The ripples emanating from the dropped pebble that is the Fiat Ægea are still spreading ever outward.
While prowling around to see what else is on sale around the world, I found a report from Automotive News. It was about a new PSA factory mooted for Morocco that reminded me of the existence of the Peugeot 301. This car is not setting the world on fire because these link (below) are pretty much all that’s out there.
The report mentions en passant that the 301 is to be made in Nigeria. I may very well have heard of the 301 before but I have since managed toforget about it. It is a probable competitor for the Ægea and if you want you can read a review of the 301 here. The article from Inautonews.com is quite informative,if ropily written, and there are lots of photos. The main points of the news about this car are intriguing: “On the plus side we have the interior space, the handling and the very good and noiseless suspension. On the down side we have some corner cutting to make it more affordable: lower ergonomics and a tendency to allow the engine to show its voice inside the cabin”.
They didn’t like the interior whereas TopSpeed.com did: “The interior is as un-econo-box as it possibly can be without sharply increasing the 301’s base price. The first thing you’ll notice when you take a seat is that this sedan features a flat-bottom steering wheel, which is typically reserved for high-end vehicles. The glossy interior color accents on the door pull handle, gear shifter, and passenger’s side of the dashboard are an awesome feature that really makes this interior look like it belongs on a higher-value car.” I don’t think TopSpeed sat in the car but merely guessed from the photos.
This comment from AutoMiddleEast is rather less flattering. “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 [sic] and Koreans.” They gave it three stars. (I have not posted a link as the AutoMiddleEast site is plagued with pop-ups and I don’t trust it. Don’t go there.)
The Malaysian website Paultan (which has a nice writing tone which is more evident in the rest of the article) says this about the car: “Meanwhile, the company says that the 4.44 metre-long vehicle – with a 2.65 metre long wheelbase – has been developed to adapt to various conditions and extremes (cold weather, hot weather, poor roads, that sort of thing), with a promise of space, including that of the boot, which offers 506 litres in volume.
Three powertrains have been initially announced, these being a 115 hp 1.6 litre VTi four cylinder, a 72 hp 1.2 litre VTi three cylinder and a 92 hp 1.6 litre HDI four cylinder diesel, with manual and automatic transmission options in the mix. The Peugeot 301 will be the second Pug to wear the new three-cylinder 1.2 litre VTi, after the 208.” Five hundred and six litres of boot room. That’s more than the Peugeot 604 had, note. Note the absence of a 1.4 litre, 1.8 litre and a 2.0. Modern engine ranges are getting sparser, aren’t they?
The author of the Paultan article is Anthony Lim. I simply have to reprint his bio here as he seems like the living embodiment of a modern day Archie Vicar: “Anthony Lim believes that nothing is better than a good smoke and a car with character, with good handling aspects being top of the prize heap. Having spent more than a decade and a half with an English tabloid daily never being able to grasp the meaning of brevity or being succinct, he wags his tail furiously at the idea of waffling – in greater detail – about cars and all their intrinsic peculiarities here.”
What do we get from all of this? Me, I get a sense of wonder as to why Peugeot have made what seems like a believable product and kept it out of much of the N European market. Essentially, everyone but the EU and US get this car. Conceivably PSA’s attempts to keep the car cheap have built in structural features that make it unmarketable. The question is why PSA did not give the job of being a cheap saloon to Citroen whose bottom-of-the-barrel brand image is more suited to taking on the Dacia and whatever cost-cut VWs are on sale in Africa, China and S America.