knows how to utilize all the numerous functions in a car such as the 301, one could stream music from the phone into the audio system in addition to answering phone calls.

Ergonomically, switches are where you would expect them to be. The buttons on audio system felt too close together and small, demanding attention. The layout can be more intuitive and user friendly. For example, the big knob smacked in the center of the audio controls would find  better use as volume control instead of tuning radio stations.

Driver airbag and anti lock braking system comes standard on all grade of the 2014 Peugeot 301, while the Allure grade gets a passenger airbag as well. Depending on the market, the French car maker offers ranges of warranties and anti perforation warranty and in some markets offers  paintwork warranty on all the models.

By: MIKE OCHONMA