Peugeot 301

The Affordable "Passe-Partout"

Here we are again with the Lion automaker, Peugeot. This time we land in Antalya, Turkey, to test drive the all-new Peugeot 301. It made its debut at the Paris Motor Show this September. The car is the first to begin the company's reinvention of its identification strategy, which now utilizes a "1" final digit for new "value for money" invasion models and lastingly fixes the names of the models with an "8" final digit for future models, to make simpler the understanding of things.

 

The 301 has been developed to adapt to all conditions of use, even in extreme hot countries, cold countries, poor road surfaces, etc. The strength of the 301 also relies on the high quality of assembly at the factory. It will be produced in Spain at Vigo, and therefore, benefits from the highest standards of manufacturing of the PSA Peugeot Citroën group. 

Driving Impressions
It must have been Peugeot's lucky destiny. Why? The location to test the car, up the hills from Antalya to the winding mountain roads, was the perfect place to get the maximum from the 301!

I personally covered around 300 kilometers on several roads settings. The 301 excels in filtering out any bumps on the road. The body resistance and the on-board comfort remain of the highest level even when the vehicle is being driven over very poor surfaces. Of course, on roads which are in good condition the dynamic handling remains excellent.

We stopped at a small rest area in the middle of the road to have tea, which is pronounced "chay" and written "çay". After our break, we kicked off once again to admire the beautiful scenery of Turkey.

Exterior
The Peugeot designers who made the 301 were inspired to a great extent by the SR1 concept car, a model symbolizing the new identity of the Peugeot marque. The lines are pure, clean and refined. The modernity and simplicity of its design give an impression of elegance, like a beautiful design object. Adopting Peugeot's latest stylistic codes, the 301 has a strong and dynamic character with sculpted lines and large bodywork surfaces. Its balanced proportions give it a sleek and elegant profile.

The front face has all the genes of the new Peugeot style with a 'floating grille' with chamfered surround and a marque block positioned at the top under the leading edge of the bonnet. This is the starting point of the lines which shape the bonnet, like a 508, with the Lion emblem placed in prominence at its end. In the lower section, the sculpted lower front panel below the front lamps is characteristic of the new Peugeot style. It also emphasizes the feline expression of the 301. Vigorous, technological but also tinged with emotion, it is inspired directly by the SR1, with this characteristic inflection of the 'eyebrow' of the headlamps. Guided by a keen eye for detail, the designers extended the course of the line beyond the rear lamp continuing it subtly in the rear wing with a return movement.

Interior
The interior also stands these understated lines which forge the character and personality of the 301. The dashboard has been designed as a cockpit turned towards the driver with an instrument panel consisting of two large circular dials, a three-spoke steering wheel, typically Peugeot, and a center console in the form of a 'V'. The perceived strength is emphasized by the quality of the grained materials used. Depending on the finish, decorations or control trims in tungsten, satin chrome or gloss black also enhance the elegance of the whole. We have been told by Peugeot's execs that all the window buttons have been centralized above the gearstick to salt away money and not to put them on the door panel.

Powertrains
New 1.2 l VTi 72 hp 3-cylinder engine
The 301 is the second vehicle of the Peugeot range, after the 208, to benefit from the new range of 3-cylinder petrol engines (1.2 l VTi) which, due to its technology, combines driving pleasure and reduced consumption.

Reduction of the weight (-25 kg compared with a 4-cylinder engine of equivalent performance) and friction (-30%) guided the development of this compact block. The cylinder block and cylinder head are in an aluminium alloy while the exhaust manifold is integrated in the cylinder head. The balancing shaft, the variable capacity oil pump, the disengageable coolant pump and the offset of the cylinder jackets are just a few examples of the high technology which characterizes this latest generation 3-cylinder engine.

Here the engine is adapted to a wider use than in Europe, with the adoption of special pistons compatible with varying petrol grades (from RON 87) and a new exhaust line. The performance of course is improved with a maximum power of 72 hp, a maximum torque of 110 Nm at 3,000 rpm, equivalent to only 5.2 l/100 km for the Combined Cycle. A version of the 1.2 l VTi engine with a piloted gearbox will be added to the range during 2013.

1.6 l VTi 115 hp petrol engine
The 4-cylinder petrol block with 16-valves in a light alloy was launched with the Peugeot 408. It is fitted with an inlet camshaft with continuously variable timing system (VVT) and accepts octane indices ranging from RON 87 without any deterioration in performance.

As with the 3-cylinder engine, considerable work has been carried out to reduce friction (fine bedding in of the crankcase, piston with reduced rings, etc.). The result is a reduction in emissions of CO2, increased by the adoption of a variable output oil pump. Its maximum power is 115 hp and the maximum torque of 150 Nm is reached at 4,000 rpm. Also complying with the Euro 5 standards, this modern engine is available with a manual gearbox or an automatic gearbox.

Features
Items already mentioned for the car include ESP, ABS, up to four airbags, remote boot opening, a MP3 audio system with Bluetooth hands-free and USB connection, as well as rear parking assistance.

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