Our Fleet Test Drive: Peugeot 308 - 6th Report
26 August 2008
Author: Hugh Hunston
 Wipers can be flicked into a more upright position within one minute of the ignition being switched off so you can wipe away the muck and grime
In these tough economic times, at least our 1.6-litre diesel-powered Peugeot 308's fuel economy is offering some respite from escalating pump prices.
As it approaches the 5000-mile marker, the pragmatic hatchback has, according to the on-board computer hit just over 56mpg, although according to our maths it's averaged nearer 54mpg.
That's still good, yet even more impressive was the two-week spell when daily 100-mile round trips through predominantly rural Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire returned a sustained 60mpg.
The source of these figures, the lightweight 1.6-litre engine which powers a variety of Peugeots, Citroens and Fords, has also revealed a different side to its personality, which comes to the fore when overtaking. A handy turbo overboost adds a burst of extra shove under hard acceleration to keep time spent passing slowing vehicles to a minimum.
Family holidays provide searching examinations for our long-term test cars, and what the 308's domed bodyshell lacks in aesthetic appeal it compensates for with ample interior space and flexibility.
Three adults, their vacation clobber and accompanying dog made it to Cornwall from Oxfordshire with a minimum of stress and no baggage avalanches during brisk country lane cornering.
The only casualty en route was the rear nearside door, which now bears a dimple-cum-dent courtesy of an anonymous, uncaring individual who dinged it with his or her door in a beach car park.
Criticised early in our time with the 308, the satnav system , re-programmed for fastest (time) not shortest (distance), operates effectively in town and country.
But for a car with myriad monitoring and guidance devices, it has some curious shortcomings. For example, there is no warning light when the screenwash is running out, although specifying the optional headlight washers means you will then get an in-dash warning.
Also, you cannot clean the front windscreen wipers when they're at the bottom of the windscreen. But, as the two-inch thick handbook reveals, they can be flicked into a more upright position  within one minute of the ignition being switched off so you can wipe away the muck and grime. Strange French rituals for an otherwise logical machine.