"The 308 CC is an open-top four-seater with an upmarket interior, and is relaxed and easy to drive."
The Peugeot 308 CC is the firm's entry into the compact convertible class, and it has an electrically operated folding hard top. The car's slightly awkward styling is a result of the need to create space to stow the roof, but it looks smart with the roof down. Inside there's room for four adults in the classy cabin, although space in the rear seats is limited, and there's plenty of standard equipment on all models. On the road, the complex roof system adds weight, which means the 308 CC doesn't handle quite as well as the standard hatchback, and the engines need to be worked harder to make progress.
Even the most powerful 1.6-litre, 120bhp petrol-engined version of the 308 CC feels rather underpowered, thanks to the extra weight created by the folding roof. The emphasis is clearly on cruising, rather than driving thrills – the steering is light, while the gearbox has a slack lever that feels sloppy when changing gears. In bends, the CC offers a decent amount of grip, but it's not a car you would want to drive for enjoyment. The brakes offer impressive stopping power, though. The new 112bhp diesel engine is the one to go for as it's smooth and quiet, whilst also being very cheap to run.
The 308 CC has a stiffer bodyshell than the hatchback, but it still suffers from shakes and rattles with the roof down. Put the roof up, and the CC is as quiet as its hatchback brother. In general, the soft suspension makes it an excellent long-distance companion, although it can become unsettled over rough tarmac.
The 308 CC offers real peace of mind when it comes to safety. It was awarded a five-star rating by crash test body Euro NCAP. All models come with six airbags, Isofix child seat mounts, electronic stability control and pop-up roll bars which activate in the event of a crash. Peugeot's reliability record isn't particularly strong, but the CC's build quality appears to be first rate.
Because of its oversized rear end – necessary to stow the two-piece roof – the CC offers a spacious 465-litre boot with the roof up. But with it stowed, capacity drops to a small but still useable, 266 litres, while loading and unloading through the narrow gap below the roof mechanism is tricky. Optional one-touch electric front seats slide forward to allow easy access to the rear seats, but although the 308 CC is a four-seater, the cramped rear seats are only really suitable for short journeys. The electric roof takes 20 seconds to stow.
Value for money
There are three trims available for the 308 CC – Sport, SE and GT. Air-conditioning, alloy wheels and radio/CD player are standard, while SE adds cruise and climate control, automatic headlamps and wipers. Top-spec GT trim includes leather seats, a tyre pressure warning system, parking sensors and Peugeot's Airwave neck heater, which blows warm air from the front headrests around your neck so you can enjoy top-down motoring when it's cold.
The most economical engine in the line-up is the 112bhp 1.6-litre e-HDi, which returns 60mpg and emits 116g/km – resulting in annual road tax of £30. Because of the CC's heavy kerbweight, the 1.6-litre petrol variants struggle, returning less than 40mpg and emissions of 167g/km.