24 May 2012

Peugeot 301 revealed - low cost sedan for emerging market

Peugeot has released the information on its new 301 model ahead of Paris Motor Show unveiling in September. The car also debuted the new naming system of Peugeot car, dropping the "8" after "0", for example 308 and 508. Build to cater the "emerging" market like Turkey, Eastern Europe, Russia, African states and a few others, Peugeot 301 brings the new Peugeot design language element onto a cheaper "third world" body design.

Measuring 4,440mm long and 2,650mm wheelbase, Peugeot 301 sets to offer a generous accommodation for the masses. The boot volume is cavernous 506L, while the rear seat accommodation is claimed to be class-leading too. To keep the cost down, Peugeot has grafted  a modern element of its current design language (floating front grille, fancy headlight and distinctive rear combi internals like the 208) onto a cheap, boxy slab metal stamping panel which is renown for its cheap manufacturing tooling cost. However, Peugeot 301 still manage to look quite good, especially with modern-ish bumper and light design, as well as pleasingly-styled alloys.

Despite the pared back cost-conscious body styling, the equipment level is bang up to date. Features such as electronically controlled air-conditioning, audio system that plays MP3 and Bluetooth as well as USB and remote trunk lid operation. Safety items are not compromised either as 301 is equipped with ABS, ESP, EBA, ISOFIX mounting and up to 4 airbags. Not fire breaking deal, but sufficiently equipped nevertheless.

In the powertrain department, Peugeot 301 is as modern as it can get. It is the second only to Peugeot 208 in getting the new 3 cylinder gasoline engine, namely the 1.2L VTi kicking 71bhp paired to either manual or EGC gearbox. The other petrol option is the 1.6L VTi version with 115bhp that can be mated to either manual or conventional torque-converter automatic. The final option is 1.6L HDi diesel powertrain unit, punching out 92bhp and available only as manual.

The interior can described as functional at best. Clearly lacking the panache of Peugeot recent interior offerings, 301 interior is a good combination of cost and aesthetic. The door trim and the dashboard are visibly cheap in their simple geometry fascia, but the overall ambiance is upped by the clever use of high-gloss black insert and the shiny silver pieces. The buttons and vents are chunky in appearance, but who we or anyone on earth for the matter, to comment about the interior quality simply by looking at single photo?

So far Peugeot 301 is destinated to arrive in the third world market with left hand drive steering position. However, judging by many other market spesific model that somehow arrive in Asian, MMN won't be surprise if the 301 makes it way to RHD market to replace the dinosaur-age Peugeot 207, a sedan that inherit the hatchback rear door!

Some more photo can be found after the jump.

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