Monster of a weekend

Godzilla storms in, but 308 bravely stands its ground

BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

carport, after ably schlepping over a weekís worth of gear and Romy the Lady Labrador Retriever as our holiday workhorse. But after a frenetic few days of roaring along the many glorious little B and C roads of western Victoria, which the GT-R conquered with amazing insouciance, I actually longed for the 308ís light and breezy touch.

While the Nissan carved though corners like it was pushed along playfully by the Hand of God, the Pug glided through, seemingly hovering along with the effortless comfort that defines the better GTs. Steering that is sharp but never nervous, a ride that is firm but always smooth, the Active shrunk around me tightly, just like a driverís car should. With such interactivity and control, I imagine this is what the original Golf GTI would have felt like back in the late í70s.

Later on, a wrong turn and my desire to keep on driving led me through some deserted gravel roads, and here the Pug displayed yet another talent. Aided by that superb low-wheel driving position and reactive chassis, the 308 revels in the dirt, the front wheels digging in as the rear slides out gently for some fab rally-style fun.

Unperturbed by the many and varied rutted surfaces, the suspensionís ability to soak up all and sundry was just icing on the cliche.

I spent the final couple of days hopping between the two, certain that I was definitely in the company of two great modern yet disparate grand tourers.

BEAST IN CLASS

Got a space-time continuum that needs compressing? Godzilla is your weapon. For everything else, 308 shines

Cruise missile

LIKE most non-premium vehicles, the 308ís cruise control works fine on a flat road surface, but struggles to keep the vehicle travelling at the set speed when a downhill gradient comes into play, with the pace picking up dramatically as the slopeís angle intensifies. In speed-camera infested Australia, you canít always rely on the cruise control to save your licence, so beware. Why canít more manufacturers follow BMWís example of engineering braked cruise control systems?

OurGarage

PEUGEOT 308 ACTIVE

Date acquired: March 2015 Price as tested: $26,890 This month: 2308km @ 6.5L/100km Overall: 8768km @ 6.6L/100km 0km