Convertibles aren’t just for life – they’re for winter too. For wind and rain and even snow, because a convertible that stays in the garage for the rest of the year is a sad convertible.
There may have been a time when convertibles and roadster didn’t make sense outside of the summer months; when conditions made such a choice insane, or at least ill-advised.
But those days are long gone, with the advent of folding metal-roof convertibles and cabriolets and even the advances in fabric roofs for roadsters and drop-tops.
The coming of coupe-convertibles such as the Ford Focus CC, Vauxhall Astra Twintop, Renault Megane CC and Peugeot 308 CC has made convertibles a rather more sensible purchase in the often chilly climes of the United Kingdom – and the automatic folding roof has meant freedom for convertibles in all manners of weather.
All of which is leading to the fact we took the Peugeot 308 CC, perhaps the best-looking of the volume coupe-cabs, out for a spin in the snow. Years ago some top-down driving during an English cold snap would have brought looks of bemusement, but now no-one bats an eyelid.
The 308 CC features updated styling and balance over the old 307 CC, along with a much higher standard of interior quality, specification and comfort and a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
What’s always noticeable about these CCs is how much better they drive than convertibles of old – that’s because of reinforced side panels but also because a metal roof, when in place, adds much more torsional stiffness. Driving a car like the 308 CC would fool most into thinking they were driving a car with a fixed metal roof, until it came down at any rate, which it does in 20 seconds at speeds up to 7.5mph.
Ride comfort is certainly excellent, but the 308 is no slouch in the handling department either. Where it’s also sharp is in the styling department, particularly in profile – like a slender, flatter version of the 407 saloon.
Get inside and it’s the same story – the quality of the interior is high and a comfortable place to be, better than a car in this sector has any right to be. A new Airwave system allows warm air to be channelled up to the front head restraints and onto the neck, meaning roof-down driving needn’t be a chilly affair, even in winter. Additional gizmos include electronic stability control, alloy wheels, air conditioning and electrically operated windows and door mirrors.
The Peugeot 308 CC will seat four, but the rear seats are better employed as extra storage space – in addition to the 226 or 465 litres of boot space – the storage area depending on whether the roof is up or down.
The engine of choice for most will be the 140bhp 2.0-litre HDi turbodiesel outputting 260lb-ft – available with six-speed manual and auto boxes – with enough power and torque to make the 308 CC responsive and flexible while returning a very impressive 47.8mpg on the combined cycle.
The 150bhp 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine – a quite superb engine – is also worth a look too for those who might want a little more pep to their drop-top.
All told it’s hard not to love a convertible – especially one that doesn’t feature the usual drawbacks of open-air motoring. All the benefits of a convertible with none of the drawbacks – what’s not to like?
Find out more about the Peugeot 308 CC.
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