The making of the Peugeot 300 automobile series

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Peugeot's 300 series models fall somewhere between a small car and a family car.

From the Peugeot 301, which came out in 1932, to the new Peugeot 308, which came out last fall, Peugeot's 300 automobile series is one of the complete car lines in history. It has ten generations of cars, from the 301, which came out in 1932, to the new 308, which came out last fall.

At the beginning of the 1930s, when the economy was terrible, Peugeot met customer needs by making the Peugeot 301. It was sold as a saloon, limousine, coupé, cabriolet, and roadster from 1932 to 1936.

It was replaced by the Peugeot 302 in 1936, and up until 1938, 25,100 were made. The Peugeot 302 had a smooth front end because the headlights were built into the radiator grille. This style, called the "Sochaux spindle" was first seen on the Peugeot 402.

The war messed up the Peugeot 300 Series, and the Peugeot 303 was never made. This series was held for 30 years until the Peugeot 304 was shown at the Paris Motor Show in 1969. It came as a saloon, a coupé, a cabriolet, an estate, and a utility estate. It was made for the middle-sized market. It had a lot of space for its size, and between 1969 and 1979, almost 1,200,000 were made.

 The evolution of Peugeot 300 series: 301 to Peugeot 308

The Peugeot 305 came out in Europe in 1977 as the follow-up to the 304. It stood out from cars from other countries because it had four independent wheels and a front-wheel-drive engine that ran sideways. The 305 quickly got a foothold in the market thanks to its top-of-the-line road handling, huge interior, and comfort that was on par with cars in higher price ranges. Altogether, more than 1.6 million bodies were made.

The Peugeot 305 saloon was used as the basis for the VERA test program, which was meant to make future cars more fuel-efficient. When the first VERA 01 prototype was shown off in 1981, it was 20% lighter and had 30% less drag. The VERA program, which took place over five years and included work on engines, greatly impacted how the Peugeot 405 and then the 605 were made.

From 1985 to 1994, the Peugeot 309 was made in Poissy, Spain, and Great Britain. It was the first true "compact" car in the modern sense because it wasn't a classic four-door notchback like the Peugeot 304 and Peugeot 305 but a hatchback. The 1.9-liter 130-hp engine from the Peugeot 205 GTI was put into the Peugeot 309 GTI. It could go from 0 to 100 km/h in 8 seconds and had a top speed of 205 km/h.

The Peugeot 306 came out in February 1993. It took the place of both the 205 and the 309. It was a best-seller in its category, and until 2002, it was made and put together in no less than nine places worldwide. In 1993, it came with three or five doors. In 1994, a four-door version and a nice convertible were added. Pininfarina designed and made the second car, which was named the Most Beautiful Convertible of the Year in 1994 and the Convertible of the Year in 1998. Again, the 306's handling on the road set the standard. This was especially true of the sporty 306 XSI and S16. After a 10-year break, Peugeot returned to rallying in 1996 with a spectacular 285 PS MAXI version that everyone will remember.

At the Geneva International Motor Show in 1999, Peugeot showed off its new HDi diesel engine technology with an impressive concept car based on the Peugeot 306. In 2001, when the 307 came out, production of the 3-door and 5-door versions of the 306 stopped. Pininfarina kept making the convertible up until 2003.

The Peugeot 307 came out in 2001 and was named Car of the Year in 2002. It was a huge success, with over 3.5 million units made around the world. It came in 3-door, 5-door, and estate (SW) versions. In the summer of 2003, it got a new body style called the Coupé Cabriolet (CC), which brought the innovative idea that worked well on the 206 CC to the compact segment. The 307 CC was one of the roomiest convertibles of its time because it had a retractable hardtop and four comfortable seats. It was also the basis for the sports version that competed in the World Championships in 2004 and 2005, winning three times and placing on the podium 26 times.

 Peugeot 309

The Peugeot 307 was replaced by the first generation of the 308 in 2007. The Peugeot 308 came with three doors, five doors, and an SW estate. In March 2009, a new generation of the Coupé Cabriolet CC joined the lineup. At the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, a Peugeot 308 RCZ Coupé version was shown, and production was quickly approved. This led to the Peugeot RCZ, a beautiful 2+2 coupé with up to 270 PS and 0–100 km/h in 5.9 seconds.

In 2013, Peugeot released the 308 II. It was named Car of the Year in 2014, just like the 307 was in 2002. It was praised for its beautiful lines and easy driving, and its size and weight were cut down (4.27 meters in length and a base version of 1,200 kg). This model was also the first to have the Peugeot i-Cockpit, and a GTI version made this 308 more dynamic and more fun to drive.

Before the new Peugeot 308 plug-in hybrid came out, the first two generations of the Peugeot 308 sold 7 million units. It was made at the Mulhouse plant and had the new Peugeot logo, shown in February 2021 when the new brand identity came out. It is one of the top three cars running for Car of the Year 2022. The winner will be announced on February 28, 2022.