2014 Peugeot 301 | driven – first impressions
|Good||spacious interiors, attractive ticket price, european build quality, safety features|
|Bad||average airconditioning, engine lacks power at low RPMs, 4 speed auto box|
|Specs||1.6-liter 4 cylinder engine capable of 115 bhp @ 6050 rpm and 150 Nm of torque at 4000 rpm|
|Price||AED 55,500 (as tested)|
The recently introduced 2014 Peugeot 301 is an entry level sedan from the French car maker. The new car comes in three variants with prices ranging from AED 49,900 for the base model, scaling up to AED 55,500 for range topper Allure version.
Few days of driving the top spec 2014 Peugeot 301 Allure in and around Dubai has us convinced that Peugeot has a lot to learn and improvise in order to make its presence felt in the fiercely competitive segment dominated by Japs and Koreans.
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 2014 Peugeot 301 is not intended for spirited driving. The new car, with its 4 gear auto box, felt 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 how many of us would actively do this on a daily basis?
There is lots of grinding and whistling from the engine. Our test car, when handed over, had just over 600 kilometers on the clock. I am wondering if the grinding and whistling is a part of run-in process. To be honest, the roughness did seem to taper off towards the end of our test drive covering nearly 250 kilometers.
It was evident when the compressor for air-conditioning would kick in and take a toll on engine output. The automatic gearbox seems to have a mind of its own and seemed confused most of the times, except when the throttle pedal was floored. That’s when the engine and gearbox would go mad and rev counter pushed to 5000 rotations and beyond in a desperate attempt to please the driver.
In a nut shell, the 2014 Peugeot 301 felt lifeless at low speeds. However, once the tacho needle crossed the 3000rpm mark, the same engine came across as a different breed altogether. A 5 gear transmission would have done a better job of keeping the engine at ease on high speeds, we feel. Transmission shifting is smooth but the electronic brain that tells the metal to shift needs its pulses reset.
Ride & handling
Having driven the car for a bit over 250 km, mostly in city traffic where the car is intended to be driven, the 2014 Peugeot 301 can handle corners and round abouts with ease. The new car took our slight agressive driving in its stride and held onto its ground with confidence. The tires did 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.
Comfort & practicality
The 2014 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 was 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. 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.
The hazard lights button is so well integrated in the dashboard design that team AutoMiddleEast had to search for it, in contradiction to its intended usage – we prefer an in your face hazard warning switch rather than a nicely designed one that merges into the car’s interiors. Then, this could be just a matter of individual preferences.
The boot space is amongst the largest we have seen in this segment of cars. The 2014 Peugeot 301 – Allure grade features keyless entry, electric windows and automatic air-conditioning. Speaking of which, we feel there is nothing that comes even close to air-conditioning performance of the Japanese cars. They seem to have the formula right and others should either learn from them or replicate on their own. Either ways, get it right.
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.
The French car maker offers a 5 year unlimited mileage warranty, 12 year anti perforation warranty and a 3 year paintwork warranty on all the 301 variants.
Price | ex-showroom in Dubai: AED 55,000, as tested.
The 2014 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. If this is good to offset slightly sluggish performance and other minor bits here and there, then this car is worth taking a close look at before making your mind up.