Peugeot 301 is a third word child

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IOL mot pic may24 Peugeot 301 1

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New entry-level 301 sedan has a chunkier, not unattractive version of current Peugeot design language.

This is Peugeot's new entry-level sedan, the 301, designed for customers on hatchback incomes with sedan aspirations - and who still see European cars as 'classier' than Asian brands, be they Japanese, Korean or Chinese.

But it's the list of countries where the 301 will be released after its official debut at the Paris auto show in September that really defines the new Pug's target market.

Turkey, central and eastern Europe, Russia, the Ukraine, Greece, the Middle East, Gulf and African States and certain Latin American markets.

Significantly, the 301 will not be available in the UK.

That means no right-hand drive version is planned for the near future and it will not be released in South Africa either.

So, the 301 is, first and foremost, a third world child, a car for emerging markets - and Peugeot expects it to become one of the company's best sellers worldwide.

IOL mot pic may24 Peugeot 301 2

While not up to the standards of the Etios, the 301 has a generous boot volume.

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That means keeping the price down while providing plenty of relatively inexpensive 'luxury' features - something the Koreans in particular have made into an art form.

It's been built tough to stand up to extreme conditions - heat, cold and bad roads - and is large for its segment at 4.44 metres overall, on a 2,65-metre wheelbase. Peugeot claims that it has best-in-class rear-seat space, and a best-in-class boot volume at 506 litres.

They obviously haven't seen the cavernous 595-litre cargo bay of the new Toyota Etios.

The 301 is also designed to accept a wide range of safety equipment, including anti-lock braking, emergency brake assist an electronic stability programme and as many as four airbags - which is not to say that all of the above will be fitted for every market.

What will be standard kit, however, are electronic air conditioning, an MP3 audio system with Bluetooth hands-free kit and USB connection, remote boot opening and rear parking sensors - see paragraph four, above.

MOTORVATION

IOL mot pic may24 Peugeot 301 3

301 cabin is neat and tidy, if a little low-rent.

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The new Peugeot will be available with a choice of one diesel and two petrol engines, starting with the new, 52kW, three-cylinder 1.2Vti, driving through either a manual or EGC (electronic gearbox control) transmission.

The 301 is in fact only the second car in the Peugeot range, after the 208, to get one of the company's new range of cleaner, greener, three-cylinder turbopetrol engines.

The proven 68kW 1.6 HDi turbodiesel will be available only with a manual gearbox, while the range-topping, 85kW 1.6 VTi will come with a choice of manual or automatic transmission.

The 301 will be built in Vigo in Spain, and says Peugeot, follows in the wheel-tracks of sedans such as the iconic 404, the 504 and the 305.

Hmmm, we say; the first-named in particular will be a hard act to follow.

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