While Peugeot’s 308 may not have the driving dynamics of the Ford Focus, nor the badge cache of the Volkswagen Golf, it still provides solid service for many fleet drivers.
And Peugeot has moved to make it a more attractive proposition by introducing a fleet-specific trim level.
The SR models, available in five-door hatch and SW estate versions, come with a choice of two HDi diesel engines, delivering 90 or 110bhp, and either a six-speed manual gearbox or the EGC semi-automatic option.
Their USP is the extra equipment on offer for a reduced price premium.
SR versions are based on the entry-level S and come with satellite navigation, Bluetooth telephony and 16-inch alloy wheels.
This equates to £1,175 of extra equipment for £650.
It’s a very tailored fleet proposition and a clever one too.
Drivers like gadgets such as sat-nav and Bluetooth, and these devices will also help fleet managers ensure their drivers are safer and more efficient while behind the wheel.
Peugeot has also recently added a Bioflex version which can run on either E85 ethanol or unleaded petrol.
Behind the wheel
We tested the top version of the SR family, a five-door hatchback with the 110bhp HDi diesel fitted with the EGC semi-automatic gearbox.
The engine is a familar one, but this was the first time we had tried the EGC gearbox in a Peugeot.
However, it operates in much the same way as it does in sister company Citroën’s cars, with an action which makes the changes feel jerky.
Blending off the throttle on upchanges helps slightly, but it still feels far away from the quality of shift you find in the Volkswagen Group’s semi-automatic DSG transmission.
However, the EGC gearbox does have the benefit of reducing emissions – it emits 120g/km of CO2 compared with 129g/km for the standard (and cheaper) six-speed manual version.
As a result, this combination isn’t great to drive, especially when the lower- powered HDi 90 unit doesn’t feel that far short in day-to-day driving conditions.
Factor in that it is significantly cheaper and the manual HDi 90 becomes the SR to choose, both from a running costs and driver taxation perspective.
That aside, the familar 308 traits are there, with a spacious cabin and a large glass area which floods the interior with light.
The quality of materials used is also very good, with Volkswagen levels of plastics and build.
With the extra equipment on offer, the SR version makes a great deal of sense, and also creates a safer and more efficient place of work for drivers out on the road.
While the 308 will never be the driver’s choice in this market segment, the extra equipment on offer in SR guise is a welcome boost.
However, the EGC semi-automatic gearbox is a disappointment – stick with the conventional manual in HDi 90 trim and save £1,200.