Peugeot 308

Each year since 1964, an international jury of European journalists come together to name their Car of the Year. After identifying the candidates, they whittle the list down to the finalists announced in December and finally name the winner at the Geneva Motor Show. And that's just what they've done again this year, selecting the new Peugeot 308 as their 2014 Car of the Year.

The C-segment hatchback from France, which competes with the likes of the Ford Focus (whose predecessor won in 1999) and Volkswagen Golf (last year's winner) on the European market, beat out a daunting array of finalists to win the honors. With 307 points, the 308 beat out the BMW i3 (223 points), the Tesla Model S (216), Citroën C4 Picasso (182), Mazda3 (180), Skoda Octavia (172) and Mercedes-Benz S-Class (170).

The results stand in stark contrast to how you, our loyal readers, voted in our poll: by your account the Tesla should have won, followed by the Benz and the Mazda. The Peugeot came in dead last. But then the European COTY jury has different criteria and a different way of counting the votes.

This isn't the first time that Peugeot has won the award. The 308's predecessor, the 307, won upon its debut in 2002, the 405 won in 1988 and the 504 took the honors in 1969. Sister company Citroën has won thrice, for the XM in 1990, the CX in '75 and the GS in '71. Together PSA would be the second most lauded automaker in the award's long history, behind Fiat (which has won a record nine times) and ahead of Renault's six.
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Car of the Year 2014: A clear win for Peugeot 308
03 / 03 / 2014

In an announcement in Palexpo, in the eve of Geneva Auto Show, the Peugeot 308 has been named Car of the Year 2014. The winner received 307 points from the 58 Jury members, with top points from 22 jurors. Second and third, in a close race, were the two electric cars, BMW i3 (223 points) and Tesla S (216). In the group of seven Nominees, were also the Citroën C4 Picasso (182), Mazda3 (180), Skoda Octavia (172) and Mercedes S-class (170).

The CotY 2014 winner is not a 'repeater', as Renault Clio in 2006 and VW Golf last year; just sort of it, for the 307 -the compact Peugeot at the time- also won the award in 2002. Offered in 5-door hatchback and estate body styles, the 308 is the spearhead in Peugeot's product offensive: Stylish and with new ambitions in quality and elegance. PSA's new EMP2 platform allows big advantages over the previous model with the same nameplate. The new 308 is at the same time slightly shorter in length and with a bigger cargo area. This last virtue is very much pronounced in the handsome 308 SW, the estate derivative.

The new construction approach and the use of lightweight and composite materials save weight in an amount that Peugeot estimates up to 140 kg; a feature that improves performance and fuel economy. Launched with a limited engine range, the Peugeot 308 diversifies powertrains for 2014. The PureTech family of 3-cylinder petrol engines had already an aspirated 1.2 as the access option. The two versions of the new 1.2 e-THP, with direct injection and turbocharging, offer 110 and 130 hp, lots of torque and astonishing fuel consumption figures; in fact they better the official fuel economy of their 82 hp sibling. As for the BlueHDI diesel engines, now with four power levels up to 180 hp, they are homologated with outstanding emission figures starting at 82 g/km of CO2. Peugeot also announces for the 308 a new and efficient 6-speed automatic gearbox. Away from the popular dual-clutch trend, the converter-equipped transmission should add only marginal fuel consumption over the manual 'box.

TECHNICAL DATA

- Body: 5-door hatchback & estate
- Size: 4.25 X 1.80 X 1.46 m. Wheelbase: 2.62 m.
- Transmission: Front wheel drive. Manual/automatic gearbox
- Petrol engines: 1.2 VTI/e-THP (82/110, 130 hp), 1.6THP (155 hp)
- Diesel engines: 1.6HDi (100, 120 hp), 2.0HDi (150, 180 hp)

- Maximum speed – 0-100 km/h acceleration:
Petrol engines: 172 to 215 km/h – 13.3 to 8.0 s.
Diesel engines: 185 to 225 km/h – 11.0 to 7.2 s.

Combined fuel consumption – CO2 emissions:
Petrol engines: 4.6 to 5.6 l/100 km – 107 to 129 g/km
Diesel engines: 3.1 to 4.4 l/100 km – 82 to 117 g/km